On October 09, 2012, fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by members of the Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while on the bus home from school. A resident of Mingora (Swat District), Malala was a prime target of the TTP due to her criticism of the Taliban over the past 3 years.
Malala was 11 years old when the TTP took control of the Swat Valley, imposed a ban on female education and burned girls’ schools, after which Malala maintained a blog to write about her life under the Taliban rule. It was due to this blog that Malala received international recognition, appearing frequently on talk shows in Pakistan and being the subject of a New York Times documentary in 2009.
On October 9th, Malala’s school bus was stopped by TTP gunmen, who asked to identify her and then shot her in the head and neck, leaving her in critical condition. She was airlifted to Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar, where she was operated on successfully and then transferred to another hospital in Rawalpindi. On October 14, 2012, she was reportedly in stable condition.
Malala is one of over 30 million children who are currently denied the right to education in Pakistan, either due to the TTP or to the state’s abdication of its responsibilities and adoption of discriminatory policies towards its underprivileged population. In this moment of grief, we must stand with Malala in fighting the injustices that children face in Pakistan. If an 11 year-old can speak out from within Taliban heartland, so can we.
We condemn this cowardly act of the TTP in the strongest terms and hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice. This act was not simply an attack on Malala, but an attack on our freedom of speech and our right to education.
In the past, such attacks have been used to justify full-scale military action and drone strikes. These have harmed millions of innocent people in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and destroyed many communities. According to TBIJ (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism), drone strikes have killed 2,562-3,325 Pakistanis since June 2004, out of which 474-881 were civilian casualties, including 176 children. It is morally reprehensible that the attack on Malala be used to satisfy political agendas. PDF advocates for the implementation of humane yet effective alternatives to warfare.
Here is an excerpt from Malala’s diary:
“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict. On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”
We wish for Malala’s speedy recovery and hope that you will join us in our continued efforts to campaign for free and equal access to quality education for all children in Pakistan.
 Rachel, Oldroyd. “Bureau’s drone project praised by leading US academic study.” Bureau of Investigative Journalism [London] 25 September 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/>.
 “Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl.” BBC News 19 Jan 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7834402.stm>.