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Pakistan: How to win friends and influence people

October 10, 2012

An attempt by the Taliban to kill a 14-year old girl, famous for speaking out against the Islamic militants and their attacks on girls’ education, has triggered a wave of national revulsion in Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck while she sat with classmates on a school bus as it prepared to drive students home after morning classes in Mingora, a city in the Swat Valley where major operations were conducted in 2009 to crush a Taliban insurgency. She was taken to hospital before being whisked by military helicopter to an intensive care ward in the city of Peshawar.

Police said a bearded man approached the bus and asked which of the girls was Malala. When one of the other girls pointed at her she denied who she was. The gunman then shot both girls, although police say a total of three people were wounded….

Murtaza Salangi, the director of Pakistan Radio, said people were “standing up to be counted as if this was their own daughter … I think it is a watershed moment because the outpouring of sympathy and support for this young girl is just unprecedented. She could be a rallying poster for people who think that extremism and terrorism is the biggest challenge, even an existential challenge, for this country.”


Killing people, throwing acid, setting off bombs in public places, that was just high spirits. Shooting a fourteen-year-old girl in the head, however…


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