Al Qaeda claims that Pakistan's civilian and military leadership is trying to divert the public attention from the 'lost' war in Afghanistan by dwelling on the assassination attempt on activist Malala Yousufzai. Tahir Ali reports from Islamabad.
Thousands of people across Pakistan may fervently pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old activist who was shot in the head by Taliban terrorists on October 9, but Al Qaeda fails to see what the fuss is about.
Malala was shot by Taliban assassins on her way back from school in Mingora in Pakistan's Swat Valley, for daring to speak out in support of the girl child's right to education. She is currently fighting for her life at a hospital in London.
Al Qaeda has issued a pamphlet on the shooting, claiming Pakistan's civilian and military leadership is 'misusing' the issue to divert the public attention from the war that the United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's forces have 'almost lost in the region.'
The As-Sahab media, associated with the dreaded terror group, has distributed a pamphlet, titled Malala par is qadar Malaal kyo (Why are you so perturbed over Malala?) in North Waziristan and other tribal areas in Pakistan.
The pamphlet calls Malala an 'agent of the West who spoke against the values of Islam.'
Her assassination attempt is downplayed by the pamphlet, which claims it was an ordinary incident hyped up by the media.
Rediff.com has received a copy of the As-Sahab pamphlet, which states, 'Dear Pakistani brothers and sisters! Since the last few days, the civilian and military leadership, the NGOs supported by the West, the so-called champions of human rights, the US leadership and even Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai have issued statements expressing their sympathy for Malala Yousufzai.'
'Actually, the US and its allies, after a long time, have found an issue to hide their defeat (at the hands of the Taliban) from the people. They (the US and its allies) are trying their best to use this issue to divert people's attention from the reality -- but it is a futile effort to hide the reality from the world.'
'People will certainly ask where these supporters were when Dr Afia Siddiqa was detained along with her children and every type of torture was practiced on her,' the pamphlet adds.
Afia Siddiqa, a neuroscientist educated in the United States, was charged with terrorism in 2002. Her supporters have alleged that Dr Siddiqa and her children were detained and tortured between 2003 and 2008, a period during which her whereabouts are unknown.
She was later shifted from Pakistan or Afghanistan to the US, tried in an American court and convicted for assault with intent to murder her American interrogators in Afghanistan. She was sentenced by a US court to 86 years in prison.
Al Qaeda's pamphlet condemns human right activists for their 'silence' during the Pakistan army's operations against the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad.
'Why are they so perturbed about Malala? Where were these sympathisers of Malala when innocent seminarians of the Lal Masjid and the Jamia Hafsa were brutally murdered? Was there no one to pray for them? Was anybody there to issue a statement of condemnation?'
'Where were the US-funded NGOs when the female students of Jamia Hafsa were killed? Was there anybody to protest the death of innocent children of the Lal Masjid?'
'Why are you so perturbed over Malala?' the Al Qaeda pamphlet asks. 'Where are the sympathisers of Malala when poor parents commit suicides after finding it difficult to feed their children? Have the political leaders who analyse the incident on television channels ever tried to find out the condition of poverty-stricken children living in Pakistan's slums?'
'Where were you people (human right activists and the media ) when numerous villages were bombed from Swat to Waziristan; when jet fighters targeted civilians' houses; when children, women and old people were killed indiscriminately; when many Malalas (innocent children) were buried under the rubble of houses?'
'There was no one to speak about their human rights or to show any sympathy. But when a girl (Malala) who started anti-jihad propaganda in the British media and always spoke against purdah was targeted, it was made into a big issue.'
'Is Malala a more special human being than others?' the Al Qaeda pamphlet asks. 'Malala is an irrecoverable loss to the whole nation, but were the lives of people living in the tribal areas, Swat and Lal Masjid, who were killed by the security forces, of no worth?'