Another estranged Nobel laureate of Pakistan

Gaitty Ara Anis, Pakistani Journalist

Gaitty Ara Anis: When some of the Pakistanis thought it was time to celebrate and be jubilant over the Malala Yusufzai’s achievement, over her winning the most prestigious of all awards, Nobel Peace Prize for Pakistan; it turned out that it was time to ponder over our mental approach towards life as a nation.

While the government has embraced the brave girl with open arms and praised her efforts there is a faint hum of distrust and conspiracy lingering in the background. The society in general turns to foiling ‘western malicious plans’ propagated through the youngest ever Nobel laureate.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called her the “Pride of Pakistan” and said girls and boys should “take the lead from her struggle and commitment.”

The spokesman for Pakistan’s army, Asim Bajwal twits, “Except for terrorists, all Pakistanis want their children in school.”

Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician twitted: Want 2 congratulate Malala on Nobel Peace Prize. Proud as Pakistani 4 her Nobel prize, esp 4 cause of Education which must b r net priority. Though he has been criticized for being soft on the Taliban issues and his political party banned Malala’s autobiography in the part of Pakistan it controls.

But in the other world Malala has been criticised since the first day she was shot. They said Malala was a plot by American, Indian, or Israeli intelligence agencies to defame Pakistan.

One twitted: Most likely CIA & MOSSAD attacked Malala! Nobel Prize has no more worth than tissue paper. mass murderer Begin got it!

Malala who hails from a beautiful valley of green pastures and tall mountain peaks, Swat has been in the limelight since she started writing a diary for BBC back in 2009.  It was a tough time for Pakistan when forces were battling the Taliban in the North Western Province of the country.  Under her pseudonym ‘Gul Makkai’ meaning the corn flower Malala shared her plight as a school going female child  who’s life was disrupted at the forceful closure of her school .

She became a voice for thousands of girls who were shut out from the world at the command of Taliban who were trying to occupy the region. She rose to prominence once the area was cleared and she could come forward as the proud owner of the blog she used to write.

But Taliban had to hit back and they did.  2012 was the year when the 15 year girl was shot in the head by these extremists who were against any sane voice. Her school van was stopped. She was identified and was shot at point blank. Her miraculous survival has been an inspiration for many world over but a headache back home.  Within weeks of her injury she was portrayed as a ‘western puppet’ out there to malign the image of Pakistan. Which image this group was referring to has never been made clear by them.

Her treatment in Birmingham hospital and her later resolve to stick to her stance became eyes sour for those who could not muster up courage to appreciate Taliban but found it a safe option to condemn Malala for her struggle for enlightenment and woman empowerment.

Her book was met with criticism but still many youngsters and member of society openly appreciated the teenager who kept walking amid all odds.

She is not the only Nobel laureate that Pakistan has produced there was another unfortunate son of the soil. Dr. Abdul Salam,  was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics back in 1979. Being the member of a religious minority Ahmadia community he was condemned to live his life in exile.

Would she be able to return and live a normal life in Pakistan? Or would she be another Abdul Salam for us  Honored but estranged Pakistani Nobel Laureate? The question would keep haunting the ones who want Pakistan to move forward in times to come.



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