When can I expect a mellifluent Pakistan, which will occlude conspiracy theories and accept the reality? On July 12, Malala Yousafzai addressed the United Nations, her first major public appearance since the Pakistani schoolgirl was shot in head by the Taliban in October 2012.
The teen activist, wearing a pink shawl that had once belonged to assassinated Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was fearless, immaculate and sharp. Her language, words demonstrated that the Taliban, whose attack disfigured a side of her face, have failed miserably in shaking her resolve. The presence of stalwarts like Britain`s ex-prime minister Gordon Brown and UN chief Ban Ki-moon did not seem to overwhelm the advocate of the "Right to education to all", who made a plea "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world".
Her address at the UN was widely appreciated by millions of viewers across the world. A round of applause celebrated her fearlessness when she said she wanted "education for the sons and daughters of all the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hands and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him".
The confident teenager further said: "This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhiji, Badshah Khan and Mother Teresa."
But what is wrong with Pakistan? The reaction to Malala`s speech was shocking. Most of the country`s TV channels did not show the speech live on Malala Day. Although cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan tweeted tributes to her bravery, yet there was no reaction from the Pakistani government. In fact, many denounced Malala`s speech as “a drama”. The teen activist has now become the object of deplorable conspiracy theories.
On social media, a lot of nit-picking comments could be seen. Some denounced Malala as a “CIA agent", a few sniffed conspiracy theory in her attack, saying she had been “attacked by the CIA". Others went too far by claiming that her injuries had been “faked". Some blogs were even suspicious of her fame. Such was the widespread ignorance on the part of Pakistanis, who forgot that the Taliban themselves took responsibility of the attack on Malala. What benefit will the CIA get by making an education activist an agent, who does not believe in violence?
Recently, when the leaked Abbottabad Commission`s report underlined the incompetence of the Pakistani government in catching Osama bin Laden, a number of retired government officials denied that the terrorist was ever in Abbottabad. And for Hamid Gul, the presence of the al Qaeda leader was not a `failure, but an achievement`.
How can one expect Pakistan to fight terrorists when it does not realise their presence? It is easier to blame everything on the US. Pakistanis put the fault on the US for drone attacks, but ignore the reports that claim political actors in Islamabad lend support to such actions of Washington.
Just because the West has hailed Malala as an icon, the girl has been demeaned at home. She is now being seen with suspicion.
The presence of social media has further helped hate-mongers to spread their propaganda to vast population of Pakistan, who have neither time nor resources to validate anything before believing. Blaming the US and India for all the problems and woes they are facing is what describes Pakistan aptly.