London: The father of Malala Yousafzai once flirted with militancy and prayed for martyrdom, his daughter, who was shot in the head by Pakistani Taliban, has said.
The interesting detail about Ziauddin Yousafzai`s early links with militancy emerges from his 15-year-old daughter`s memoir `I Am Malala` that the schoolgirl has written with journalist Christina Lamb.
Ziauddin was only 12 years old when Sufi Mohammad, who later became a leading figure among the extremists in Swat, came to his village to recruit young boys to join the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the book says.
Although he was too young to fight then, within a few years, Ziauddin was preparing to become a jihadi and prayed for martyrdom.
He later came to believe that he was being brainwashed by militants, and was saved from it by his questioning mind and the influence of his future brother-in-law, a secular nationalist.
The book also recounts Malala`s debt to Ziauddin, an educator who founded the school she attended and kept it open to girls in the face of pressure and threats.