Zee Media Bureau
Islamabad: In a four-page letter to Pakistani teen education activist Malala Yousufzai, a Taliban commander has expressed regret over an attack on her last October.
In response to Malala’s impactful speech to the UN, a Talibani commander Adnan Rasheed wrote a 2000-word letter dated July 15, urging her to come back to Pakistan and join a madrassa there.
There isn’t any direct mention of an apology in the letter that is written in English, but the Talibani commander does have some kind words and “brotherly emotions” for the teen girl who has won accolades for her heroic act of standing up against Taliban.
"When you were attacked it was shocking for me. I wished it would never happened and I had advised you before."
"My all emotions were brotherly for you because we belong to same Yousafzai tribe," he wrote in the letter.
In an attack that was condemned worldwide, Malala was shot at by Talibani gunmen on October 9 last year for her writings against the militant outfit and for promoting the education of girls.
Denying Malala’s statements at the UN that the militants were scared of education, Rasheed wrote, “Please mind that Taliban or Mujahideen are not against the education of any men or women or girl".
"Taliban never attacked you because of going to school or you were an education lover; Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smear campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat and your writings were provocative," he added.
Rashid also claimed that the Pakistan Army used schools as barracks and transit camps and that the militants were not the only ones responsible for the plight of education.
"You are using your tongue at the behest of others and you must know that if the pen is mightier than the sword, then the tongue is sharper and the injury of a sword can be healed but the injury of the tongue never heals, and in the wars a tongue is more destructive than any weapon," he wrote.
In a direct response to Malala’s words, Rasheed wrote, "You have said in your speech yesterday that pen is mightier than sword, so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school. There were thousands of girls who were going to school and college before and after the Taliban insurgency in Swat, would you explain why were only you on their hit list???"
In a fiery speech at the UN last Friday, Malala had said, “The pen is mightier than the sword. It is true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them”.
She said she was not against anyone and wanted "education for the sons and daughters of all the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists".
Malala had said, "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."