Islamabad: Millions of people prayed for the early recovery of child peace campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who a leading Pakistani daily said was "fighting the most arduous battle of her life" after the Taliban shot at her.
"With millions of people praying for her life and early recovery, the way she was living in the once militants infested Swat valley without any proper security measures speaks of how we treat our heroes," said an article in the Dawn Wednesday, a day after Malala was shot at when she was on her way home from school.
Describing her as "the progressive face of Pakistan in general and Swat valley in particular", it said that she is today "fighting the most arduous battle of her life".
The 14-year-old girl, Pakistan`s first National Peace Award winner, was shot and seriously injured by gunmen in the country`s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Tuesday. The Taliban has accepted responsibility.
An attacker wearing a police uniform stopped the school bus and opened fire at her. In the attack, the girl was seriously wounded, while two other girls incurred slight injuries.
The article pointed out that though government functionaries, including the prime minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, chief minister, federal ministers and others started condemnation of attack on her life by militants, "none of them would accept the lapse on their part".
"Why she was not provided security by the government despite the fact that she had assumed international fame because of her outspoken criticism of militants, especially their approach towards female education?" it asked.
It demanded that the security forces, who have been administering Swat valley since an operation in 2009, "also need to clarify their position".
"The moot question is when security could be provided to the ruling elite...then why Malala was left at the mercy of militants. Returning from school without any security guard, she was a soft target for those who wanted to eliminate her because of her thinking," it added.
It went on to say that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has once again "proved that militants can go to any extent against those, who don`t share their ideology".
"In the past, they have killed women; pulled out bodies from graves; bombed mosques, schools, funeral prayers and jirgas; beheaded people and displayed their severed heads in public places," it added.
Lauding Malala, the article said that her meteoric rise to fame was not because of sheer luck rather "it was because of her struggle and her candid views regarding what had happened in Swat valley and how Taliban had inflicted damage on the education sector by blowing up dozens of schools".
Malala is in the ICU and "millions of people not only in Pakistan but in other parts of the world are praying for her".
"Hope the prayers of these millions of people would bear fruit and this brave girl would once again be present among her people and striving for the message which she has been preaching for the last over three years," it added.