In what has been deemed as an attempt at “damage control, ” a Pakistani Taliban leader has written a letter to Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, claiming he was “shocked” when the schoolgirl was shot in the head last year by the militant group.
In a letter to Malala published on Wednesday, Adnan Rasheed said, “When you were attacked it was shocking for me, I wished it would never happen, and I had advised you before. ” The Taliban leader said he had tried to “write to you, to advise you to refrain from anti - Taliban activities you were involved in, but I could not find your address and I was thinking how to approach you with real or pseudo name, my all emotions were brotherly for you because we belong to same Yousafzai tribe. ” “First of all please mind that Taliban never attacked you because of going to school or you were education lover, also please mind that Taliban or Mujahideen are not against the education of any men or women or girl. Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smearing campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in swat and your writings were provocative, ” Rasheed stated. A friend of the Yousafzai family told the BBC that the sending of the letter was a ‘confused and belated attempt at damage control’ by the Taliban in light of a passionate speech by Malala at the UN headquarters in New York on July 12. Malala said in the speech, which coincided with her 16th birthday, that books and pens scare extremists. “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution, ” she said in an address to UN Secretary General Ban Ki - moon and about 1,000 youth leaders from over 100 countries attending an international Youth Assembly at the UN. On October 9,2012, Malala was shot by Tehrik - i - Taliban Pakistan(TTP) militants in the town of Mingora for speaking out against the fanatics and promoting education for girls and women in her home region, the Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The UN speech was her first public address since the incident. She has been credited with bringing the issue of Pakistani women’s education to global attention.
“They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed and out of that silence came thousands of voices, ” Malala said. “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. ”
The Pakistani schoolgirl, who set up the Malala Fund following the attack, presented the UN chief a petition demanding education for all, which was signed by about four million people. Malala, who has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, said she was fighting for the rights of women because “they are the ones who suffer the most.”