Cartoon in today’s Express Tribune sums up Pakistan’s attitude to Malala, one year on from the day she was shot in the head by assassins from the Pakistan Taliban. Even in her hometown, the prevalent attitude is suspicion, hatred and envy for a young woman who campaigned for girls to go to school. Why would she campaign for women’s education? Because she was an agent of the West, seems to be the explanation.
I wasn’t allowed to visit Swat to report on the story. The military, perhaps sensing the acute awkwardness of this issue, would not grant me permission. Those foreign journalists who have been permitted to go have described being harassed by military minders, who insisted on being present at interviews – including with vulnerable women and girls.