June 5, 2021

By Rehan Piracha


Women rights activists have slammed PPP and MMA lawmakers in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who called upon the government to seek a clarification from Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai’s family over her views on marriage published in an interview that stirred a controversy on social media.

Speaking to Voicepk.net, women rights activist Humaira Shaikh regretted the vilification campaign against the young Nobel laureate. “It’s unfortunate that our such beautiful and brave daughter Malala who is resisted the Taliban and raised her voice against them, continues to face a vilification campaign then and now,” she said. “She is even being held accountable by certain lawmakers in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh said Malala’s family had already given an explanation to the remarks. The activist said the remarks were made in the context of a dialogue between a mother and a daughter. “She is making Pakistan proud by speaking about education,” the activist said.

Shaikh said no lawmakers were talking about the human tragedy unfolding across Afghanistan upon the withdrawal of American troops there. “Thousands of families have applied immigration to the United States in Afganistan fearing a return of the Taliban but nobody talks about that,” she added.

Nighat Dad, another women rights activist, said Malala is an educated global citizen and has every right to express her views accordingly. She said Malala has been unfairly targeted in Pakistan. “Pakistanis never seem to be happy with Malala and stir up a storm on negligible matters,” Dad said.

Dad said the legislators should have discussed greater issues facing the citizens instead of bringing up the controversy caused by Malala remarks in the assembly. “This sadly reflects the priorities of our lawmakers,” she said.

The women rights activist said the Pakistani society has reached a point where even a slightly unconventional thought is frowned upon. “Whosoever tried to express anything unconventional faces a lynching mob,” she said. “No nation can develop and prosper if opinions of individuals are crushed and they are made a target of mob-lynching,” she added.

On June 5, speaking on a point of order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, Sahibzada Sanaullah, PPP lawmaker from Upper Dir, called upon the government to probe whether Malala really made those marriage remarks or not as published in the British magazine. “Malala should clarify if she has not made that statement,” he said.

In response to a tweet, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father, has clarified that the remarks circulating on social media attributed to her daughter had been taken out of context from her interview to the British magazine Vogue.

Similarly, MPA from the MMA, Inayatullah Khan, said the controversial remarks on marriage attributed to the Nobel laureate had damaged her personality. “Malala’s father should clarify if it was a slip of tongue or she was quoted out of context,” he said.

Naeema Kishwar, MPA from the JUI-F, also supported the demand for the activist’s family to clarify their position on the matter. “No religion allows partnership instead of marriage,” she said.

Prior to her speech, Awami National Party MPA Nisar Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Ziaullah Bangash defended the Nobel laureate, asking fellow members to refrain from stirring further controversy on the remarks.

“Malala is the daughter of Pakhtun nation, who faced terrorists with bravery. I condemn the resolution moved against her in the house,” Nisar said. However, Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani clarified that there was no resolution and instead, the issue was taken up on a point of order.

Bangash said the interview’s portion, which was being subjected to the controversy, was in fact a mother-daughter dialogue. “Malala’s comments were twisted and mentioned out of context,” he said.