However, the PTI-led government of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, the home of Malala Yousufzai and the place where she was shot in the head by the Taliban, still remained indifferent.
In Pakistan's largest province of Punjab, a tweet from Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's brother and closest adviser) said Malala’s speech was for "global consumption". He was criticized for the tweet which he later deleted.
Pakistani civil society did try to partially fill the vacuum left by organizing events to celebrate Malala Day in major urban centers like Karachi and Lahore. In KPK, the province most affected by terrorism and gender bias in education, ANP was the only political party that held ceremonies in Peshawar and in Malala’s hometown, Mingora, to mark the day. Malala was shot when ANP was in power, but it defended the teen and never showed reluctance in taking on the Taliban.
Malala Day was a missed opportunity for Pakistani leaders to focus the attention of the people of Pakistan on two very important issues they face: the extremely serious threat of terrorism and the denial of education to girls in the country, particularly in western provinces of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa ruled by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Balochistan ruled by Nawaz Sharif's PML(N).
It's hard to explain the behavior of Pakistan's ruling politicians. They are failing to condemn the Taliban for the brutal slaughter of innocent civilians. Their silence is being interpreted as their abject weakness and extreme fear of the terrorists. This is creating even more space for the Taliban and their sympathizers to continue to challenge the writ of the Pakistani state.
It's hard to imagine how the cowardly leaders of Pakistan can solve many of the serious problems, including crises such as energy shortages and economic stagnation, if they lack the basic courage to speak out against the terrorists who are continuing their daily campaign of murder and mayhem unhindered by the Pakistani state.
Lack of real leadership coupled with growing sense of denial makes it difficult for Pakistan to confront its enemies at home. While Nawaz Sharif's government continues to harp on peace talks, the Taliban have intensified their campaign of terror. In the few weeks Sharif has been in office, 32 terrorist attacks have claimed over 250 lives. The only way to begin to stop it is for Pakistanis to see beyond the conspiracy theories. It is impossible to solve a problem that is not even openly and fully acknowledged.
Here's a video of Malala's UN Speech on Friday, July 12, 2013:
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