Malala, the 16 years old Pakistani girl has the world spell bound by her dedication to a cause and her determination to achieve her goals. It is in recognition of her bravery and service to humanity at such a young age that she has bagged all the prestigious awards that the West has to offer, excluding the Noble Prize. Which, we are certain, will be hers in time. It is crystal clear that corrupt politicians of Pakistan, and their corrupt friends abroad, had a part to play in her not being given this coveted prize.
Her recent statement that she wants to join politics and someday become the prime minister of Pakistan, was unwise and ill timed. Unwise because in a conspiracy theory loving country as Pakistan, this statement had farther reaching consequences than a westerner may be able to comprehend. Ill timed, because on the eve of getting a Noble Prize one has to be on guard. A little slip of the tongue or a quote by a celebrity can either make or break his/her image, in some instances, forever. This is precisely what happened in the case of Malala.
In the sham democracy that Pakistan is, her statement, rather the blunt straight forward utterance of a teenager, on the one hand, dented her bright chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and on the other hand , though unwittingly on Malala’s part, alerted the “so called” democratic politicians of Pakistan. These pseudo leaders, when in power, run Pakistan as a fiefdom, if he/she was a feudal lord, and as a ruthless CEO, if he/she happens to be a capitalist, like the present Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is.
The mind set of both the feudal lord and the capitalist is the same. In power, these politicians govern Pakistan in a manner which, by any stretch of imagination, can not be referred to as democratic, rather its an authoritarian oligarchy in the garb of democracy. For example, all the main posts in the party are held by the family members, whether they are eligible or not. And, the same is true of all the important cabinet slots. These leaders of Pakistan, over the years, being in the shadow of dictators for perhaps too long a span of time in our history, have developed habits that are not at all befitting a democrat.
These vain politicians are always evolving plans and schemes that safeguard their vested interests and self image, even at the expense of harming the security and interests of Pakistan. The political system in Pakistan runs so, first comes the interests of the close family and the important slots in the party hierarchy are divided among them; then, comes the turn of the extended family and the remaining posts are distributed among them; after, all the family members have been well adjusted in the party or the government, next comes the turn of the favorites, ranging from the chief of the army to judiciary and, even the flattering, men from the media, so all the four pillars of the state are filled in this manner. It is done so by the politicians, who love to be called democrats because there is no dissenting voice left to oppose their black and white or even grey political maneuvers.
This was the critical mistake that , however mature in her thoughts and actions, the teen made that alerted these corrupt politicians to her presence. In Malala they now see a challenge to their sons and daughters political future, because, unlike them, she is bright, has a lot of valuable ideas to make Pakistan a better country, a country that can have a say in the world affairs rather than a stooge or satellite state.
Malala’s main advocacy and objective is to spread education, especially among the deprived sections of the society, is an idea that especially irks them and gives these corrupt politicians, and their scions, sleepless nights. In Malala, they see that special someone who, by the force of her ideas alone, can be the last nail in the coffin of their corrupt political dynastic rule. Malala, to speak the truth with her vision is more repulsive to them than even the dreaded Taliban.
An Op-ed written by: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada