Activists and politicians in Pakistan expressed outrage Wednesday over the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a girls’ education advocate who was seriously wounded on her school bus by the Taliban Tuesday.
The local government offered 10 million Rupees (about $105,000), for tips leading to the identification or arrest of the attackers.
Writing in Dawn.com, columnist Nadeem F. Paracha said the shooting was the most recent in a series of acts of violence there, and apologized for her “rage fatigue:”
“A monster does what a monster does and a mere condemnation of him is a farce.
But yes, those who really deserve condemnation are us Pakistanis as a people. I apologise to Malala for a society who has forgotten to apologise. Half of it is busy frantically convoluting scenarios to explain away this cowardly act and hold on to the delusions upon which they construct their politics and fire their oh-so-revolutionary rhetoric; while the other half, like me, are sinking (or being sunk) into a sticky puddle of apathy and cynicism.”
Pakistani politician Rehman Malik also condemned the attacks:
I am proud of my nation as we always stand united together in all our difficult moments.Terrorists are nether Pakistani nor Muslim.— Rehman Malik (@SenRehmanMalik) October 10, 2012
Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement, a political party in Pakistan, released a statement saying the “firing upon innocent students and injuring them was blatant terrorism, and the perpetrators behind this vile act should be swiftly brought to justice.”
However, as the Washington Post reports, the country’s religious leaders were largely silent about the attack, “highlighting the grip that right-wing clerics hold on this increasingly conservative, majority-Muslim country. Religious leaders here rarely denounce suicide bombings or sectarian attacks for fear of provoking the Taliban.”
Some activists have urged Twitter users to change their profiles to images of Malala as a show of support:
Hundreds across Pakistan staged demonstrations, holding portraits and news clippings of the girl. Many schools in Pakistan's Swat Valley closed their doors in protest, as well:
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban have taken credit for shooting Malala, whom they called an “obscenity.”
Pakistani Taliban (TTP) spokesmen are boasting of putting “the lowly Malala Yousafzai” in a coma following an armed ambush at her school.— Evan Kohlmann (@IntelTweet) October 10, 2012
According to reports from New York Times journalist Adam Ellick, who previously profiled Malala for a documentary, the Taliban now plans to target Malala’s father, who inspired her education crusade.
Swat Taliban Siraj Uddin just called my friend to say they will target Zia (her father) Yousafzai and her brothers. #malala— Adam B. Ellick (@aellick) October 10, 2012
Click here to see more photos from the shooting: