October 9, 2012 may well be recorded as a black day in the history of Pakistan. Although many innocent civilians have been targeted in various cowardly acts of terrorism, resulting in numerous injuries and casualties, each priceless in its own way, the incident involving Malala, Shazia and Kainat is etched in the heart.
Malala, not just a 14 year old, but a voice, an institution, an inspiration, epitome of courage and humanity, was cowardly attacked and still continues to battle for a healthy life. Shazia and Kainat, Malala’s friends, were also injured and reflected upon similar courage as Malala. This sad incident set the nation afire with a wave of melancholy which may well take some time to settle.
While various political parties recorded statements observing utter shock and disgust over the incident, some took it on a different level, a more personal level. MQM, for instance, arranged for prayer sessions and a strong statement by Mr. Altaf Hussain was recorded where he requested people not to attend Juma Prayers where the incident is not condemned and Malala is not prayed for. Apart from that, general public resorted to prayers, personally, and in gatherings. People collected at the press club in various cities and many held prayer sessions at their residences. Lahore University of Management Scineces (LUMS) under the leadership of Dr. Adil Najam, announced “Malala For Education Fund”, goal of which is to assist female students preferably from Malala’s area to gain quality education at the University. Varying reaction from all over the world communicating utter sadness, concern and praising the resolve of this young lady was recorded.
By and large, the above sums up the reaction to the incident. However, we did have a few voices creeping up accusing Malala to be an American agent and also a few other trying to justify this heinous and cowardly act of brutality. While one can just feel ashamed over such a reaction, turning this incident into a commercial proposition marked a new all time low.
Bundu Khan Restaurant, a name known across many cities in Pakistan maintains a facebook page. On this page, some insensitive genius put up a contest in which one is required to identify a picture while the winner is to be awarded a voucher valuing PKR 5,000/- for family meal.If you are already feeling ashamed, let us look at some more interesting figures. Uptill now, October 13, 2012 (5:46 pm) 7,830 people have happily identified the picture to be Malala Yousufzai, a few attempting repeatedly, desperate to win that voucher. More than that, what is even more astonishing is that this page is “liked” by more than 148,000 people. No reaction so far apart from Ghalib Khalil from Sialkot (a young man who needs no introduction, someone whose time is often spent arranging for food for the hungry and his services towards the flood victims are remarkable).
It is requested that all readers please visit the page and reflect on your feelings over this display of shameful insensitivity. Write in to them, visit them and register your protest. Make pamphlets and hand them out to all those dining in at Bundu Khan. The author suggested to Bundu Khan to offer a similar contest and offer a voucher of PKR 25,000/- should the owner, or may be one of the relative of the owners of Bundu Khan Restaurant are shot (god forbid). Should they decide to consider this suggestion, it is prayed that there be a much lesser number of people participating is such a shameful campaign.
Malala, I am sorry, indeed we are all not you.