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How many times, O the people of Pakistan have you seen representatives from around the world giving a standing ovation to a Pakistani? The UN Secretary General wiping off his tears while listening to a Pakistani? Young men and women from many nations vying with each other to get closer to a Pakistani?

Perhaps never.

So be happy that you have a daughter like Malala. Be proud of this little girl who brought you so much positive attention at a time when the whole world looks at you with fear and suspicion.

Bow down in gratitude and wipe not your tears for they will wash away your sins. And you may have committed many. But your greatest sin is silence.

You are silent when your priests incite violence, when they urge you to kill those who disagree with them. Although you too disagree with them, you do not speak up. Worse still, when they ask you to empty your pockets for hired killers, you do so without thinking of the consequences.

You are silent when suicide bombers kill innocent people in your streets. When extremists bomb mosques and kill worshippers. When they raid schools and murder little children.

One of them put a bullet through Malala’s head because she, unlike you, refused to be silent when they tried to snatch her books.

She spoke up. She stood for her rights. And she defied them by going to school, ignoring their threats.

And now that the entire world is answering her call, praising her defiance, embracing her as a beacon of hope against the forces of darkness, many among you are jealous of her.

Some curse her. Others call her an American agent and some say she is an enemy of Islam.

Yes, most of you do not endorse such views. You do recognise what she has done for you by defying the forces of evil. Yet, you are silent; not because you are afraid.

You cannot be afraid because you are the overwhelming majority. If you just come out in the streets to show that you reject these forces of darkness, they will run away.

You are so many that if you just allow yourself to be counted, you can do anything and everything you want.

But you do not bother. You are too busy with your daily chores. You have been imprisoned. Enslaved. You cannot break out of your prison. You cannot break your chains.

So you prefer to be silent.

You are silent but your enemies are not.

Soon after Malala spoke at the United Nations, they invaded her Facebook, posting crude remarks on her page, calling her an “American agent.”

Can a million people visit her page tomorrow and show the whole world that there are people in Pakistan who love this girl? Can you let these evil-doers know how wrong they are? Can you stand up for the bravest girl you have had in generations?

And there are others among you who say that many others also have spoken against militants, even sacrificed their lives fighting the terrorists, why are they forgotten?

Well, if you really care for those who sacrificed their lives in the fight against militancy, then join Malala. Do not oppose her. It will hurt your cause. Do not be jealous. Jealousy is negative; it sometimes causes more damaging than the enemy’s gun.

And here is a little story to cheer you up:

A peasant was chopping timber in the woods. Another peasant was watching him; comfortably seated on a fallen tree trunk. The man cutting the timber was using a heavy axe, lifting it above his head and hitting the wood with effort.

Every time, the chopper hit the wood, the second peasant cried out: “Wow, well done.”

When the woodcutter finished his work, the peasant went to him and demanded his fee.

“For what?” asked the wood chopper.

“For cheering you up,” said the peasant.

The woodcutter did not agree that the peasant needs to be paid for cheerleading.

The dispute led them to Mullah Nasruddin.

Nasruddin listened to both sides and then took out a purse.

He took some coins out of the purse and dropped them one at a time on his desk. The coins tinkled and clinked onto the wood desk.

“Did you hear the sound of the coins jingling?” he asked the cheerleader.

“Yes, I did,” he replied.

“Then you have received your rightful payment. You supplied the sound and you got paid in sound.”

So be the chopper, not just a cheerleader.

Author Image

Anwar Iqbal is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC.

Comments (54) Closed

muhammad adnan Jul 15, 2013 02:49pm

Pakistan doesn't deserve a girl like Malala. The only thing I am hearing from Pakistan is about Malala being a drama queen. Sickening.

Javed Jul 15, 2013 03:06pm

We are proud of you Malalai! Keep up the good work!

gangadin Jul 15, 2013 03:07pm

She is not doing anything positive for Pakistan. As a matter of fact, she is being played as a victim of hostile Pakistan by enemies of Pakistan and like every one else before her, they will use her to their advantage and then kick her to the curb. Just look at the history of these people. Indeed Pakistan does not deserve this type of publicity.

Solitar Jul 15, 2013 03:09pm

Congrats Mr. Iqbal for bringing forth such a fascinating read reflecting the negative approach of our society towards positive contribution by little Malala.

pakiboy Jul 15, 2013 03:15pm

we dont need drama yousuf zai .. she is a paid actress .. and only portraying pakistan as society where women r shot if educating .. which not more than 90% true .. so we pakistani can not accept a paid anti pakistan propaganda !!

Mustafa Jul 15, 2013 03:19pm

@muhammad adnan: Sickning? Good for you. Every single wise person on the face of the earth understand about this Western pllitical drama/stunt.

Suren Singh Sahni Jul 15, 2013 03:29pm

Malala is a symbol of hope and inspiration for all the oppressed people in the world. The bullet that was aimed to silence her is now echoing around the world rekindling fire of emancipation and freedom.

Shahid Jul 15, 2013 03:31pm

Malala is becoming like Shah Rukh Khan, every time you change channel there is Shah Rukh either doing a show, or selling a toothpaste. By wearing Benazir Shawl and mentioning it during her speech, she is already aligning herself with a political party. No wonder big support came from UK for her education etc. Dave Cameron and Zardari's friendship is well known.

Aamir Jul 15, 2013 03:34pm

Everytime a pakistani speaks against her, casting her as an actor and her near fatal injury as the a US sponsored drama, it shows that the sickness of our minds is getting beyond cure.

Muzamil Jul 15, 2013 03:42pm

She is no more than a bubble of water created out of some insane media charms without any tangible substance of much talked about activism for child education ... she is clearly oversold. so, let's treat her by neglecting her !

ali Jul 15, 2013 03:49pm

Why is Malala is given so much this so that her name was attached with Pakistan,a country which is already been at the hit list of anti-Pakistan elements who leave no stone unturned in defaming pakistan...

Muhammad Basil Jul 15, 2013 03:51pm

Brilliant Article, I really hope people come out of their caves, and see the sunlight and don't be jealous. Don't just mark someone an American agent just cause you don't agree with them, or they are different from them. The people of Pakistan need to grow up and see these labels or traitors and spies are used by leaders just to gain public attention. So people support someone who is really doing something not just, talking the talk.

Mehreen Chandan Jul 15, 2013 04:03pm

This was a beautiful piece. I stand up and salute Malala and I would be equally ready to bow down in respect to her. Hail Malala! She has done more for this country than anyone else in recent times. I am off to visit her face book page and to have a hard think about how I can make a difference in my country.

I think praising the worthy is so much more gratifying than being jealous and picking fault with everything.

Ishtiaq Ali Jul 15, 2013 04:20pm

And do you think UN's 'Tears' are for us ? For Malala? Wake Up Brother !!!!!

Esscapade Jul 15, 2013 04:40pm

Would she ever return to her country and carry on her good work from there

mahno0r khan Jul 15, 2013 05:08pm

yes, we are proud of you malala and you're not alone. May Allah bless you :-)

Syed Hussain Akbari Jul 15, 2013 05:32pm

Malala is now a symbol a phenomenon and icon. She spoke of book, copy and pen just following the desires and teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.). But the Mullahs will never understand that; the reason of which is evident. I have viewed the whole proceeding of he United Nation celebrating the Malala / Education day. I became stronger and felt myself in a different world where peace is ruling. I find that Pakistan has now a second person to be proud of and that is Malala but only after the great Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. May God protect her from all agonies of life and also from those who do not understand her and do not know what is education and justice!!

afia Jul 15, 2013 05:36pm


Shoaib Khan Jul 15, 2013 06:15pm

Very well written and to the point!

Winnifred Gonsalves Jul 15, 2013 06:33pm

This so gratifying, to know a little girl - MALALA has stood up for her right, her freedom and her worth. Isn't this what we fought to get? Hats off to you MALALA. God Bless you and let your actions speak louder than words to all the youth of Pakistan.

God Bless you.

afia Jul 15, 2013 06:44pm


Javed Anwar Jul 15, 2013 06:55pm

Malala you have shown the world you are great. ALLAH ALMIGHTY Gave you this respect and you are HIS agent & not an American agent. I salute your resistance to the forces of evil. May ALLAH Shower His Blessings & Give you more strength & courage to stand up & defy the forces of evil. Ameen. We the Pakistanis are proud of you.

karachi Jul 15, 2013 07:10pm

I agree 100 per cent what ever u have written. We must praise Malala for her courage and those who support her. We the silent people are the real criminals. Pakistanis are not the hostage of Taliban terrorists alone but even the political parties made them hostage. Resistance level is zero. Pakistanis have lost faith on leaders while at the same time they don't trust on entire world. they easily find conspiracy in all bad and goods appear in front of them.

Shazia Rafi Jul 15, 2013 07:21pm

Bravo! I was here in New York, she made us all stand up, smile and yes cry. We are lucky to have a person of such courage and wisdom as a fellow citizen

mishall Jul 15, 2013 07:24pm

thank you...Someone had the guts to write what i am thinking off. People who write and put her down have empty lives and not the kind to go out peaceful and defy all. She is one in a million who is a miracle for us people in Pakistan of the youth. She is the voice of millions who are in her shoes. There is a reason why God saved her because she is needed greatly now.

Bia Jul 15, 2013 07:50pm

I admire malala but see all this as too much hype created by western media to brainwash pakistani nation for a ready made, Imported, foreign raised, obedient future leader for Pakistan. I admire those girls in her village more who are still facing Taliban fear and can't find political asylum like malala's family. I admire those polio teams more who still go to give drops to kids Inspite of the brutal Taliban threats. I hope dawn prints my comments.

Zahid Ali Jul 15, 2013 08:03pm

Well done Malala, She proved that she is bold, courageous and intelligent young girl.She is symbol of freedom and change.She is sixteen but speaks like 61.May Allah grant her long life and good health.I am hopeful Pakistan will survive.

Zahid Ali Jul 15, 2013 08:04pm

All the best and good luck to Malala.She is symbol of freedom and change.

Syed Jul 15, 2013 08:40pm

This small girl made us proud as a nation. And defeated those holding guns and rockets in their hands.

Tanvir Jul 15, 2013 08:59pm

What an honor for Pakistan! Malala has been moved to the United Kingdom; she lives there now, goes to British schools for educrion. And when she visited the UN, she was accompaanied by the British Prime Minister! Where was the Pakistani leadership? Seems like that there is no place for Pakistan in this another Western puppet drama. Now our chilid is also colonized.

Farhan khan Jul 15, 2013 09:28pm

I want to say, Malala is not doing anything special. its sad she got shot. inshallah she recovery quickly. but to say she is some kind of symbol. I cant belive how stupied can pakistani people can be.

the media and western world is using this girl to make the muslims and pakistani look bad. islam has honored women in many ways, just because some people dont practice it does not mean islamic principals are not their. the western women are treated like garage everyday in ameirca and europe. pakistani women are have highest educations of being doctors. so what the hell is she doing?

the change will start from inner core not the outer core and outside dogs will never help you!!!

I feel bad for you malala, how you are beinge exposed and misused..

akram Jul 15, 2013 10:04pm

The only people who oppose Malala are the ones who have done nothing for Pakistan, done nothing for its people and never will. It's an unfortunate truth that it's not outsiders who have committed all these murders, but our own ignorant citizens

nasim haider Jul 15, 2013 10:16pm

I salute Malala.She made a woderful delevery infront of such a large gathering. Her poise and confidance was remarkable. We should all be proud of her and do whatever we can for the cause of education particularly girls education

Aslam Parvaiz Punaily Jul 15, 2013 10:29pm

Dear Iqbal bhai thanks for your reflection and encouragement for Malala, that the only way to change pakistan.

J.Singh Jul 15, 2013 10:46pm

I have to say that even though I am an Indian ( my roots however are in Gujranwala, Pakistan), I truly admire this young lady. We need a few more pure of heart champions like her to lift our nations out poverty. Neither India with its hundreds of millions on verge of starvation nor Pakistan....with its severe economic and other problems deserves to be in this state. Our people are too gifted for this to happen....we need good governance, the right priorities - instead of boasting about respective armies, let us boast of our economic achievements and compete at that level.......maybe a child such as Malala can drill some sense into our brains J. Singh

Izhar Minhas Jul 15, 2013 10:48pm

Malala you have done a remarkable job at the United Nations. You have each and every Pakistani proud except few supports of these barbarians stone headed enemy of Pakistan & islam. May Allah (SWT) shower His anger on all of them who has brought so much pain and misery to the poor people of Pakistan. (Aameen Suum Aameen)

Malala you are a true daughter of PAKISTAN and hats are off for you. We all love you from the bottom of our hearts. Fee Aman Allah & keep up the good work.

Babar Khan Jul 15, 2013 11:59pm

The world has heard from a brave little girl.....I am sure there are brave Pakistani men out there......lets hear it from you. Send these forces of darkness to the dustbin of history.

Md Imran Jul 16, 2013 12:11am

Long story short, to be heard in Pakistan you need to be : 1. Upper middleclass girl. 2. Take a bullet to your head and hope you survive to apply for asylum abroad.

Nimesh Sen Jul 16, 2013 12:15am

I seriously pray that Gandhi ji have come back in the form of Malala.

qazi Jul 16, 2013 03:20am

@Shazia Rafi: so a 16 year old has become the wise woman overnight. it's amazing how we end up buying into western propaganda.

asif Jul 16, 2013 04:08am

@muhammad adnan: just remember there are so many girls like or better then malal

Fatema Jul 16, 2013 11:06am

Wonderfully written!

Asif Jul 16, 2013 11:13am

Food for thougths

Jamshed Khan Jul 16, 2013 12:44pm

I will never understand the 'something special' about Malala considering there are hundreds of similar cases in Pakistan but no one even notices.

Jamshed Khan Jul 16, 2013 12:49pm

@Esscapade: No, she won't. She too busy rubbing shoulders with the UN royalty.

Hasan Ali khattak Jul 16, 2013 01:57pm

Pakistan never stops amazing with people like agha waqar, zardari and now malala. The world is a safer place now that west has saved a child named malala and we have white saviors on our back while the drones kill hundred times more girls and deprive them of basic right for education and even deprive them of their right to live with missiles rather than bullets as taliban did.

Gopal Ramdev Jul 16, 2013 02:15pm

oh the naive people of pakistan! how they cheer at other people cheering at them. why don't you cheer tahir shah who got million hits in less than a week? malala was not the only child going to school in swat. her highlighting is a matter of shame rather than pride for pakistan. there are hundreds of people in pakistan who defy odds and achieve better things everyday. many are murdered (and not just get shot in the head and survive) in the streets of karachi, quetta and fata. nobody gets the chance to speak in UN. of all people why dont you, the writer, get the chance as i see that you are an accomplished correspondent and you too stand against the militants! what a deranged group of people!

Dan Jul 16, 2013 02:15pm

Everybody has the God given right to have an opinion! Just like people express here, But what is interesting to notice how even the flag bearers and proponents take it upon themselves to suppress any voice or comment against like if she was Joan of ark...but do remember her end!

rimi Jul 16, 2013 02:18pm

well written

N. Noor, Jul 16, 2013 02:32pm

Thank you 'A.I', for the passionate write-up for the gifted daughter of Pakistan. Be relieved please, the candle of light and hope, caused by the bullet, has made the heart and mind of Ms Malala, to do her life-work of of illumination of the mind and soul of all the teenaged sons and daughters of all the four corners of our beautiful Earth, now a global village, which will be become a true place of peace to live a purposeful life of plenty and prosperity, giving it the practical shape of the lofty ideals of Malala's historical speech.

Arshd Jul 16, 2013 02:41pm

Malala is on her way to becoming a British citizen.

Yawar Jul 16, 2013 03:07pm

Alhumdulillah, it was heartening to see Malala give such an emotionally stirring speech at the UN. May Allah give you a long and healthy life and protect you from those that have evil intentions against you.

irfan baloch Jul 16, 2013 06:34pm

GOD bless Malala a girl got shot by the terrorists but alone has beating & outclassed horde of terrorist fiends of hate & destruction.

Shama, Jul 16, 2013 06:34pm

Malala is neither an American agent nor a secularist or slave of someone. She is simply a decent, disciplined child of her fortunate parents, a brilliantly bold, brave, full of confidence of her life-long passion for education all the kids, through out the world, presently wasting their life in millions in the dust-ridden dirty streets of their surrounding. wish her greater glories in days to come.