PESHAWAR: The banned militant organisation Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which claimed responsibility of shooting 14-year-old peace activist Malala Yousafzai in the head, issued a statement Wednesday, using Islamic Shariah to defend the attack.
In the statement sent out by TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan from an undisclosed location, the banned outfit said that although they do not believe in attacking women, “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.”
The assassination attempt on the life of the young National Peace Award winner has drawn widespread condemnation from the government, political parties and civil society groups, terming it a bid to silent voice for peace and education.
The statement says that it is “not just allowed … but obligatory in Islam” to kill such a person involved “in leading a campaign against Shariah and (who) tries to involve whole community in such campaign, and that personality becomes a symbol of anti-Shariah campaign.”
Malala had won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls’ schools and terrorised the valley.
Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by the militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting the local Taliban since 2007.
The Taliban statement further challenges – with Quranic and religious references – condemnation of the assassination attempt on the tender-aged girl, adding that it is a clear command of Shariah that any female playing a role in “war against mujahideen” should be killed.
"If anyone argues that she was female, and then we can see the incident of killing of wife by a blind companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because she used to say demeaning words for the Prophet and the Prophet praised that act," it argues equating the TTP act with that of a the prophet’s companion.
The statement goes on to defend the attack with a reference from the time of Hazrat Khizar, a revered figure in Islamic history who was described as a righteous servant of God and endowed with the qualities of unmatched wisdom and mystic power.
“If anyone argues about her young age, then the story of Hazrat Khizar in the Quran (states that) while traveling with Prophet Musa (AS), (he) killed a child. Arguing about the reason of his killing, he said that the parents of this child were pious and in the future he (the child) would cause a bad name for them,” adds the statement.
Malala Yousufzai, who was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by advocacy group KidsRights Foundation in 2011, had raised her voice against the militants’ ban on and threats against education for women in Swat.
The Taliban spokesman defends the education-ban in the statement, saying: “Tehrik-i-Taliban’s crime wasn’t that they banned education for girls. Instead, our crime was that we tried to bring education system for both boys and girls under Shariah. We are against co-education and secular education system, and Shariah orders us to be against it.”
The statement further defends the assassination attempt, blaming the media for spreading “propaganda against Taliban mujahideen with their poisonous tongues.”
“If anyone thinks that Malala was targeted because of education, that is absolutely wrong, and propaganda of media. Malala was targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so called enlightened moderation. And whomsoever will commit so in future too will be targeted again by TTP,” it adds.
Zahir Shah Sherazi contributed to reporting for this article.