Pakistani civil society activists carry candles to pay tribute to gunshot victim Malala Yousafzai and protest against her assassination attempt, in Lahore on October 10, 2012. — Photo by AFP

LAHORE: The civil society on Wednesday staged peaceful protest demonstrations and candlelit vigils and condemned the Taliban for their cowardly act of life attempt on Malala Yousafzai.

People from all walks of life including teachers and students offered prayers at different ceremonies for the recovery of Malala.

Peaceful protests and candlelit vigils were held at Liberty Roundabout, Charing Cross and in front of the Lahore Press Club.

The protesters were holding banners and placards bearing inscriptions against the cowardly act of attacking a young girl.

The Child Rights’ Movement in collaboration with the Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi organised a demonstration at Liberty Roundabout. People belonging to civil society organisations as well as students condemned life attempt on Malala.

ITA Director Programmes Dr Baela Raza said the gunfire on an unarmed girl had maligned the image of Pakistan the world over.

She stressed that different sections of society must get together and raise voice against the attackers.

She demanded that the attackers must be arrested and given an exemplary punishment.

Justice Nasira Javed (retired) and Umeed chairperson Shireen Zafarullah said the attack had grossly violated the fundamental right to education and peace for females in the area.

Later, the protesters participated in a candlelit vigil at Charing Cross and prayed for the recovery of the girl.

The Insaaf Students Federation and the Islami Jamiat Tulaba also condemned the incident.

The Institute for Peace and Secular Studies held a candlelit vigil in front of the press club.

SAFMA: The civil society, media and others met at the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) office and passed a resolution condemning attack on Malala Yousafzai.

Imtiaz Alam, SM Masood, Abdullah Malik, Jugnu Mohsin, IA Rehman, Faryal Gohar, Tehseen Ahmad and Khalid Chaudhry endorsed the resolution.

The resolution read: “We, members of the civil society, media and people from other walks of life express our grief and anger over murderous attack on Malala and consider it an attack on the entire nation and humanity.”

It also said: “We, as citizens, protest that no clear stance has been taken against terrorism. This has not only affected our way of life but also the future of the entire nation and its people are no longer secure. This monster (terrorism) is destroying our society.

“We demand that the federal and provincial governments and state institutions take some decisive action against terrorists. We appeal to people in general and the media and civil society in particular that they do not comprise on terrorism, which Islam and other religions, our country’s laws or societal norms do not allow. We demand a serious action against the TTP.

“We appeal to our politicians that they take a clear and united stance against all militants. We also appeal to the media to take an unambiguous stance on terrorism and take practical steps to save the future generations of Pakistan.”

UNESCO: Education for All Global Monitoring Report, published by Unesco, director Pauline Rose has said in a statement the attack on Malala was a big tragedy.

She said Malala was standing up for the right of education for girls, which is not yet being respected. “There are still over three million girls out of school in the country,” she said.

She said this was not the first time that insurgent groups had attacked education infrastructure in Pakistan.

Often, as seen in Afghanistan, she said, girl schools were a particular target. Failing to respond to such attacks as seen in Pakistan on Tuesday would only engender further fear among parents over sending their children to school.

“All too often, due to conflict, the education of girls and boys is left off the list of priorities,” she observed.