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The Malala moment: 6 Pakistani views on the girl shot by the Taliban

- Staff writer

3. 'We are not Malala, we may be the Taliban'

While the English-language media in Pakistan unified around Malala, some push back bubbled up across the country's social media. Conservative religious parties have grown more sophisticated at seeding strident – and sometimes purposely deceptive – viewpoints over Facebook, Twitter, and SMS that would never make it past the journalistic elite. But some Pakistani media watchdogs are also getting better at publicizing and shaming some of the vitriol.

An excellent example is this roundup of social media commentary on Malala:

Within hours of the attack, a select group of Pakistanis started creating the ideological space that allows terrorists the upper hand. It would be hard to imagine how a counter narrative could be built around the gunning down of a child, but there it was, coming from our politically charged youth, our parties, our ultra-nationalists and religio-political parties, our extremist/banned organisations and yes, our relatives, peers and friends.

The writer posts numerous screenshots from Facebook of the "counter narrative." Some of the screenshots draw a comparison between Malala and Aafia Siddiqui, a terrorist suspect sentenced by the US to 86 years in prison for trying to kill her interrogators.

The case enrages many Pakistanis who believe she's an innocent, faithful Muslim. In one image, an arrow points from Dr. Siddiqui to an open Quran and another arrow pointing from Malala to President Obama. The text reads: "Dr Aafia’s ideal and Malala’s idea – Obama. Which one would you pick? Aafia’s or Malala’s? Think and answer, it’s a matter of faith."

The author also claims there's a coordinated effort among political parties to pin the blame on the CIA for the shooting, rather than the Taliban.


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