Malala Yousafzai may symbolize a story of Pakistan. But what kind of story?

Malala’s case gets a lot of media attention but would you say that it also has any real potential to change something in Pakistan? Read few comments by Nicolas MartinTeaching Fellow, Department of Anthropology, The London School of Economics and Political Science.

As you may already know, Pakistan is rife with conspiracy theories and whenever things like this happen people often blame foreign secret services. Although I haven’t followed the Yousufzai case closely, I’ve gathered from the internet that many people believe that the case was fabricated in order to tarnish the image of Pakistanis and of Muslims more generally. There is a tendency in Pakistan to see all extremist acts as perpetrated by foreign intelligence services. Anatol Lieven in his book Pakistan A Hard Country discusses these conspiracies and how the Pakistani secret services are often involved in spreading them in order to absolve the government of blame for domestic troubles by placing it on a foreign hand. In any case, with respect to your question, these attitudes mean that people are unlikely to react against growing ‘extremism’ but rather that they are more likely to become more anti-western. Similar cases to that of Malala happened before but nothing really changed.

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One Response

  1. People here in Pakistan, however slowly, do react to extremism because that is, ultimately, the only effect extremism has been able to bring about, ever.

    The shootings sure did get us to smell what we’d been shovelling for a very long time.

    Conspiracy theories, such as the ones that claim foreign agents were involved are just uneducated banter that no self-respecting, well-informed Pakistani would indulge in. And if anything, in the coming decades, Pakistan will hold true to the secular, humanist vision that her constitution reads.

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