Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Peshawar on Wednesday to oversee the treatment being given to Malala Yousafzai and to meet her family.
According to an ISPR press statement, the COAS strongly condemned ‘this heinous act of terrorism.’
“The cowards who attacked Malala and her fellow students have shown time and again how little regard they have for human life and how low they can fall in their cruel ambition to impose their twisted ideology,” he said.
“This is not the first time they have targeted children. The attack on Parade Lane, Rawalpindi is a painful reminder of their bloodlust. They have no respect even for the golden words of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that ‘one who is not kind to children, is not amongst us,’” the army chief said.
“In attacking Malala, the terrorists have failed to grasp that she is not only an individual, but an icon of courage and hope who vindicates the great sacrifices that the people of Swat and the nation gave, for wresting the valley from the scourge of terrorism. She has become a symbol for the values that the Army, with the nation behind it, is fighting to preserve for our future generations,” the army chief added.
EU speaks out
In a statement issued by the European Union (EU) mission in Islamabad, the 27-nation bloc termed the attack an “assault on basic human values and against all human rights defenders in Pakistan.”
It added that High Representative of EU Catherine Ashton was “appalled to learn that Malala Yousafzai was attacked by extremists for advocating girls’ rights to education in Swat.”
“Malala’s bravery in one so young and the principled stand she has taken are a source of admiration for all of us,” she said.
Meanwhile, Britian’s Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi also condemned the attack.
“I utterly condemn the cowardly attack on Malala Yousufzai and her school friends in Swat. Through her inspirational activism, Malala has bravely highlighted the need for education to be accessible to all children in Pakistan,” Warsi said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintained Malala was attacked by extremists who do not want girls to have an education or speak for themselves. “The attackers don’t want girls to become leaders, and are threatened by that kind of empowerment.
(With additional input from our correspondents in Islamabad and washington)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.