ISLAMABAD / KARACHI / WASHINGTON: Several political leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, condemned the Taliban attack on National Peace Award winner Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday.
Malala, who has been honoured by the government with the National Peace Award, was injured along with two other girls when Taliban gunmen shot her while she was on her way home from school. The Taliban said that she was targeted for being “pro-West” and will be targeted again if she survives.
President Zardari, while expressing concerns about Malala’s well-being, directed the concerned authorities to provide best possible medical assistance to the injured girls. He added that the terrorists would never be able to shake the resolve of the nation through such dastardly acts and the nation will continue to fight against militants till its logical conclusion.
The prime minister condemned the incident and assured that the government will bear all medical expenses. He further directed the hospital authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured. He also telephoned Malala’s father to express concern over the attack.
PM Ashraf also directed senior minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to rush to Peshawar to convey the feelings of the president, PM, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari.
Bilawal, in a statement, condemned the attack on Malala and said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was an enemy of Pakistan, Islam and humanity. He called for those living in denial to wake up and stand united against the internal threats faced by Pakistan.
Terming the attack an act of a “sick mindset”, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who had given Malala the peace award, said that such acts of terrorism were a reflection of barbarity, devoid of humanity and Islamic teachings.
The MQM chief termed the incident “blatant terrorism” and called for the perpetrators behind the act to be brought to justice. He appealed to the president, prime minister and Interior Minister Rehman Malik to take serious notice of the attack and take action against those involved.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) also issued a statement condemning the attack and terming it a “cowardice step”. The statement said that Malala kept receiving death threats but the government did not take any step to ensure her safety.
The party called for best medical assistance to the injured and demanded that the law enforcement agencies take strict action against those involved in this act.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as well as Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) have also condemned the attack.
US State Department
The US State Department, condemning the incident, said that directing violence at children was an inconceivable act of barbarism and cowardice.
In a statement sent to The Express Tribune, State Department Spokesperson Laura Lucas said, “Our hearts go out to her and the others who were wounded, as well as their families.”