Darr mat, Malala bann: ‘We have been held hostage far too long’

Published: October 15, 2012
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Dozens of people woke up early Sunday morning and headed to the Two Swords roundabout to show their support for Malala Yousafzai, Shazia and Kainat, who were attacked by the Taliban. They shouted slogans against extremists as well as militant groups. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Dozens of people woke up early Sunday morning and headed to the Two Swords roundabout to show their support for Malala Yousafzai, Shazia and Kainat, who were attacked by the Taliban. They shouted slogans against extremists as well as militant groups. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Dozens of people woke up early Sunday morning and headed to the Two Swords roundabout to show their support for Malala Yousafzai, Shazia and Kainat, who were attacked by the Taliban. They shouted slogans against extremists as well as militant groups. PHOTO: EXPRESS Dozens of people woke up early Sunday morning and headed to the Two Swords roundabout to show their support for Malala Yousafzai, Shazia and Kainat, who were attacked by the Taliban. They shouted slogans against extremists as well as militant groups. PHOTO: EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

There is a new saying in Karachi: Yar darr mat, Malala bann (Don’t be scared, be a Malala).

And to match these words was an expression of action on Sunday morning when angered people like Dr Samiah Ahsan and her husband Zia Akhtar flooded the Two Swords roundabout with their blue and white posters saying that they stood behind Malala, Shazia and Kainat, three young women who were attacked in Swat by the Taliban.

This was just one of the many small protests and demonstrations that have been popping up across Karachi to condemn the attack on Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old blogger for the BBC whose diary in 2009 chronicled the destruction of girls schools at the hands of extremists.

At first just a handful of people came to walk around the marble monument, with music blaring over speakers to boost morale. When asked if she thought people would show up on a Sunday at 10 am, Dr Ahsan told The Express Tribune that, “People are angry enough now”. This was not only about Malala, but about reclaiming this country.

“We are sick of these mullahs, Taliban etc. Every religion should be allowed to flourish,” she said, referring to the slow creep of extremism. “We want Jinnah’s Pakistan back. It’s time to get out and send a message across.” She felt that demonstrations like this have to keep on going and she hoped that they were replicated in every city and village in the country.

Pakistan has faced a particularly virulent and sustained attack on its minorities and anti-Taliban proponents this year. Generally, civil society’s reaction has not been vehement enough to stem the tide of radicalism which is often at an advantage because of its indiscriminate use of violence.

However, it appears that the attack on Malala has begun to change that. Aside from condemnations from political and social circles, jirgas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have declared war against the Taliban in their shock that a teenager would be shot. “We have been held hostage way too long. Enough is enough, we cannot just keep sitting,” Ahsan said. “We need to drive [those] people out.”

She was joined by several doctors from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, including orthopaedics surgeon Dr AR Jamali, emergency ward chief Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director Dr Tasnim Ahsan and gynaecologist Dr Azra Ahsan. Two buses rolled up to the roundabout and students from JPMC poured out.

Dr Seemin Jamali said that it didn’t take much convincing for people to show up as everyone wanted to help. “We condemn the attack, and Jinnah hospital is willing to help in any way possible for Malala’s treatment,” she said.

An 80-year-old Nusrat Ara Rizvi was spotted in the crowd, wearing a light sari and sitting on a chair. She was 15 years old when Pakistan was born. She still remembers the slogans, ‘Kat ke lainge Pakistan, mar ke lainge Pakistan’. “Once again the country is going through the same turmoil and once again we have to take it back from the people who have eaten and broken our country,” she said. “I was willing to give up everything for it then and am willing to do the same now.” Despondancy is sin.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • ignorantways
    Oct 15, 2012 - 9:57AM

    Yar darr mat, Malala bann (Don’t be scared, be a Malala).

    can patriotic elite class of Pakistan can say the above phrase ??

    how many writers and bloggers are here on the ET / for ET who belong to poor or lower middle class of Pakistan ??

    below poverty line i shouldn’t included. and my words have direct connection with above article .Recommend

  • Prof.Imtiaz Shaikh
    Oct 15, 2012 - 12:03PM

    Brother I’m here and I belong to poor or lower middle class of Pakistan…

    Recommend

  • Ansar Iqbal
    Oct 15, 2012 - 2:34PM

    malala is the most precious assets of the country. we proud on malala and pray for malala.

    Recommend

  • samiah ahsan
    Oct 15, 2012 - 2:36PM

    @Ignorant ways: please do something practical instead of just criticizing. That is what the country needs at this point.

    Recommend

  • Enlightened
    Oct 15, 2012 - 2:58PM

    This slogan should be adopted by whole of Pakistan who want to get rid of this cancer called Taleban.

    Recommend

  • Jihad Bil-Qalam
    Oct 15, 2012 - 6:03PM

    @ignorantways:
    I was born and raised in a Karachi slum. I fully resonate with the proposed phrase “Darr mat, Malala bunn” and hate Taliban and AlQaeda to my core. I recognize and despise their supporters among the politicians and anchors.

    Recommend

  • The Great Game
    Oct 15, 2012 - 7:12PM

    The new planed drama….to make the people fool….occupying Fata after destroying peaceful Swat valley….. Who is who and what is what the time will decide soon. Fake propaganda, fake wars and conflict, using media, women and now children…..for grounding own agendas and future demolition.

    Recommend

  • ignorantways
    Oct 15, 2012 - 11:00PM

    @samiah ahsan:

    Muslimah . . . Criticizing is passion or say habit of ET not mine

    lets take an example, Zia regime is too old now 24 years gone, but bashing and blaming yet on the way of increasing . . .PPP’s 3 regimes . . musharaf regime . . . why not yet get rid of islamists , extremists ??

    at this point very common phrase , excessive use with constant tone . . . but all in vain.

    Recommend

  • ignorantways
    Oct 15, 2012 - 11:04PM

    @Jihad Bil-Qalam:

    great work done . . no one can deny . . yes Jihad Bil-Qalam !

    but before ET’s invention was there any Jihad Bil-Qalam ??

    Recommend

  • Sultan
    Oct 16, 2012 - 7:58PM

    If Imran says something stupid and completely unnecessary aginst the savages we have raised over the past 30 years just to join the Mallala Brownie Points Challenge and gets killed, the Express Tribune headline will be: “Imran the Idiot Gets Himself Killed.” Or “Taleban KIll Taleban Khan” or some such fantastic excrement. All reflexive hatemongers, retired communist op-ed writers will bathe in the light of self-adoring glory and from Khyber to Karachi, a frenzy of patting each others on the back will ensue amongst our dumb, mean, vicious media! Congratulatory SMSs will jam the networks and profiteering from a war economy will continue by the bloodsuckers.

    All of this hate has only one common root: the spoilt, money-wallahs don’t want to pay any taxes, period–the rest is pure drama by IDL (Imran Defamation League).

    We are a a nation full of “patriots” who will do “anything” for their motherland, but not pay taxes. Full speed ahead Imran, we are all with you to make them pay their fair share!

    Recommend

  • GS@Y
    Oct 16, 2012 - 11:39PM

    It’s called Dau Talwar, not TWO SWORDS! Gawd!

    Recommend

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