My dear Malala, I have been meaning to write something for you since you were attacked and have decided the best thing is to just write to you instead. What has happened to you is indeed horrific. I pray daily that you survive your terrible wounds and live. If God forbid you die, so much of what’s good in Pakistan shall die with you. As I write to you, my tears keep pouring from a very heavy heart. I, for one, shall never let anyone forget you in this country that I believe has let you down so very badly.
As I have personally been involved in the Swat cause for the last four years and know how important it has been to the young girls there to acquire an education for a better life, your contribution has been absolutely tremendous. You and I have never met but I love you dearly Malala, because to me, you are just a beautiful child of 14, attacked by evil cowards, who felt you needed to be punished for being brave and compassionate — qualities that they obviously do not possess or understand.
There is no way one can justify such sinful acts and still, we continue to sit and watch people hurt our women and children every day in this supposedly Muslim country of ours. What a real shame it is that they have hurt you just because you wanted to help your sisters educate themselves. They obviously do not understand that unless you are educated and know how to read and write, you cannot even read the Holy Quran that Allah has sent down for us to learn a true way of life from. Do they not realise that your mission was one of God’s, as He wants the female child to be able to read, write and seek the knowledge that He has sent down for everyone in the form of His Book. By attacking you, they have attacked the true meaning of our religion and must be punished on both counts.
I wish there was so much more I could do for you. This letter seems so small compared with what you have done for Pakistan. Please remember that in the immediate term, things tend to seem very difficult and sometimes pointless, but in the greater sense and over time, you have achieved what no one else has been able to achieve for us to date. You have finally made people sit up and say ‘enough is enough’. You have made presidents, generals, scholars, clerics and civil society at large, collectively accept that your mission has been a great one. This acceptance is now hopefully going to encourage many to ensure that their daughters are educated and strong. Your cause is now also a global one as the world is looking at the Pakistani female child in a different light. It is this new light that shall enlighten us all, protect our children and give them a better future for they deserve something so much better.
I pray that the injustice done to you shall be corrected at once and the criminals who have hurt you are punished publicly. Keeping past cases such as that of Shabana from Swat in view, unfortunately, justice seems to be a myth in our state. Just remember, regardless of what happens in this life, there is a greater court we shall all face one day. In God’s court, you shall stand tall and many shall have to bow before you.
Bless you, for you have made my belief in humanity stronger and remember, I love you Malala!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012.