MINGORA: Ten militants involved in the 2012 near-fatal attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai were jailed for 25 years each by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Swat on Thursday. ATC Mingora Judge Muhammad Amin Kondi sentenced all the militants to life imprisonment for planning and shooting the teenage education activist in an attack that had triggered a global outcry.
The convicted militants – identified as Zafar Iqbal, Adnan, Salman, Irfan, Hazrat Bilal, Izhar, Zafar Ali, Shaukat Ali, Ikram and Israr Rehman – were arrested in September last year during raids in the Nawakaley, Ningolai and Fizagat areas of Swat.
The militants admitted TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah had masterminded the attack on Malala, which also left her two friends, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, injured, according to the military.
Malala’s lawyer has been barred from talking to the media because of security reasons. However, the verdict drew appreciation from civil society and peace activists, who called for more such ruling for the elimination of terrorism in the country. Gul-e-Khandana, a women rights activist, said she was happy the militants have been sentenced to life in jail. “It is high time all terrorists were punished strictly,” she told The Express Tribune.
Abdullah, a young peace activist in Mingora, said the people of Swat, the hometown of Malala, had been waiting for this verdict. “Not only in the Malala case but all the terrorists arrested during the Swat operation should also be punished,” he demanded.
The education activist, then 15, was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she headed home in her school van on October 9, 2012. The TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack, calling Malala an ‘agent of Jews’ and her activities ‘anti-Islam’.
Malala now lives with her self-exiled family in Britain, where she was sent for treatment after the attack. She has continued her schooling and also won several awards for her brave stance against the Taliban and for the cause of girls education. Last year, she received the Nobel Peace Prize alongside India’s Kailash Satyarthi for risking their lives to fight for children’s rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.