Justice

Malala Is Responding to This Horrible University Massacre

January 21st 2016

By:
Kylie Cheung

Early Wednesday, Malala Yousafzai responded to the terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University in northwest Pakistan, which was led by militants allegedly associated with the Pakistani Taliban.

In October 2012, the 18-year-old Nobel Prize winner herself survived a shooting by the Taliban. The Taliban targeted her due to her activism on behalf of women's education.

In her statement about the most recent attack, Yousafzai condemned the assault and offered her prayers to all victims, their family members, and anyone suffering "as a result of extremist violence."

Yousafzai also called for action to prevent similar acts of violence targeting Pakistani schools.

"This brutality must be stopped," she wrote in the statement. "The authorities must act to ensure that all schools and universities are safe. I urge all people with peace in their hearts to renew their resolve to stand up to terrorism and ignorance and work together to protect life and learning."

"I am heartbroken by the attack on students and staff at the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda and strongly condemn...

Posted by Malala Fund on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yousafzai also pointed out that that Wednesday marked "the 28th anniversary of the death of Abdul Ghaffar Khan," a "freedom fighter" who led Pashtuns (a Muslim ethnic group of Pakistan and Afghanistan) in a peaceful struggle against British rule, praising his non-violent deeds in a time of intolerance.

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has since responded to the attack as well, releasing the following statement:

"Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is deeply grieved over the sad incident of terrorists' attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsada, which has reportedly resulted into the loss of precious human lives and injured many others. While condemning the cowardly attack of the terrorists, the Prime Minister said that those killing innocent students and citizens have no faith and religion."

Militants raided the university during a ceremony, which gathered together students and staff, and it was timed to maximize casualties, CNN reported. The attackers used guns and grenades, killing 22 and injuring many.

Umar Mansoor, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman, said the attack was retaliation for military operations against the group, according to CNN.

The group also organized a large-scale attack on a Pakistani school in Peshawar back in 2014. The Pakistani Taliban killed 145 people — 132 of whom were children — in December of 2014. The shooters at the Peshawar school allegedly yelled "God is great" as they raided an auditorium filled with children. A little over a year later, earlier this month, the school just reopened.

Violence in Pakistan.

As the home base of Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan, or TPP, Pakistan has seen high rates of violence in recent years, from gun violence to bombings, especially where education is concerned. Last weekend, prior to the Wednesday attack, multiple schools in the area were closed on suspicion of planned attacks, Muhammed Amir Rana, the director of the private Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, told the New York Times.

As the New York Times put it, schools are frequent targets of jihadist violence as symbols of "government authority and a modernist view of the future," and also provide unfortunately "easy targets and maximal shock value." Other analysts claim schools have become more targeted since June 2014, when Pakistan's military became more involved in attacking Taliban hideouts along its border with Afghanistan, inspiring the Taliban to attack "softer" targets like schools.