On Saturday, October 3rd, the India Today TV channel telecast an interview with the Pakistani 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who said, “My dream is to help children get an education” — which has always been her signature issue — and that, because the existing leadership of her country is not committed to this goal, she intends to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister.
Here is how that fact came out: She was asked if, like Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, she would want to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and she responded directly, “Hopefully, if people vote [for me]. But my dream is to help children get education.”
At the opening of the interview, she made clear that her near-term objective is the battle against the Taliban, for Pakistanis to win education-rights for females as well as for males. She is, after all, still only 18 years old. She said, “There are more ways to bring change,” than to do it as Prime Minister. She implied that Pakistan’s Army especially needs to become fully dedicated to wiping out the Sunni (Saudi-Islamic-led) fanatics who are blocking the education of girls. She said regarding the Army, “Why are they silent if terrorism is happening in Swat valley?” (where she had lived and was shot, at the age of 15, by Sunni fanatics, Taliban, on 9 October 2012, for championing the education of girls). “Why are they silent if girls are denied education or women are flogged in the streets?” Her implication was that the Pakistani Army is not fully controlled by the Prime Minister, and that Pakistan’s military institution needs to change, too, because they must be pushed to wipe out the Taliban and other Sunni fanatics, who terrorize against women’s rights.
She went on to say that peace between Pakistan and India is vitally important: “I am very surprised and happy that people in India love me a lot. … People stand with me knowing that I am doing a good work. This is what is good about India and I would love to visit India. I would love to see Delhi, Mumbai and other places.”
Malala (as she is commonly known) made clear that religious differences (India being mainly Hindu, whereas Pakistan is mainly Muslim) are not what is important, but that instead peace and cooperation in order to advance on women’s issues and on all others, is what she is concerned about.
Malala’s having been shot for promoting the cause of girls and women in Pakistan led not only to her winning the Nobel but also to the Pakistani Army’s renewed military operations to wipe out the Islamic jihadists in the Swat Valley. However, there are many elelments in the Army that are unwilling to do this, and that are more concerned to take over the Kashmir border area in India — to carry out the religious war there against Hindus. This is why her statement against religious war is particularly significant.
Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is a Pakistani aristocrat whose family (which had been leaders in the Swat Valley in Northern Waziristan as far back as the 1500s) had pressed for independence from the British Empire, and fought for progressive change in Pakistan ever since independence from Britain was won in 1947. Ziauddin founded and runs a chain of girls schools, and he told an audience in Toronto in 2014: “Education is the only way for the emancipation of women. It is not simply for girls. It is not simply the learning of a few language skills, or the learning of some skills for their professional life, but in reality, it is a way to their freedom. It’s a way to their independence. It’s a way to their individual integrity. And it’s a way to their life as a human being.”
Ziauddin is the United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education, and also the educational attaché to the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham, UK. Within Pakistan, he represents the most progressive side of Pakistan’s aristocracy, even though his family have, for centuries, been leaders in the most conservative part of Pakistan. The Taliban and other Sunni extremists have therefore long threatened his family.
Recently, even the pro-American BBC, headlining “Who Are the Taliban?” acknowledged that, “It is commonly believed that they first appeared in religious seminaries — mostly paid for by money from Saudi Arabia — which preached a hard line form of Sunni Islam.” Furthermore, the bookkeeper for Al Qaeda when Osama bin Laden ran it, has said under oath in a U.S. court proceeding, that almost all of Al Qaeda’s money came from multi-million-dollar donations by members of the Saudi royal family: “Without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing.” So: the Yousafzai family are basically up against Saudi royalty and their local Pakistani retainers, and the mass of followers (such as the gang that tried to kill Malala) of those local retainers. The same people who paid — and paid handsomely — the 9/11 terrorists, paid for the Taliban, and for ISIS, etc., all of whom can be considered to be, in the final analysis, Saudi-paid mercenaries, who just happen to be also true-believing fundamentalist Sunnis. (The U.S. aristocracy is allied with the Sauds, to force the overthrow of the leaders of Russia and its allied nations, especially Syria and Iran. The U.S. aristocracy already installed an anti-Russian government in Kiev in 2014, so that Ukraine is already taken care of. Still earlier, Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in Libya.)
Malala has good reason to be afraid, but her courage has always dominated her character. And now, all the world knows what she wants, and whose interests she threatens. She will need good bodyguards, but more than that.
Here are key excerpts from the video of the interview, where the question of Malala’s political aspirations was raised:
[10:00] [Interviewer] In the book [by Malala] you said that you wanted to be a doctor first, now you want to be a politician. … [11:57] In all this work that you are doing. One day you are with the Massai tribesmen, one day you are in the city, … [15:20] [Malala] I have this sense of reponsibility, that I have to do something for my society, and … you often need to stand up … [20:20] peace between the two countries, this is what we really want. … [21:00] [Interviewer] Like Benazir Bhutto, you want to be the President of Pakistan? [Malala] Hopefully, if people vote [for me]. My dream is to help children get education.
Earlier, at a BBC interview right before her acceptance speech for her Nobel Peace Prize, on 10 December 2014, she said of the possibility of her some day becoming Pakistan’s Prime Minister, “It’s a hope, and if I can serve my country best through becoming Prime Minister, then I definitly would choose that.”
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.