Islamabad: After Malala, now Hina Khan on TTP’s hit list
ISLAMABAD: The Taliban’s newest threat to yet another schoolgirl, Hina Khan, who had fled Swat and moved to Islamabad in her quest for education, has belied the stance of the Tehrik-e–Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that Malala Yousafzai was targeted for violating Islamic Shariah and not for championing the cause of girls’ education. Just like Malala, Hina was also known for her pro-education and female rights activism in the Swat Valley when Mullah Fazlullah had restricted girls from attending their school in 2009.The daughter of an Awami National Party (ANP) leader from Swat who now lives in Islamabad, Hina Khan has invited the wrath of the Taliban for the same cause that prompted Mullah Fazlullah to dispatch his hit men to Swat to target Malala.
Following some recent death threats, Hina Khan, who had criticised the Taliban at a press conference in Islamabad for opposing the female education, has just found a red “X” painted on the main gate of her Islamabad residence. Her father also received a phone call the following day from Peshawar that warned that Hina was the next target after Malala. Therefore, Hina feels extremely insecure in the federal capital, which is less than a hundred miles from Swat.
Reyatullah Khan, the father of Hina, who runs an NGO, has already approached the inspector general of Islamabad Police, seeking security arrangements at his residence, especially after the threat. However, he says the government has not yet offered any protection to his family.
In fact, Ziauddin, the father of Malala, is also an associate of the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy (AIRRA), an Islamabad-based think tank being run by Reyatullah Khan, the father of Hina. AIRRA is a non-profit organisation meant to carry out scientific and rational studies for policy recommendations to South and Central Asian countries.
There are people in NGO circles who believe that the growing activities of the Norwegian-funded AIRRA in Peshawar could have infuriated the Taliban to threaten Reyatullah by painting an “X” on the main gate of his residence. Besides its Islamabad head office, the AIRRA also has an office in Peshawar.
Hina’s mother, Farhat, who is also a vocal supporter of women’s rights, is concerned that her daughter might not be able to complete her education in Islamabad either.
But Hina Khan, who fled to the federal capital with her parents and four younger siblings so that they could continue their school education, wants to complete her studies and become a doctor.
The latest threat from the Taliban has, however, clearly indicated that they are consistent in their opposition to the female education and will continue targeting all the brave girls from Swat who want to excel in the field of education.
In fact, Malala had turned against the Taliban while she was only 11 and Fazlullah-led militants had banned the female education in Swat. The shutting down of her school because of threats from the Taliban had actually prompted her to campaign against the burning of the girls’ schools along with her father, who is also an educator besides being a member of an anti–Taliban peace jirga in Swat.
Even after the ouster of Fazlullah and his men from Swat following a military operation in 2009, Malala continued her pro-female education campaign before being shot in the head by the opponents of the girls’ education.
The Malala attackers belonged to the Fazlullah faction of the Swati Taliban who wanted to silence her brave voice, which had defied their leader’s edict against girls’ education that was completely banned in Swat in 2007.
But two days after claiming responsibility for targeting Malala, central TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan issued yet another statement, titled “important clarification”. While trying to justify the assassination bid on Malala, Ehsanullah Ehsan stated that the Pakistani media was trying to distort facts by giving an impression that the girl from Swat was targeted because she wanted to get education.
“The Tehrik Taliban Pakistan is not opposed to the female education but it is against the co-education system and the secular teachings which clearly violate the Islamic Shariah. The TTP successfully targeted Malala Yousafzai in Mingora, although she was young and a girl and the TTP leadership does not believe in targeting women. But whoever campaigns against Islam is ordered to be killed as per Islamic Shariah. If anyone thinks that Malala was targeted due to her quest for education, that is absolutely wrong and stinking media propaganda. Malala was targeted because of her lead role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. Whoever does the same in future will be targeted by the TTP,” Ehsanullah Ehsan had added.