So much has already been written and aired about the horrifying attack on Malala Yousafzai - the schoolgirl who dared, in the face of Taliban, to speak out for female education in her native Swat Valley and for peace for all of us - that you may wonder why you are reading about her again…....which is exactly the point being made!

In common with everything else of prime importance, you, the collective population of Pakistan, having read as much as you want to read and seen as much as you want to see on your television screens about this incredibly courageous young lady will, true to current character, have long since moved on to matters perceived as being of more importance to you and yours: matters like purchasing new clothes for an upcoming shadi, deciding which new phone best suits your needs or which fast food joint to visit for dinner and other, to you, more important milestones in life - milestones far more deserving of your precious attention than the bare truth that this country is at war.

Yes - stop reading right here as you always do when faced with the harsh realities of life in this, the shambolic country which dares to call itself ‘the land of the pure’. Hide in your cocoon of self-righteous and self-imposed ignorance and, when ‘they’ come for you, as they eventually will unless massive societal change happens first, there will be no need to act surprised as, in your wanton blindness, you will be as surprised as hell and hell is exactly what you will get and, furthermore, you will deserve it!

The writing has been on the wall, in huge and lurid capital letters, for a very long time now and yet, after each and every ‘incident’ and these are far too numerous and varied to list here, maybe you react and maybe you don’t and then you sweep the latest broken lives under the nearest carpet along with everything else you, in your selfishness, prefer to pretend did not happen - and will not happen ever again - which is so sick that the writer does not have enough printable words at her disposal to articulate the fathomless depths of absolute disgust and anger that have surged to the fore.

Pointing a collective finger at the so-called Taliban, a fleeting gesture by those who have the guts to make it, is not, and never has been, the way to go. The person to blame is standing right there in front of you when you look in the mirror. It is you, all of you, who are to blame for all of the ills this nation repeatedly endures. And yes, your silence pulled the trigger that fired those bullets into Malala and do not even attempt to deny it. You are all guilty as charged!

What on earth happened to the once upstanding people of Pakistan? When did they bow down to a life lived on a debased level of self-destruction? When did the nation surrender: surrender to whom and why?

The evil ‘god’ of money is definitely a major player in the modern, extremely convoluted, ‘great game’ in which the number of participants is legion and, don’t overlook this fact, you yourself are right there on the board and, furthermore, you probably don’t even know it as, let’s also not overlook this one either - ignorance is ‘bliss’!

With lives laid on the twin altars of monetary greed and rabid consumerism, man, women and children too for that matter, appears to exist solely in the vacuum of ‘self’ and has long since lost, or has never known, any sense of community or social cooperation and, in conjunction with this unsustainable development, increasingly ‘survives’ in a violent world of ‘kill or be killed’ with, obviously, winner taking all.

This isolationism, combined with an ‘I’m alright’ attitude, has insulated its victims from dangerous realities they prefer not to comprehend: they vaguely know that the country is being riven apart from one end to the other, but - they still chose not to see - and will not do so until whatever monster it happens to be, barges in through their own front door irrespective of whether they are related or not!

Waiting for someone to do something about something or other is, especially when government’s are concerned, akin to lying down in front of a rampaging tank and ‘blissfully’ expecting it to slither to halt before smashing you to smithereens in its tracks and will, unless you have suicidal tendencies, not achieve the desired result. As has been stressed in this column before, the power for change lies in the hands of the people - not in the hands of the few so stealthily manipulating their strings and that it is, therefore, up to the people themselves to instigate peaceful change and to collectively work towards this end: an end result that Pakistan will not, as a nation, live to see unless greed and isolationism are replaced by harmonious, communal existence. Only when the latter comes to be will the women and daughters, and the Malala Yousafzais among them, be able to walk proud and free and in peace.

The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban. Email: zahrahnasir@hotmail.com