Malala Yousufzai has recently been named the seventh most admired individual in the world by a UK based website after conducting an online survey which involved 37,000 people from 35 countries. The youngest Nobel laureate came back to Pakistan last month. She is revered all over the world for what she has done for girls’ education, she is considered a role model for young girls all over the world, her opinions and work are appreciated by the world community as she is known as an icon of struggle for girls’ right to education. But despite the respect and admiration she received from the world especially the people and governments of western countries, public opinion in Malala’s home country is deeply antagonistic and skeptical about her.
Vast majority of Pakistani people have negative views about her. After her arrival in Pakistan last month the social media was inundated by hateful posts and vile comments by her compatriots. Malala haters gave her titles of hate, ranging from the overused yet feared title of traitor to somewhat sophisticated ones. Haters called her a puppet of the West being utilised to destroy Pakistan’s image by portraying it a country where girls are deprived of education. Haters called her fake, a person with no ideas or philosophy of her own. Below is a list of types of haters who hate a girl who is actually a source of admiration for millions of people around the world.
The conspiracy theorists
Conspiracy theorists, and Pakistan has too many of them, are the most prominent group of Malala haters. They believe that Malala is a character being imposed by the West, especially the US, to portray Pakistan as a society where women are oppressed and deprived of their rights. These theorists also allege that Malala is being supported by the Christian missionaries and the Jewish lobby to malign Islam. For these conspiracy theorists Malala is a puppet at best and a traitor at worse being portrayed by the media as an icon of struggle. Conspiracy theorists, who are in no short supply in Pakistan, are busy tweeting tweets, writing columns, and doing TV programmes in order to unearth conspiracies being hatched and thwart the plans being contrived by Pakistan’s enemies.
The Taliban sympathisers
Taliban sympathisers are the people who idealise Taliban ideology, they have little reason to admire Malala Yusufzai, because a girl who stands for girls’ education, gender equality and peace and the people who support Taliban’s obscurantist, totalitarian and oppressive agenda are poles apart. Malala’s stand and struggle hurts Taliban supporters because it exposes the hideous nature of their movement. Taliban want of a society where they could impose a system that would reduce women to a state of absolute dependency, ignorance and deprivation and Malala a frail and lonely girl, stood in their way, exposing them and fighting against their obscurantism with the only weapon of her indomitable courage.
The pious radicals (the religious fundamentalists)
The pious self-righteous class of Pakistan hates her for the false and flimsy arguments that are very similar to those forwarded by ill-informed and cynical conspiracy theorists. These are the religious fundamentalists (not necessarily Taliban supporters ) who believe that Malala has done something very un-Islamic by exposing the atrocities committed by Taliban in Swat (her ancestral town). The pious of the land of the pure (Pakistan) relying on their medieval prejudices, hate her because she expresses her admiration for former American president Obama, a non Muslim, she shakes hands and receives rewards from infidels and she talks of gender equality which is un-Islamic according to them.
The overzealous, trend- following patriots
This is a group of people in Pakistan who take it as a duty to oppose someone who is being criticised or opposed by the pious class or the conspiracy theorists. An average Pakistani patriot who is usually a firm believer in federalism and a staunch advocate of Islam as a state religion is always suspicious of anything said that in their opinion tarnishes the image of the country. Pakistani patriots believe that Malala Yusufzai has tarnished the image of the country by speaking about lack of opportunities for girls; oppression of women and atrocities of Taliban, saying such things is nothing short of treason for Pakistan’s traditional patriots. For the overzealous patriots of Pakistan it is an essential duty of every Pakistani to believe that there is no oppression of women in Pakistan, minorities are safe, and terrorists cannot be Muslims. The overzealous patriots (not all patriots only the overzealous ones who are actually simple minded trend followers) hate Malala because she speaks about the things that a true patriot shouldn’t speak about, and like the NGOs she gets money from the western countries to spread obscenity and shamelessness in the country (as told by the pious and the conspiracy theorists).
Pakistan’s misogynists are those people who believe that women are weak and dimwitted creatures that need to follow traditions because these traditions protect them from their own frailty and foolishness. For a Pakistani misogynist the only good woman is the invisible one, this means that a good woman is the one who is covered in an all enveloping burqa and who always stays at home to serve men. As staunch supporters of gender segregation Pakistani misogynists who claim to be so respectful to women that they don’t even want to look at the faces of women, hold that Malala is a rebel who has challenged traditional roles of women in Pakistani society. She is undermining the respect of Pakistani women by meeting with world leaders, celebrities and philanthropists without wearing any burqa and shaking hands with them. Despite dressing modestly she has disgraced the honorable purdah observing Pakistani Muslim women by stepping out of her home.
The insecure underachievers
This is a group of Malala haters who are actually a bunch self-conscious, overambitious under achievers who want to be rich, famous and successful like Malala but they don’t want to work hard (and take risks for a noble cause) and they don’t have the ability to do something good for the society. They compare Malala with other people like Arfa Karim Randhava and Aitzaz Hasan (the brave teenage boy who sacrificed his life to save his schoolfellows from a suicide attack) trying in vain to belittle her and prove her achievements insignificant. These insecure underachievers keep asking what Malala has done for the country without ever thinking about their own contributions to society. They keep complaining about her purported silence on massacre of Muslims in Burma and carnage in Syria but don’t bother to know about the remarkable humanitarian work she has done through her Malala Fund.
The private schools federation
This seems outlandish and bizarre but it is certainly true, Pakistan’s private schools federation despise Malala. The federation observed “I am not Malala Day" on March 30, 2018, and it also condemned her arrival in Pakistan and declared its opposition to the ideals Malala stands for. One Kashif mirza who heads all Pakistan private schools federation announced to celebrate a black day to mourn the arrival of the youngest Nobel Prize winner by asking the teachers to wear black bands on their arms. Private schools in Pakistan are known to be institutions that have turned education into a commodity and exploitation of teachers, parents and students are the techniques employed by them to amass mammoth sums of profit. The federation of Pakistan’s private schools has acted like a business cartel of vested interests that like the hated Taliban attacked Malala for the crime of speaking for every child’s right to education. The business cartel treats education as a commodity available for those only who could afford to pay for it while Malala speaks for education as a fundamental right of all.