Why Is Malala A Polarizing Figure In Her Country?


Despite being the second Nobel Laureate of Pakistan and the youngest one in the world, Malala Yousafzai is surprisingly subjected to great criticism in her country. The young girl is not just the symbol of courage and bravery, she is also the cultural representation of Pakistan.

Thus when Apple's CEO, Tim Cook inquired about Malala regarding her head covering, she told him that she covers it not only out of her religious obligation but also because she is ‘Pathan’ and it is her cultural requirement. Coming from an idealist like Malala, this statement is quite traditional. However, like always the traditionalists of Pakistan went after her even after this interview and twisted her other statements to match their twisted narratives.


Which statement became the target?

top news in Pakistan.

This statement was pretty normal, as there is already an ongoing debate on marriage and its legalization process has always been in question by great thinkers. However, when Malala was featured voicing her concerns, the orthodox Pakistanis almost lost their mind. Some people, even from the elite celebrity class, lashed out at her and accused her of advocating live-in relationships. They went further enough to assume that Malala has spewed hatred towards religious customs. She was called a Jewish agent, a western puppet, a con artist, and many other hateful terms.

Her words were twisted to so many inappropriate implications that it is fair to say that Malala caused a storm of malign against her!


The fuming rage against Malala was such that it even became the trending topic on Twitter. Under the hashtag, people were saying mean things like, it is better to be useless than to be Malala or that they take pride for never accepting her as a praiseworthy personality.


Were people of her own country seeking an opportunity to pin her down?

Malala was demonized partly because she has been controversial since the get-go or partly because of her recent tweet about the Palestine-Israel situation. Most people accused her of hypocrisy for using the word conflict rather than terrorism for the Israeli army.


Although there was nothing blatantly wrong with her views on marriage, most traditionalist Pakistanis thought she crafted her answer to appease Western sacrilegious ideologies.

According to many, being a representation of Pakistan, she should have refrained from uttering something that goes against her cultural values.

In all honesty, this 23-year-old visionary was asking an abstract question that many young minds wonder about. Yosufzai was neither advocating for live-in or extramarital relationships nor was she explicitly challenging religious values.

Everyone is inherently curious, especially if you have been raised to question authorities or restraints that make barely any sense to you. Having said that, hatred hurled at Malala is due to several other reasons.


Pakistanis do not appreciate the western intervention

First off, conspiratorial thinkers who are in great quantity in Pakistan, have always doubted everything with a Western stamp on it. Although their perception is preposterous to a fair extent, it is reasonably justified as well. The CIA has always played a hypocritical role in the history of Pakistan. There is even a famous book on the subject i.e. 'The Way Of Life' by Mark Mazzetti. As expected this book was a huge hit among an aristocratic circle of Pakistan.


Shady family bonds

Back in 2013, a secret relation of Malala's family with Edelman i.e. a top-notch American public relation firm was disclosed. As a result, conspiracies and suspicions against Malala were considered confirmed by a skeptical lot.


Yousafzai's family is too liberal

Malala's family is also too ideologically modern for their ethnic background. In the heart of the extremely conservative Sawat, Ziauddin (Malala's father) openly revealed his association with the Awami National Party, which was already deemed as an extremely secular and leftist party, even by some of the modernists of the time.


In addition, before being shot, Malala and her father were flagrantly challenging the Taliban's repressive rules and distaste for girls' education.

New York Times

Moreover, severe opposition to Taliban occupation and ideologies was the core theme of the father-daughter duo messages. Furthermore, Malala unwaveringly fought back any criticism raised by the Taliban against women’s education. In hindsight, Malala and her family were standing for basic human rights in the area. However inherent patriarchal upbringing clouded the judgment of many. Furthermore, being backed by Americans only painted Malala in a negative light.



To sum it all up, feeling abomination for Malala might be understandable, but it is certainly not justified, and neither should it be perpetuated.

A lot of the confusion and negativity is due to lack of research and general common sense, therefore it is said ' Little knowledge is always in danger". Get access to all the hot news with Despite being the second Nobel Laureate of Pakistan and the youngest one in the world, Malala Yousafzai is surprisingly subjected to great criticism in her country. The young girl is not just the symbol of courage and bravery, she is also the cultural representation of Pakistan.

Thus when Apple's CEO, Tim Cook inquired about Malala regarding her head covering, she told him that she covers it not only out of her religious obligation but also because she is ‘Pathan’ and it is her cultural requirement. Coming from an idealist like Malala, this statement is quite traditional. However, like always the traditionalists of Pakistan went after her even after this interview and twisted her other statements to match their twisted narratives.


Which statement became the target?

top news in Pakistan.

This statement was pretty normal, as there is already an ongoing debate on marriage and its legalization process has always been in question by great thinkers. However, when Malala was featured voicing her concerns, the orthodox Pakistanis almost lost their mind. Some people, even from the elite celebrity class, lashed out at her and accused her of advocating live-in relationships. They went further enough to assume that Malala has spewed hatred towards religious customs. She was called a Jewish agent, a western puppet, a con artist, and many other hateful terms.

Her words were twisted to so many inappropriate implications that it is fair to say that Malala caused a storm of malign against her!


The fuming rage against Malala was such that it even became the trending topic on Twitter. Under the hashtag, people were saying mean things like, it is better to be useless than to be Malala or that they take pride for never accepting her as a praiseworthy personality.


Were people of her own country seeking an opportunity to pin her down?

Malala was demonized partly because she has been controversial since the get-go or partly because of her recent tweet about the Palestine-Israel situation. Most people accused her of hypocrisy for using the word conflict rather than terrorism for the Israeli army.


Although there was nothing blatantly wrong with her views on marriage, most traditionalist Pakistanis thought she crafted her answer to appease Western sacrilegious ideologies.

According to many, being a representation of Pakistan, she should have refrained from uttering something that goes against her cultural values.

In all honesty, this 23-year-old visionary was asking an abstract question that many young minds wonder about. Yosufzai was neither advocating for live-in or extramarital relationships nor was she explicitly challenging religious values.

Everyone is inherently curious, especially if you have been raised to question authorities or restraints that make barely any sense to you. Having said that, hatred hurled at Malala is due to several other reasons.


Pakistanis do not appreciate the western intervention

First off, conspiratorial thinkers who are in great quantity in Pakistan, have always doubted everything with a Western stamp on it. Although their perception is preposterous to a fair extent, it is reasonably justified as well. The CIA has always played a hypocritical role in the history of Pakistan. There is even a famous book on the subject i.e. 'The Way Of Life' by Mark Mazzetti. As expected this book was a huge hit among an aristocratic circle of Pakistan.


Shady family bonds

Back in 2013, a secret relation of Malala's family with Edelman i.e. a top-notch American public relation firm was disclosed. As a result, conspiracies and suspicions against Malala were considered confirmed by a skeptical lot.


Yousafzai's family is too liberal

Malala's family is also too ideologically modern for their ethnic background. In the heart of the extremely conservative Sawat, Ziauddin (Malala's father) openly revealed his association with the Awami National Party, which was already deemed as an extremely secular and leftist party, even by some of the modernists of the time.


In addition, before being shot, Malala and her father were flagrantly challenging the Taliban's repressive rules and distaste for girls' education.

New York Times

Moreover, severe opposition to Taliban occupation and ideologies was the core theme of the father-daughter duo messages. Furthermore, Malala unwaveringly fought back any criticism raised by the Taliban against women’s education. In hindsight, Malala and her family were standing for basic human rights in the area. However inherent patriarchal upbringing clouded the judgment of many. Furthermore, being backed by Americans only painted Malala in a negative light.


To sum it all up, feeling abomination for Malala might be understandable, but it is certainly not justified, and neither should it be perpetuated.

A lot of the confusion and negativity is due to lack of research and general common sense, therefore it is said ' Little knowledge is always in danger". Get access to all the hot news with Pakistan observer newspaper

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