SWAT - The attack on teenage peace icon Malala Yousafzai drew ire as people took to the streets on Wednesday to vent their rage over the onslaught claimed by the Taliban.
“Private schools in Swat remain closed in protest to show solidarity with Malala,” said Ahmed Shah, the chairman of an association of private schools.
The Awami National Party (ANP) and the non-governmental organisations, advocating for education, led rallies for Malala.
The protesters chanted slogans condemning terrorism and demanding a swoop on the terrorists.
ANP Information Sectary Abdullah led a demonstration to show solidarity with the peace icon. Addressing the protesters, ANP leader Fazal Mabood Babu said his party-led provincial government wanted peace in the province. Babu demanded bringing the culprits to justice.
Swat Qaumi Aman Jirga President Mukhtiar Yousafzai led other elders’ to a demonstration for Malala. The jirga condemned the incident and demand stern punishment for culprits who stoop to impose their twisted ideology.
Later, Mukhtiar Yousafzai told the media that this was the third targeted attack of its kind.
“A few months ago, Muzaffar Ali Khan was killed by unidentified gunmen. Last month, Swat Hotel Association President Al Haj Zahid Khan was targeted. No killer has been brought to justice so far,” he regretted, calling for stepping up efforts to bring a halt to such incidents. The jirga gave the call of a peaceful demonstration on Saturday in this connection.
The NGOs, including Optimistic Youth Network, Swat Energy Youth Society and GOHYS, rallied for Malala. Bilawal Khan, from Innovative Youth Forum, said: “We demand security for schoolchildren, especially girls.”
Flags in front of the Mingora Government Headquarters were at half-mast, and police officers stood guard outside the Malala family home. Meanwhile, the lawmen took several people, including Malala’s school guard and bus driver, into custody for probe. The protests were also staged in other cities of the county, including Peshawar, Islamabad and Multan.