On 9th October 2012, a young girl Malala Yousafzai from Swat was attacked along with two other girls when they were going back to their homes, after attending their school in Swat valley. Immediately, TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) claimed responsibility for this attack. After the incident, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaque Pervez Kayani reacted to this attack in an unusual manner. Just after the attack, he went straight to visit injured Malala and said, “We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight regardless of the cost.”
He hurriedly called the meeting of the military leadership, discussed this incident and the need for operations in North Waziristan. Then Kayani met the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, in order to take him on board as well. In the mean time the electronic and print media made this incident a headline story and gave very extensive coverage, to an extent that no other news got enough space to even appear as headline news. The government and its allied parties made a hue and cry and called for an immediate North Waziristan operation. All over the country, members of civil society and NGO’s started demonstrations and streets were filled with banners praising Malala and condemning the attackers.
In the first two days after the attack, the atmosphere was as if every person in the country wanted an operation in North Waziristan. But as America intervened, with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton showed their solidarity with Malala, people started to raise questions regarding this attack and the demand for the North Waziristan operation. The public opinion changed dramatically and so quickly, that the military establishment began to distance itself from the demand of the operation in North Waziristan and through the Director General ISPR said that it is up to the political leadership to take a decision regarding this matter. And the government also changed its position and said that they have no plan to go in North Waziristan and that they are not finding excuses for the North Waziristan operation. Finally, in order to dispel the impression that rulers are working on the orders of their American masters, Special Envoy of America for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, said on Saturday 20 during his recent visit to Pakistan that, “On particular question of North Waziristan offensive or any other question, that is the decision for the government of Pakistan and solely for the government of Pakistan.”
In this incident, two major things appeared:
Firstly: regarding the stature and influence of main stream media, the social media and the live interaction. In changing the public opinion so quickly, social media played a very important role to an extent that even well known anchor persons on live shows admitted the fact that in spite of main stream media support to Malala incident, the social media overwhelmingly gave the other side of the story and the people are more trusting of the social media, then the main stream media. Moreover, the people had strong live interaction on the matter, almost every person would check the others’ opinion upon this matter and would correct any naivety. We can say now that the main stream media has lost the monopoly of making or shaping the public opinion in Pakistan. This is the price that was paid by the media because some of the media people chose to become mouthpieces of the government.
Secondly: the awareness of the people. The social media and the live discussions would not have been so effective, if the people had been naïve in matters. The basic level of awareness of the people has risen. This time, people did not buy into the government and the main stream media story, as they did three years ago when a fabricated video was aired on media channels showing the flogging of a woman at the hands of the Swat Valley Taliban and the agent rulers quickly capitalized the public opinion and started military operation in Swat.
Even after Hizb’s campaign against the Swat Valley operation people generally were resistant to the Hizb’s opinion, that America and the agent rulers arrange such events to justify America’s war. However, the Hizb persisted in exposing the role of American private military organizations in organizing false flag attacks, blamed on the Muslims through shadowy claims. It added to the people’s agenda the need to end America’s war, close the supply lines to the American forces, close the embassies and bases as well as expelling all of its military and diplomatic personnel. It continued to discuss with the people and issue leaflets and press releases over many months. And this time and I would say the first time in the history of dawah in Pakistan; people took the view of the Hizb very rapidly, Alhamdulillah. People quickly realized that it is the same old tactic of agent rulers, with new characters, and they themselves established the evil nexus of America and agent rulers. Moreover, the discussion widened to talk about the presence of America within Pakistan.
Also significantly, before this incident, people generally blamed the political government for the treacheries being made against Pakistan by General Kayani, who hid behind his confidante President Zardari, in order to maintain his standing within the armed forces so that he could implement the American agenda. His masters are anxious that he does not make the same mistake as Musharraf, who as both President and Army Chief became the subject of the anger of the armed forces before he was forced to step down. But now the opinion within society, including within the armed forces, has widely accepted the view of the Hizb that the actual ruler of Pakistan is Kayani and he is the real and biggest traitor. Upon reading the latest leaflet from the Hizb in Pakistan, many people immediately expressed their anger at Kayani’s persistent treachery. So, the awareness of the Ummah has risen and they are no longer ready to be made fools by the traitors’ conspiracies. Now it seems that the time is not far away when the traitors within military and political leadership will be thrown out and the people will look towards Hizb as their only and true leadership.
Shahzad Shaikh, Deputy to the Spokesman of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Pakistan