Even as the nation prayed for the speedy recovery of Malala Yousafzai (14) over the past two days, another teenager fell prey to vigilantism, this time in Karachi for committing blasphemy. Though the Christian boy and his family escaped unhurt as they had fled their home, their house in a middle-class neighbourhood of the metropolis was ransacked.
The charge against Ryan Stanten (16) was that he had forwarded a text message containing blasphemous content to friends. Some residents attacked his house by which time the family had already abandoned the place.
Police said Ryan had forwarded the message on Tuesday. He claimed to have forwarded the message that he had received to all his Muslim friends without reading it. A case has been registered under the blasphemy law against him. He is the second minor to be booked under the blasphemy law — which carries a death sentence — in two months; the earlier being Rimsha Masih whose case hit international headlines. Meanwhile, the condition of Ms. Yousafzai remained a matter of concern and she was shifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. As the girl who had stood up to the Taliban — and was targeted in a shooting incident on Tuesday because of that — battled for life, prayers and protests continued across the country.
Schools reopened in Swat — the valley from where she hails — after a day’s closure on Wednesday and the flag was flown at half mast at her school to honour the brave heart. In television bytes, her schoolmates — their faces covered — said: “Every girl in Swat is Malala. We will educate ourselves. We will win. They can’t defeat us. How many Malala’s will they try to silence.”
In faraway Lahore, the Lahore University of Management Studies — working on the principle of education being the best way to avenge the attack on the teen who had come to represent the voice of the girls of Swat when Taliban had over-run the valley — launched a Malala for Education Fund to support girls education.