President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday described the “militant mindset” that allows a human being to shoot a little girl as the biggest enemy of Pakistan. He made this assertion while addressing the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in Baku.

Describing Malala Yousafzai as “the daughter of Pakistan — my daughter”, Mr. Zardari said she was a “symbol of all that is good about us and represents the resilience of our girls and women”. By trying to kill her, the terrorists were trying to kill Pakistan, he lamented.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in an interview to CNN that the government had placed a million-dollar bounty on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan in the Malala Yousafzai shooting case. Later, during a visit to Swat to meet the other girls who suffered injuries in last Tuesday’s attack on Ms. Yousafzai, the Minister said the Sitara-e-Shujaat — the country’s highest civilian award for bravery — would be given to the teen peace activist.

TTP’s defence

Within hours of Mr. Malik’s disclosure on the bounty, the TTP came out with yet another statement justifying their attempt to kill the teen peace activist. In the statement, the TTP billed Ms. Yousafzai as an American spy and contested the perception that she was a child.

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The statement further said: “In Islam and Pashtun traditions, there is absolutely no room for an attack on a woman of pure virtues. But in cases where a woman is seen as a clear sinner who stands in defiance of Sharia, such a woman is not only allowed to be attacked but there is an obligatory instruction for such an action.”

Stating that Ms. Yousafzai acted as a spy and created propaganda against the Mujahideen, the TTP said: “She has received punishment for her sin.” Also, according to Ahsan, she was brought before the media under a planned strategy to pollute the minds of the youth against the Taliban.

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