My readers might have noticed that I was totally silent following the attempted assassination of the courageous young education activist Malala Yusufzai from the Swat region. I was silenced by a deep disgust at the deeds of these Pakistani Taliban criminals. Anger, outrage and depression do not explain my emotions. One part of me wished that a contingent of soldiers or vigilantes hunted down the miscreants and mete out a fate the criminals never ever contemplated. But I soon realized such anger solves little. Outpouring of support for Malala by senior generals were a good sign but the criminals are still at large. Only bringing them to book followed by an exemplary trial and a just punishment is what the world awaits. As Malala convalesces in a British hospital another ray of hope shone out of Pakistan. A court threw out the charges of blasphemy against Rimsha Masih, another young Christian girl tormented by a Muslim cleric we are told. We look forward to see the outcome of the trial of this cleric for making scurrilous charges and bringing Pakistan into disrepute. The wheels of justice move slowly but they define a character of a society. Right-thinking Pakistanis, I am sure, will think hard and long and address the causes as to why women are frequently and violently targeted in their society. Reform starts with the will and willingness of ordinary Pakistanis who opt for positive change. Commentators like myself will be more than willing to share the success of those activists with the world. These few events: the widespread condemnation of the Pakistani Taliban for their crimes and ending prosecution of a Christian girl on trumped up blasphemy charges, all give hope.
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Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Notre Dame, United State of America
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