Pakistani lawmaker: Taliban attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was staged
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Pakistani lawmaker: Taliban attack on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was staged

IN a startling revelation, Pakistani lawmaker Mussarat Ahmadzeb has alleged in a recent interview with daily Ummat – an Urdu-language newspaper – that the 2012 Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai was merely part of a “drama” and was “scripted way before incident.”

“I don’t know all of the directors and producers but I know some of the characters of this drama. A BBC [Urdu] representative was also involved,” Mussarat, an MP from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, claimed in her interview.

“I am witness that the representative of BBC would come to Ziauddin’s house to rehearse the script with Malala,” she added, referring to Malala’s father.

She claimed this representative “is still working with the BBC” but did not give a name, only saying, “The representative [once] told me that ‘Ma’am, I haven’t seen such a dumb girl (Malala) in my life’.”

Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2009, she published a diary under the pseudonym ‘Gul Makai’ (which means corn flower) on BBC Urdu online. In this diary, she wrote about her experiences during the Taliban’s occupation of Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where she lived.

SEE ALSO: Nobel peace laureate Malala: ‘Change is coming’

“When Malala was submitting the story, she could neither read nor write. She was just 11 years old,” Mussarat said.

But how, in the first place, did the so-called BBC representative and the media outlet’s producers find Malala?

According to Mussarat, before Malala was selected, BBC‘s producers first contacted three schools in Swat.

“But none of the fathers agreed… Then they… headed towards the fourth school, which was luckily Ziauddin Yousafzai’s school, the Khushal Khan Public School.”

Mussarat, who teaches skills to widows in Swat Valley, alleged that she too was approached to star in the “drama”, but she declined.

“During those days, a lot of people from international media contacted me again and again. Off the record, they tried [to convince] me to pass a statement against Pakistan, in the meantime, they consoled me that there is no need to worry, we will provide you protection,” the lawmaker alleged.

On Oct 9, 2012, there was an attempt on Malala’s life when she was in a school van en route to her home. She was reportedly struck by one bullet, which went through her head, neck, and ended in her shoulder.

Later, Tehrek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying, “Malala was Western-minded girl.”

But “before the attack,” Mussarat claimed, “An American lived at Ziaudin’s house for three months to train Malala how to face media after the drama.”

SEE ALSO: Malala hopes to return to Swat Valley

Malala and her two friends, who were also wounded in the attack, were taken to Combine Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar. She remained unconscious an in critical condition as the bullet had penetrated her head. But Mussarat claimed this wasn’t true.

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(File) Malala is seen recovering in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, after the 2012 attack. Source: AP

“When I contacted Ziauddin to inquire about Malala’s health, he asserted that ‘from the CT scan it is clear that the bullet didn’t hit her head. It just touched her facial bone therefore the injury is not too serious’,” she said.

“All these things were strange for me. Media was showing something else whereas the Computerized Tomography (CT) scan was reading something else.”

She alleged in a tweet that, “The medics who did [the] CT scan along [with] d doctor who examined all were awarded plots by gov.”

Later when Malala’s condition improved enough for her to be sent to London for further treatment, Mussarat said she lost contact with the Ziaudin family. But she kept track of Malala’s recovery through the media.

After Mussarat’s Ummat interview and a series of controversial tweets posted online, PTI issued a statement claiming to have disowned the lawmaker in 2014, along with two others for violating party discipline.

PTI spokesman Mehmood Shafqat told an English newspaper, “Neither is she a part of any decision-making body of the party nor does she hold basic membership.”

According to the Pakistan National Assembly website, however, Mussarat is still a member of PTI.

At the time of writing, Asian Correspondent has not been able to verify Mussarat’s claims. It is also not immediately known why the lawmaker decided to come forward with the allegations.