“Pakistan needs a change of direction”


Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Nobel peace prize laureate and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, speaks with DW about the Pakistani politics and the rise of a Pashtun peace movement.

Deutsche Welle: Mr Yousafzai, tell us about your new book, “Let Her Fly – A Father’s Journey” (Let’s you fly up – The journey of a father).

Ziauddin Yousafzai: “Let Her Fly” is about my family. It is a story of the transformation of a Patriarchal, male-dominated family in a working for the equality of the sexes. I always say: even Though we (in Pakistan – ed.) poor people were, so we were rich in values. From these values, and our conversion, this book is.

The Malala Fund, established by their daughter, is involved in a number of development projects. What is the most important goal of the organization?

We are working for education for girls around the world, want to guarantee free, safe and good education. We focus on countries where the number of girls in schools is very low, for example, Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. We also work with Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. We have built schools in Pakistan and also for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in 2012 by Taliban, because for the equal rights of girls started

What do you think about the current Pakistani government under Prime Minister Imran Khan?

The government has announced to want to do things differently. After the first 100 days, I must say: It is a fiasco. The economy is down, the so-called National plan of action (against the groups of militants – ed.) is a failure, and the government has nothing for the development of the Tribal areas (on the border with Afghanistan – ed.) done.

But it is never too late. Instead of time for the promotion of an “Islamic presidential system” to waste, should try the government, the people’s trust in parliamentary democracy. You should get the Opposition on important issues such as the recovery of the economy and the fight against terrorism. This is the only way forward. A strong and stable democracy is Pakistan’s only hope.

Since you mentioned the tribal region in the North-West of the country: In this area people tune movement for the protection of the Pashtuns, known as Pashtun, Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), won many followers. The leaders of this movement are against the war and alleged atrocities committed by the Pakistan criticize of military in the area. Hold the demands of this group is legitimate?

The PTM will tune led by young pasch. They are educated, well-organized and clear in their demands. In the Swat Region, we have a violent conflict through the lives and atrocities of the Taliban, seen. The war against Terror in the Form of military operations against the Taliban and other militias followed. The people in the North-West of Pakistan have been suffering for decades under war. Thousands were tortured and killed. Families were displaced, property was destroyed. The Region experienced a mass Exodus.

To a certain extent, Pakistan’s war against militant groups was successful; this, however, remains zwiespätlig, because it is clear that the Pakistani security forces in the Region of Swat can get militant groupings from the outset under your control. Unfortunately, were these groups operate freely, and gained a lot of influence.

Against this Background, the PTM was created. The movement is the answer to all of these atrocities and problems – and also to the policy that generated the conflict in the first place.

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Malala is back in Pakistan

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Tearful homecoming: Malala back to Pakistan

Pasch should be tuned to be as equal Pakistani citizens to be treated; this is their constitutional right. Their demands are legitimate and constitutional. The only reason why some of the rate this movement is critical, this is your challenge of the Pakistani military. The military needs to recognize the plight of the Pashtuns. To refer to them as “traitors”, reinforces the alienation. Decades of violence, the Talibanization of the Region and the operations of the military have led to an enormous loss of confidence between the security forces and the people of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas. What we need now is a real confidence-building measures. The military should speak with the leadership of the PTM, listen to them and their constitutional claims. But also, the PTM should open for negotiations and reconciliation. From my point of view, this is the only way out. Pakistan needs a political change of direction as well as in terms of internal security.

In recent years, the human rights situation in Pakistan. The company complained about growing restrictions on freedom of expression. How do you see that?

Democracy is synonymous with freedom of expression. If the authorities prevent the people from expressing criticism, if you have a limited view of freedom of speech and try to keep the media under control, that would be synonymous with fascism.

The situation is very bad in Pakistan. Mass media and social media are suppressed by the government; the TV stations will be forced to lay off independent-minded journalists; Newspapers have to censor the article of your columnist. I think something like this has not existed in Pakistan.

How do you see the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in it?

I believe that if all the interested groups, the Taliban and the Afghan government, sitting in a boat, and if Pakistan, Iran and other regional powers acting in concert, in order to promote the process, then the Chance for peace in Afghanistan is large. But that requires honesty and a genuine desire for a peace that guarantees all the men and women in Afghanistan, the same basic rights. There should be no compromise on girls ‘ education and freedom for women.

And if Islamabad supports the Afghan peace process seriously, that would be a good opportunity for Pakistan to improve its image in the world.

Ziauddin Yousafzai is an activist, a Pakistani human right. He protested against the Advance of the Taliban in Pakistan and dedicated himself to education for girls. He currently lives with his family in the UK.

The Interview was conducted by Atif Tauqeer