Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; in Pakistan, Terrorism Is a Daily Reality

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; in Pakistan, Terrorism Is a Daily Reality

Article excerpt

Byline: Sidrah Roghay

I can sit by the St. Johns River for hours and watch the dolphin fins as they merge into the waves that stretch for miles.

That's the quiet and peaceful Jacksonville for me - a month-long visitor.

I come from Pakistan. Part of South Asia, sandwiched between India and Afghanistan,

Pakistan is a country with ice cold rivers, the second largest mountain peak of the world (K-2) and locals who would never let a guest pay for lunch.

LIFE AFTER SEPT. 11

After Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan sided with America in its war on terror.

There was no other option.

Pakistan's port city became the base from which supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan would make way.

Meanwhile, while the search for Taliban commanders began in Afghanistan, some of them crossed into the northern tribal areas of Pakistan through a porous border called the Durrand Line.

Once in Pakistan, they set up their tribal courts and began implementing a crude form of Islam - where women were not allowed to step out of the house and public flogging was not uncommon.

A COURAGEOUS GIRL

Malala Yousufzai, a brave 12-year- old girl in those turbulent times, began writing a diary for the BBC describing how school girls had replaced school uniforms with regular clothes as they walked to school.

The idea was to fool the Taliban.

Even with danger of a gun looming on their heads, the brave girls did not stop going to school.

In the Swat Valley where Malala lived, the Taliban had banned girls from attending school.

For her writings, Malala became a local hero.

For the Taliban, she became a symbol of everything they stood against - female empowerment, Western education and books.

In the year 2012 as Malala mounted a school bus, she was shot in the head.

She survived the bullet.

And when she gave her first speech in the United Nations, she said, "I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban. …

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