Everyone Loves Pakistan's Malala ... Except Pakistan

Many in her home country think she's a CIA agent

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 12, 2013 5:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai has been on a whirlwind book tour of the US, winning hearts and minds with her courageous story of sticking up for women's education in her native Pakistan, then surviving being shot in the head by a Taliban assassin last year. Yesterday, Malala met with President Obama, where she says she spoke out against US drone attacks in her country, which she worries are "fueling terrorism," killing "innocent victims," and creating resentment, reports the AP. But despite the hero's welcome, Malala has received in the West, it's a different story at home, reports the New York Times.

Many in her hometown in the Swat Valley believe the young girl is a CIA agent, part of a US plot to humiliate Pakistan and influence the government. "The media has projected Malala as a heroine of the West. But what has she done for Swat?" asks one local. "How can a girl survive after being shot in the head?” says another skeptic. "It doesn’t make sense." Meanwhile, amid the Malala-mania here, Washington Post journalist Max Fisher argues that the Nobel committee did her a favor by not awarding her this year's Peace Prize. "Awarding Malala the Nobel would have told us what we wanted to hear:" he writes, "that celebrity and 'awareness' can fix even the worst problems," rather than "a serious examination of our own role in the problem." Click through for the full column.

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban last October for advocating education for girls.
Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban last October for advocating education for girls.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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