“In attacking Malala, the terrorists have failed to grasp that she is not only an individual, but an icon of courage and hope,” Kayani said. “We will fight, regardless of the cost. We will prevail.”
Kayani, arguably the country’s most powerful leader, rarely issues public statements on nonmilitary incidents and matters.
Across Swat, private schools were closed to protest the Taliban’s actions. The attack drew condemnation from virtually every corner of Pakistani society, from politicians and the media to civil society organizations. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called it “exceptionally cowardly. This is a new low even for the Taliban. ... It is also a wake-up call, if another one was needed, for those pining to appease the extremists and going out of their way to advocate making peace with the Taliban.”
On yesterday, the Taliban issued a second statement attempting to justify the shootings.
“We are dead against coeducation and secular education,” Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said in a statement released to the media. “Malala was targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism. ... And whom so ever will (do the same) in the future will again be targeted by the (Pakistani Taliban).”