A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has written to Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist shot by Taliban fighters, saying he personally wished the attack had not happened.
However, In an open letter released on Wednesday, Adnan Rasheed, a former air force member turned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) cadre, her of running a “smearing campaign” against Taliban fighters and urged her to return home and join a madrassa.
“It is amazing that you are shouting for education, you and the UNO (UN) is pretending that you were shot due to education, although this is not the reason … not the education but your propaganda was the issue,” Rasheed wrote.
He accused Malala of seeking to promote an education system begun by the British colonialists to produce “Asians in blood but English in taste” and said students should study Islam and not what it called the “satanic or secular curriculum”.
“I advise you to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, join any female Islamic madrassa near your home town, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam and plight of Muslim ummah (community),” Rasheed wrote.
The letter, written in English, was sent to reporters in northwest Pakistan, and its authenticity confirmed to AFP news agency by a senior Taliban cadre who is a close associate of Rasheed. It is understood Malala has not received the letter herself.
Gunmen from the TTP shot Malala, now 16, in the head in her home town in Swat, in the country’s northwest, where she campaigned for the right of girls to go to school, last October.
Malala’s fight back from her injuries and speech at the UN have inspired people around the globe to back her campaign for children to go to school, the response to her in Pakistan has been mixed.
Many have hailed her as a national hero but others have criticised her for promoting a “Western” agenda.