Islamabad: Calling child peace campaigner Malala Yousufzai, who was shot at by the Taliban, a symbol of resistance, a leading Pakistani daily on Thursday sought better intelligence-gathering to thwart the designs of those waiting to once more snuff out the dreams of thousands like her.
An editorial in the Dawn said that the terror attack on Malala, "who had become a symbol of resistance in Swat to the Taliban's obscurant agenda, has been met with revulsion in Pakistan and abroad".
Malala, Pakistan's first National Peace Award winner, was shot and seriously injured in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Tuesday when she was on her way home from school.
The 14-year-old, a crusader for girls' education and an outspoken critic of the Taliban, had been receiving threats and "in that respect the attack, claimed by the Taliban, has come as no surprise — even though Malala's family reportedly did not think that the Taliban would target her", it said.
The daily said it must be borne in mind that the militants' targets have over the years become "extremely blurred; and apart from state and military installations they have bombed hospitals, marketplaces, mosques and bazaars, killing or maiming thousands of civilians in the process".
They routinely issue warnings to people not to support groups working on community welfare projects.
"With such a regressive thought process, their violent rejection of anything that stands for democracy, secularism, in fact the basic freedoms themselves, is only to be expected.
"In keeping with their hidebound ideology, they have atomised 2,000 schools — almost all of them catering to girls' education, to which Malala, since the time the Taliban ordered the school her father ran to be closed down, is inextricably linked," said the editorial.
The daily stressed that there is no room for complacency, and "even sporadic targeted attacks could indicate the presence of a support base for the Taliban in the area".
"Better intelligence-gathering then is needed to thwart the designs of those who are waiting to once more snuff out the dreams of thousands like Malala," it added.