Malala Yousafzai is an extremely brave girl who stood against the oppressors of the present era- the Taliban. She was doing the work which many other people of older age have failed to do so i.e. promoting education. This made her the top target of Taliban and she was attacked on October 9; however, she survived the attack. The assassination attempt and the subsequent developments received worldwide coverage. Nevertheless, the excess of media coverage made her controversial and led to many conspiracy theories (Something not new in our part of the world).
“Malala, Malala – Where is Salala?” were the most significant words shared on the social media during the hype created by media. Unfortunately, these proved to be correct when the day of November 26 passed away with little or no mention of the brutal NATO attack that took place a year ago at Salala Checkpost killing 24 of our finest soldiers.
At the social media, people remembered the sad event. Tributes were paid to fallen soldiers, their pictures were shared. On Twitter, #RememberingSalala was trending all day long, the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the motherland were remembered. I also came across some shocking tweets asking “Who is Salala? What is Salala?”
Things were quite different at the Pakistani media, except for one or two channels, no one made mention of the attack. Dunya channel, the only channel to highlight the heroes of recent military operations, paid a tribute to martyrs of Salala attack. No other channel mentioned or aired a program regarding the attack. But, why should I only blame the media when our government or even the military did not organize any event or ceremony to mark the anniversary of Salala attack. Pity!
“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.” – Calvin Coolidge
I visited Kharian garrison few weeks back for a military function. Kharian is the ‘home-station’ of 7 Azad Kashmir regiment (7 AK), the unit deployed at Salala. The whole garrison is filled with the portraits of Salala martyrs. One does not simply understand as to why Army did not organize any event when it has given Sitara-e-Jurat (SJ), Pakistan’s third highest military award, to one of the officer martyred during the attack. Note that no SJ has been given to any officer or Jawan during the current War against Terrorism.
“One year ago, the 7 Azad Kashmir Regiment did what it had to do: sacrifice 24 of its finest at Salala. But are we doing what we have to do?” Journalist Wajahat S Khan tweeted on November 26.
So, what are we doing? What are we going to tell Rameen, 2 year-old daughter of Captain Usman Shaheed, when she will be grown up? What are we going to tell the sons and daughters of other 23 soldiers? Is this the way of remembering fallen soldiers? If we are not ready to own our soldiers then why do we expect them to make sacrifices?