Can Malala Bring Peace to Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Ahmed Rashid in The New Yorker:

MalalaThe shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old student, along with her two friends by Pakistani Taliban has created intense anger in Pakistan. Pakistanis have spent days in prayer for her life as she lay comatose in an army hospital in Rawalpindi and, Monday, was put on a plane to London, under tight security, for a brain operation (the Pakistani government will pay her expenses), and have held vigils and marches in support of her vision of education for all girls. But they are now also calling on the army to carry out its much delayed offensive in the tribal territories of North and South Waziristan to wipe out the ever growing networks of extremists, including Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to be the mastermind of the attempted murder of Malala. I live in Lahore and, like my neighbors, have spent this time watching the news and hoping that Malala survives. This is a simple human reaction, but one affected, too, by a sense of what she means for Pakistan. Malala may become a role model not just for girls in the region but also for peace. Her story now has the potential, if fully utilized, to bring about a serious geo-political change in the region that could actually help stabilize both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

For several years, the United States and NATO forces based in Afghanistan have demanded that the army carry out just such operations, but Pakistan has declined. After the shooting of Malala, there is unprecedented domestic pressure to finally do so. Pakistanis want to make it clear that they, the majority, do not support this brand of Islamic fundamentalism. If the army refuses to act now it may find itself ostracized by the very public whose support it seeks.

More here.