Malala shooting: now Taliban threaten second teenage girl
Hina Khan’s family find a red cross painted on their house and receive Taliban death threats by phone
TWO weeks after 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for her outspoken views on female education, a second teenage girl has received death threats from extremists.
Like Malala, 17-year-old Hina Khan is also from Swat and has a history of campaigning for girls' schools in Pakistan, a country with the second highest rate in the world for girls out of education.
In 2008 Hina, the eldest of five children, began publicly supporting her mother's campaign to promote literacy for women in Swat and to open a school teaching girls basic computer skills, knitting and embroidery.
Her decision turned her into a hate figure for extremists in Swat, a Taliban hotbed over which the Government effectively lost control between 2007 and 2009.
Days before Malala was shot in the head by a gunman, a red cross was spray-painted on the gate of Hina's home on the outskirts of Islamabad. The family washed it off only for it to be repainted a week later.
Then came the anonymous phone calls. According to Hina's father, Rayatullah Khan, the caller said they had been watching Hina since 2008 and warned: "You can remove the sign but you are still a target… We are going to kill you."
Hina told The Daily Telegraph: "I can't go to school, I can't go out of the house, I can't even go to the market since these threats. I just pray we will all be OK."
The story mirrors that of Malala who is now making a steady recovery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. She was shot by the Taliban in Lahore on 14 October.
Hina, who wants to become a teacher so she can educate girls, has said she will not give up her campaign, despite the threats. "Girls' education is too important to give up on," she said. "We always knew the risks and just hope the attack on Malala and the threats against me will turn more people against the extremists and force the government to act." ·