By Mehreen Zahra-Malik
MINGORA, Pakistan, Oct 11 (Reuters) – For many of her compatriots, Malala Yousafzai is a stooge of the United States and a CIA agent, a symbol of the West’s evils and a global conspiracy to bring down her native Pakistan.
She has won the European Union’s prestigious human rights award and was one of the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but in her native Swat valley, friends and neighbours reacted with a mixture of resentment, fear and jealousy.
“Malala is spoiling Pakistan’s name around the world,” said Mohammad Rizwan, a shop owner in her hometown of Mingora. “We didn’t need Malala to come and tell us how important education is.”
Around the corner from his shop is the quiet street where Malala, 16, was shot a year ago after trying to defy the Taliban with her outspoken views on women’s right to education.
She survived after being airlifted to Britain for treatment and has since become a symbol of defiance against militants holed up in nearby tribal areas on the Afghan border.
But in this deeply conservative part of Pakistan, where women are expected to stay at home and keep their views to themselves, many people view Malala’s campaign with suspicion.
In a nation thriving on conspiracy theories, some have even doubted the sincerity of her campaign, claiming it is part of her family’s ploy to move to Britain or that she is just an attention seeker.
Read more watch video and view photos on Huffington Post
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