Kamila Hayat, a senior official of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, praised Malala for standing up to the militants and sending a message across the world that Pakistani girls had the courage to fight for their rights. But she also worried that Tuesday's shooting would prevent other parents from letting their children speak out against the Taliban.
"This is an attack to silence courage through a bullet," Hayat said. "These are the forces who want to take us to the dark ages."
The problems of young women in Pakistan were also the focus of a separate case before the high court, which ordered a probe into an alleged barter of seven girls to settle a blood feud in a remote southwestern district. Such feuds in Pakistan's tribal areas often arise from disputes between families or tribes and can last generations.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry began proceedings into the allegations, which were first reported in the local media. The alleged trade happened in the Dera Bugti district of Baluchistan province between two groups within the Bugti tribe, one of the more prominent in the province.
A tribal council ordered the barter in early September, the district deputy commissioner, Saeed Faisal, told the court. He did not know the girls' ages but local media reported they were between 4 and 13 years old.
However, the Advocate General for the province could not confirm the incident.
Chaudhry, the chief justice, ordered Faisal to ensure that all members of the tribal council appear in court on Wednesday, as well as a local lawmaker who belongs to one of the two sub-tribes believed involved in the incident.
The tradition of families exchanging unmarried girls to settle feuds is banned under Pakistani law but still practiced in the country's more conservative, tribal areas.
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