“We have mixed feelings about Malala,” said the man, Raja Imran, 30, his eyes shaded by sunglasses, fiddling with a pack of Marlboros. “Was it the Americans who shot her or was it Al Qaeda? We don’t know. Some people think this is all an American publicity stunt to make their point against the Taliban.”…

Several young customers at the restaurant were similarly ambivalent. Others asked: What about the other two girls wounded in the shooting? “And what about Aafia Siddiqui?” asked one young woman, referring to the Pakistani woman convicted on charges of trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents by a New York court in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison…

By then, however, the backlash against Ms. Yousafzai had already started in earnest. The religious right attacked the wounded schoolgirl, circulating images on the Internet that showed her meeting senior American officials and implying that she was an American agent.

Other politicians showed little conviction. With the exception of the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement, no party organized mass street rallies against the Taliban — a stark contrast with the violent riots that seized the country weeks earlier in reaction to an American-made video insulting the Prophet Muhammad.