Malala shows improvement - military

2012-10-13 21:32

Rawalpindi - A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban showed signs of improvement by moving her limbs Saturday, the military said, though she remains unconscious and on a ventilator.

The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who campaigned for the right to an education, has been denounced worldwide and by the Pakistani authorities, who have offered a reward of more than $100 000 for the capture of her attackers.

"The sedation given to Malala was reduced today so that neurosurgeons could do their clinical assessment and as a result of it Malala responded and moved her hands and feet," military spokesperson Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

"It is a positive development," Bajwa told a press conference near Army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, close to the capital Islamabad, where Malala is being treated in a military hospital.

"As per doctors, [the] condition of Malala is stable."

A team of specialist doctors are providing "constant care" to Malala and all "contingencies" were in place in case they decide to move her abroad for further treatment, the general said.

Serious head injury

"It is a case of serious head injury and the progress is very slow in it."

Two other girl students wounded with Malala were "also being taken care of at places where they can get best treatment", he said, without elaborating.

Bajwa said that all available resources were being used to investigate the incident and some arrests had been made, but he declined to say how many people were currently in custody and how many had been let go.

Asked whether the military might now consider launching an offensive against the Taliban in their tribal area stronghold of North Waziristan, on the Afghan border, Bajwa said: "Such decisions are not taken overnight."

A military statement earlier said: "[The] health condition of Malala continues to remain satisfactory. Her vitals are okay and she is still on ventilator."


Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Malala on Friday, paying tribute to her and two friends who were also wounded when a gunman boarded their school bus on Tuesday and opened fire.

"It was not a crime against an individual but a crime against humanity and an attack on our national and social values," he told reporters, pledging renewed vigour in Pakistan's struggle with Islamist militancy.

Bajwa Friday said the next 36 to 48 hours would be critical for Malala.

The attack has sickened Pakistan, where Malala won international prominence with a blog for the BBC that highlighted atrocities under the Taliban who terrorised the Swat valley from 2007 until a 2009 army offensive.

Wake-up call

Activists say the shooting should be a wake-up call to who advocate appeasement with the Taliban, but analysts suspect there will be no seismic shift in a country that has sponsored radical Islam for decades.

Schools opened with prayers for Malala on Friday and special prayers were held at mosques across the country for her speedy recovery at the country's top military hospital in the city of Rawalpindi.

The Defence of Pakistan Council, an Islamist alliance which earlier this year carried out major rallies across Pakistan against the resumption of Nato supply lines through the country cautioned against the attack on Malala being used as a reason to launch fresh military offensives against militants.

Offensive 'mistake'

"We strongly condemn this attack, but it should not be used as a pretext to launch military offensive in North Waziristan," alliance chairperson Maulana Samiul Haq told a press conference in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

"It would be suicidal and affect the entire country. We appeal to the military not to commit any such mistake," Haq said.

"The way [US President Barack] Obama has responded to the incident clearly indicates the intentions. We will not let it happen," Haq said.

"The world does not see or condemn killing of countless innocent girls and children in drone attacks by America, but now they are reacting to this incident," Haq said.

  • giancarlo.groenewald - 2012-10-13 22:20

    Looks like the Taliban are losing their grip on the tribal people, and this type of stuff goes really bad against them. watch heir own people turn on them.

  • hannah.p.mostert - 2012-10-13 23:15

    Yes you are right Giancarlo, it reminds me of the African spring here where our greedy leaders will also be turned on by their people

  • danie.strydom.7 - 2012-10-13 23:57

    "Activists say the shooting should be a wake-up call to who advocate appeasement with the Taliban, but analysts suspect there will be no seismic shift in a country that has sponsored radical Islam for decades." I fear that in a radicalized environment like this, it would take the deaths of many thousands more before the people start taking responsibility for their inability, or unwillingness to address the radical elements within their own communities. Roll on Middle East ..

  • satish.chandra.90038 - 2012-10-14 09:08

    The Taliban say the girl they shot considered Obama her ideal leader. How many girls have been killed by American invaders in Afghanistan, Iraq etc. including Pakistan by drones? The Taliban are, first and foremost, patriots fighting the invaders; their appeal to Islamic orthodoxy serves, like references to the use of beef and pork fat in British cartridges in the 1857 War of Independence, to motivate and mobilize people. Her comment showed a level of propaganda and enslavement almost equal to that in India about which I wrote: 'The CIA, which rules India through RAW which has hundreds of joint secretaries -- see WhatYouShouldKnowAboutRAWDOTblogspotDOTcom -- has India in its pocket including all political parties, media, armed forces, civil servants and the general population as the British had India in their pocket.' See JoinIndiaWarOfIndependenceDOTblogspotDOTcom and 'RAW's Trafficking Of Indian Children To Israel To Be Used As Food' : RAWsTraffickingOfIndianChildrenDOTblogspotDOTcom

      magnus.j.vanvuuren - 2012-10-14 12:00

      so the taliban doesn't allow free-will freedom of choice they will kill a 14 year old girl in there hatred of the west... she didn't choice a bad leader to look up to as he does have the power means and reasons to come down on the taliban with so much ferocity that the taliban will only be known in books years later, taliban is so caught up in there own propaganda the have clearly lost touch with reality and there believes in there own religion shame taliban targeting young people just shows the rest of the world what a barbaric group of idiots they are

      hamish.drake1 - 2012-10-14 12:02

      "patriots fighting the invaders"? or killing their own children? It's this kind of rubbish you are spouting, that will keep the war going unto the nth generation! Peace

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