Shot Pakistan girl activist improving

2012-10-11 11:01

Peshawar - A Pakistani child activist shot in the head by the Taliban is slowly improving but will remain sedated in intensive care for at least another 24 hours, a relative said on Thursday.

The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai on a school bus in the scenic Swat valley has been denounced worldwide and by the Pakistani authorities, who have offered a reward of more than $100 000 for the gunmen.

Two of her school friends were also injured. There are mounting questions about how the attack could have happened and how the perpetrators simply walked away in an area with a visible police and army presence.

"Doctors have told us her condition is improving," said Mehmoodul Hasan, one of Malala's relatives at the military hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar where she is being treated.

"She has been given sedatives for the next 24 hours and after that doctors will examine her and tell us about her condition," Hasan said.

US President Barack Obama, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Pakistani leaders have expressed horror at the attack on a girl who campaigned for the right to an education during a two-year Taliban insurgency which the army said it had crushed in 2009.

Girls denied education

Obama believed the shooting was "reprehensible and disgusting and tragic", said White House spokesperson Jay Carney.

"Directing violence at children is barbaric, it's cowardly, and our hearts go out to her and the others who were wounded as well as their families," he said.

Malala won international prominence after highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls' schools and terrorised the valley before the army intervened.

Then aged just 11, her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls denied an education by Islamist militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting local Taliban since 2007.

On Wednesday doctors successfully removed a bullet lodged near her shoulder, where it moved after entering her head.

Preparations had been made to fly her abroad, but a military source said she was too ill to travel. Carney said US forces were ready to offer transport and treatment to the teenager if needed.

200 arrested

The Pakistani provincial government announced a $104 000 reward for information leading to the capture of Malala's attackers.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has promised to catch the gunmen. Officers in Swat say dozens of people were rounded up after the attack but no one has been charged.

Local residents say four businessmen and outspoken anti-militancy advocates have been shot in Swat in recent months, raising fears about a valley which Pakistan has been trying to restore as a tourist destination.

Mingora police station chief Ahmad Shah sai nearly 200 people had been detained, including the bus driver and a school watchman, in connection with Malala's shooting but that most had been released.

"Police were on alert already, but after this latest incident we are now carrying out nightly search operations on a daily basis to prevent such incidents," he added.

Commentators have questioned whether anything will really change in Pakistan after the killing, despite a call from the army chief General Ashfaq Kayani to further unite against militants and their "barbaric mindset".

Many in the country blame the United States and the war in neighbouring Afghanistan for the violence. The Pakistani intelligence services have been accused of playing a double game in supporting or at least accommodating Islamist militant groups.

The Taliban, who have killed thousands of people across Pakistan in the last five years and destroyed hundreds of girls' schools, have issued a statement saying that any female who opposes them should be killed.

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-11 11:15

    Good for her...Hope she recovers and one day becomes the shining star for what is right and hopefully change the thinking of these animals.

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-10-11 11:37

    Lets look at the what this case illustrates ,the astonishing mental gymnastics at play . Stupid filmaker gets $100000 'reward' for his death(add: massive protests and deaths) but real child murderers gets the same reward and not a single placard. Pakistani's blame the US for the violence (the guys doing something about the problem)and not the actual perpetrators of the violence. This resounding values misapporopration puts the Pakistani authorities in such a impotent situation in which they have to tight-rope walk between fighting the Taliban (sympathies for) and looking like not supporting/resisting the American/Afgan forces (animosity for). This can only lead to poor and inept state responce to the whole situation .

      LanfearM - 2012-10-11 13:52

      Blaming the US for every ill in the world is a scapegoat, especially in Islamic countries where they are already predisposed to hate the "evil West". I can think of many other scapegoats used, now and throughout history. When things go pear-shaped in a country due to mis-management and corruption, it is usually blamed on those that the majority of citizens are already been conditioned to dislike, even hate. Think of Nazi Germany against the Jews. Think of apartheid SA that blamed everything on the blacks. Think of democratic SA that now blame everything on the whites. And so forth ad infinum. It is easier to blame a scapegoat and incite violence, than to actually deal with the real problems on grassroots level.

      LanfearM - 2012-10-11 14:00

      And that said, I am glad she is alive and recovering and hope she will continue the good fight!

  • hannah.p.mostert - 2012-10-11 12:20

    Hope she gets well quickly we need more of her bravery and intelligence in this world

  • jess.wags.5 - 2012-10-11 12:26

    It will never stop.Throughout history there are people who try to force and intimidate others into their perverted religious beliefs or political ideaology.

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-11 13:55

      It can and will stop..the time is coming where these countries will have no choice...

      jess.wags.5 - 2012-10-11 16:05

      You are right - it will never stop.

  • paullouis.louw - 2012-10-11 13:11

    It's clear. Taliban worships Satan.

      cellexpert - 2012-10-17 17:55

      talibans are CIA and RAW agents. ofcourse they are worshiping agree with you.

  • greggail.garnie - 2012-10-11 13:14

    This young lady is a true inspiration to the world and her courage, at such a young age, should make us (adults) all shake our heads in shame and try to step up to the line. Her's is the voice of truth and reason, untainted by the politics of convenience and duplicity. My own reaction is that the men of Pakistan and elsewhere in the world are nothing more than weak willed, ignorant cowards who satisfy their patriachal egos, not to defend and protect, but to attack women and children. You are not men, but excuses of men hiding behind your religiosity, being nothing more than vain hypocrites and a blight on the human race. You take to the streets over a fiction video, demanding justice from all and sundry, yet you cannot practice one ounce of justice yourselves. You know who the thugs are that did this, get out there and bring them to justice.

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