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Pakistan to decide if girl shot by Taliban needs treatment abroad

Doctors to decide whether to send injured Pakistan child activist to Dubai for treatment

  • Agencies
  • Published: 10:00 October 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Agencies
  • Hospital staff at Saidu Sharif Medical Complex in the Swat Valley assist Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was injured in the gun attack in northwest Pakistan.

Peshawar: Pakistani doctors were to decide on Wednesday whether to fly to Dubai a 14-year-old child activist in a critical condition after being shot in the head by the Taliban, in a case that has horrified the country.

Malala Yousafzai was shot on her school bus with two friends in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat on Tuesday, then flown to the main northwestern city of Peshawar to be admitted to a military hospital.

Malala spent Tuesday night in intensive care, where doctors at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) described her condition as critical.

A military officer told AFP that a team of top doctors had flown to Peshawar to assess her condition on Wednesday.

"They have a two-point agenda - to determine if Malala Yousafzai's condition allows her to be shifted abroad for treatment or if she needs surgery here," the officer said.

Last night, a doctor at CMH told AFP that the bullet had travelled from her head and then lodged in the back shoulder, near the neck.

"She is in the intensive care unit and semi-conscious, although not on the ventilator," he told AFP on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The next three to four days would be crucial, he added.

State carrier Pakistan International Airlines told AFP that it had a Boeing 737 ready at Peshawar airport to fly Malala abroad if necessary, most probably to Dubai.

“We are waiting for new orders and as soon as we get the instruction she will be flown abroad,” PIA chief Junaid Yousuf told AFP.

Malala won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the militants led by cleric Maulana Fazlullah burned girls' schools and terrorised the valley.

Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by Islamist militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting local Taliban since 2007.

She received the first national peace award from the Pakistani government last year, and was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by advocacy group KidsRights Foundation in 2011.

Tuesday's shooting in broad daylight raises serious questions about security more than three years after the army claimed to have crushed a Taliban insurgency in the valley.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack in a series of telephone calls to reporters and then issued a strongly-worded statement justifying the attack on a child on the grounds that Malala had preached secularism "and so-called enlightened moderation".

The Taliban controlled much of Swat from 2007-2009 but were supposedly driven out by an army offensive in July 2009.

"It's a clear command of sharia that any female, that by any means plays a role in war against the mujahedeen, should be killed," said spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

He accused the media of pouring out "smelly propaganda" against the Taliban, saying that women had also been killed in Pakistan military operations and were detained by the intelligence services.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf telephoned Malala's father to condemn the attack and promise that the government would pay for all medical treatment.

President Asif Ali Zardari said the shooting would not shake Pakistan’s resolve to fight Islamist militants or the government's determination to support women's education.

The United States denounced the "barbaric" and “cowardly” attack.

Amnesty International condemned the "shocking act of violence" against a girl bravely fighting for an education, saying that female activists in northwest Pakistan ‘s “live under constant threats from the Taliban and other militant groups".

Malala was 11 when she wrote the blog on the BBC Urdu website, which at the time was anonymous. She also featured in two New York Times documentaries.

English-language Pakistani newspapers also reacted with horror to the shooting, which it said once again spotlighted the militancy scourge in Pakistan.

“Malala Yousafzai is in a critical condition today and so is Pakistan. We are infected with the cancer of extremism and unless it is cut out we will slide ever further into the bestiality that this latest atrocity exemplifies,” wrote The News.

Despite sporadic outbreaks of violence, the government is trying to encourage tourists to return to Swat, which had been popular with holiday makers for its stunning mountains, balmy summer weather and winter skiing.

On Wednesday, state carrier took journalists on a test flight to Saidu Sharif, Mingora's twin town, for the first time since flights were suspended due to the insurgency.

Comments (52)

  1. Added 12:29 October 11, 2012

    You have made us strong, brave and proud of being the daughters of Khyber Puktunkhuwa ! i salute to your bravery and to your courage dear sister ! and i pick my hands up to Allah to pray for your survival and health! We need you ! Pakistan needs you! As i am typing, tears are flowing down my cheeks because you are the future of Pakistan ! a lit candle that has brightened up many minds to come forward and earn the wealth of education to help and support not only the people of our country but to have a better and peaceful Pakistan just the way Qaid e Azam dreamt of once upon a time. We all stand together today and pray for your survival!

    Anila B. M. Shah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 18:35 October 10, 2012

    What they did is a really sorrowful moment for Pakistani Nation as well as for security. What is the fault of innocent girl who is still in between life and Death? We hope on Allah that she will be recovering soon and will fight again against other.

    Aftab Abbasi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:35 October 10, 2012

    horrible it is a cowardly action our religion tells not to harm even non-muslims. Almighty will ask question on the day of Judgement as it is against our religion ISLAM. Highly shameful action. May ALLAH bless Malala with a new life and give her more courage to fight for her cause which is the need of that remote area and need of our country also. May Allah give a new life to the other two girls which were also injured.

    smjavaidrizvi, lahore, Pakistan

  4. Added 17:35 October 10, 2012

    God Bless Malala , and give wisdom to people, no words how to mention these cruel people.

    Jehangeer Ahmed, Dubai, Pakistan

  5. Added 17:25 October 10, 2012

    may ALLAH give her speedy recovery and shame on these cowards who attack women and children.

    sohail akhter, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 17:18 October 10, 2012

    I think talibans are modifying Islam as per their own wishes. Islam has never taught to us killing of any single life whether Mulims or non-Muslims.

    Zubair, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 16:29 October 10, 2012

    our Prophet (Peace be upon him) does not teach us to harm any one including non-Muslims and also order to educate your daughters along with boys. I pray for Malala Yousifzai for her good health, inshallha she will recover soon

    awan, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 16:23 October 10, 2012

    We will pray for your fast recovery.

    Arockia Anthony, Abu Dhabi, India

  9. Added 15:42 October 10, 2012

    May God give her speedy recovery.......

    Maliha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 15:22 October 10, 2012

    You are just cowardly. Killing innocent people in blasts ... is it there in the Quran? The religion that you follow and the book which u r reading is just of TERRORISM. ALMIGHTY ALLAH and our BELOVED PROPHET have always given the message of PEACE, NOT OF VIOLENCE. DONT BRING ISLAM IN BETWEEN. Girls like Malala can only bring the revolution in this world. No religion says to kill innocent people.May Allah bless her with good health. Aameeen.

    rubina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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