News / Asia

Pakistan Police: Arrests Made in Child Activist Shooting

Pakistani protesters hold poster of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, Karachi, Oct. 11, 2012.
Pakistani protesters hold poster of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, Karachi, Oct. 11, 2012.
VOA News
Pakistani police have arrested several suspects in the shooting of a 14-year-old girl internationally recognized for documenting atrocities committed by the Taliban.

Officials say the arrests took place in the northwestern Swat Valley, where Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck Tuesday by Taliban gunmen as she left school.

Few other details were released on the arrests.

Earlier Friday, a Pakistani military spokesman said Yousafzai is in "satisfactory" condition.  Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said the next few days will be critical in the recovery of Yousafzai, who remains unconscious and on a ventilator.

  • An ambulance crew and their police escort await the arrival of an air ambulance carrying 14-year-old injured Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, at Birmingham International airport in central England October 15, 2012.
  • The plane carrying Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen, arrives at Birmingham airport, England October, 15, 2012.
  • The ambulance carrying Malala Yousufzai leaves Birmingham airport, England, Oct. 15, 2012.
  • An ambulance transfers Malala Yousafzai upon her arrival in Birmingham, central England on October 15, 2012.
  • Malala Yousufzai is brought out of a hospital on a stretcher in Rawalpindi before being flown to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
  • Nepalese students take part in a candlelight vigil to express their support for Malala Yousafzai, depicted in photograph at left, in Katmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2012.
  • Pakistani students sing as they hold pictures of Malala Yousufzai during a tribute at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 15, 2012.
  • Pakistani schoolgirls pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai at their school yard in Gujranwala, Pakistan, October 15, 2012.
  • A supporter of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reacts while holding a poster of  Malala Yousufzai during a rally to condemn the attack in Karachi, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
  • Supporters of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), attend a rally to condemn the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Karachi, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
  • Pakistani Christians pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Lahore, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
  • Women supporters of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek protest to condemn the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Islamabad, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
  • Pakistani students pray for the recovery of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, in Peshawar, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
  • Teachers recite verses from the Koran as they pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai, Peshawar, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
  • Pakistani girls display a poster while sitting at their desk, as their teacher, not shown, talks to them about  Malala Yousafzai, Islamabad, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
  • Pakistani worshippers pray for the recovery of Malala Yousafzai during Friday prayers in a Mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
  • Women hold candles during a rally condemning the attack on Malala Yousafzai, Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.
  • A student holds a placard with a picture of schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai.
 
A Taliban spokesman in the Swat Valley said Friday the group's leaders decided a few months ago to kill Yousafzai, and assigned gunmen to carry it out.

Pakistanis at mosques across the country prayed Friday for Yousafzai's recovery.

Yousafzai is being treated at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, Pakistan's top military hospital in Rawalpindi.  Doctors say she has a 70 percent chance of surviving.

The Taliban says she was "pro-West," and that she denounced the militant group and called U.S. President Barack Obama her idol.

Yousafzai is renowned for documenting Taliban atrocities in the area near her home in Swat Valley, and for promoting education for women.  She wrote under a pseudonym - Gul Makai - in a blog published by the BBC.

In her blog, Yousufzai described life under the Taliban in 2008 and 2009, when militants carried out beheadings and other violence in the territory they controlled, large areas of the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

In Geneva Friday, a group of U.N. experts urged Pakistan's government to ensure that school children, particularly girls, are protected in the country, and that extremist groups do not prevent Pakistanis from realizing their human rights.

The experts said trying to assassinate a 14-year-old girl who is supporting the rights of girls to receive an education is a "shocking" attack on human rights defenders in Pakistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 13, 2012 2:31 PM
Pakistan is backward. Pakistan is islamist. Pakistan is this.., Pakistan is that.... The whole trouble lies in the fact that all islamic societies are closed door iron curtains that refuse to allow even children's curiosity. In a country where children cannot ask question why they are always carried about in cartons like packages in the name of wearing of jijab and all that, in a country where children are not allowed to read anything about other walks of life except islam, in a country where it is a taboo for women to even contribute to the making of choice of husband for themselves but are given away without consideration for their emotion: shooting of innocent children cannot but look ordinary. Taliban or not, Pakistan must open up to the rights and freedoms of the children and women to contribute to the choices especially concerning them. Such edicts as the blasphemy law MUST be wiped out of circulation and people should be allowed to ask questions. Because the islamic world lack wise counselors and teachers they make laws that prohibit questions about their faith. Taliban is an expression of the fear that islam may go out of circulation, and if not checked, its action will wittingly or unwittingly put islam out of circulation in many parts of the world.

by: marge from: usa
October 12, 2012 7:37 PM
I guess if I was a man in Pakistan, I would feel threatened by some little girl trying to teach me how to spell cat.These men are such idiots.

by: bill collins from: usa
October 12, 2012 4:43 PM
attitudes toward girls and women are horrifying !

by: Pierre from: North Carolina
October 12, 2012 3:31 PM
The talibans have challenged someone much stronger than themselves, or any army, for that matter. They have attacked a target harder than the finest steel, sharper than any blade, and more resilient than the thickest kevlar. They also have exposed the moral rot that keeps them moving.

by: Brian Smithen from: Washington
October 12, 2012 3:22 PM
The so called tough Taliban are frightened of a 14 year old Muslim girl, enough to try to kill her. First shows that they're organization has nothing to do with religion, second shows they are a bunch of cowards wanting to murder a child. Third shows the real story, that their aim is control, to keep woman as slaves and nothing to do with religion but to fight women becoming independent and gaining power.

by: loc from: Qld Australia
October 12, 2012 3:20 PM
This act by the Taliban realy does show their true colours. Grown men gunning down a 14 year old girl simply because of her opinions.

by: Personage from: USA
October 12, 2012 3:19 PM
I do hope the young girl achieves a full recovery. We must understand the girl was a Taliban statement target.
The real issue here is the Taliban whose forces have grown over the past several years. If they wanted to they could have blown up the entire school and killed all the girls. Being the depraved cowards they are, targeting the 14 year old girl was easier and with less blowback from the international community.
Unless the Taliban changes it's stance on human rights and freedoms afforded to most of the civilized world they will continue to commit egregious heinous crimes against innocent people and cultural groups.
I wouldn't put too much hope in that happening considering the typically archaic ideologies of the entire region. This fact alone contributes the expansion of the Taliban because the peoples of the region are not sure what to do and are easily swayed.
The ideals of modernity have long been viewed as evils in the world. We are up against a rock and a hard place when trying to eradicate the Taliban cultural convictions and emancipate those under their imposing rule. I don't see any other recourse other than war leading to defeat of the enemy - no one is ever going to talk them down.

by: Ian from: Oregon
October 12, 2012 3:14 PM
It's downright pathetic that any lone 14-year-old girl, doing anything, anywhere, is considered a credible threat by any "organization".

Absolutely pathetic that this is even on their radar. Scared of a 14-year-old girl?

by: Debbie from: United States
October 12, 2012 3:13 PM
It is truly sad that the rights of such brave young ladies don't exist in some countries still. I respect this child for speaking out for the rights of women in her country where they virtually are treated less then, treated as no more then property. She is a hero for women everywhere.

by: Wayne from: US
October 12, 2012 3:09 PM
The Pakistanis now need to stop supporting the Afgan Taliban, which they have supported since the end to the Soviet war. They think it is ok to impose the Taliban on Afgans, but they are now getting more and more of their own medicine.
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