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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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
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by: Kevin S from: Champaign
October 12, 2012 2:59 PM
This is what religious partition will get you and the enforcement of religious ideology which is at the source of most worldly problems. To quote Christoher Hitchens "The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted."


by: Jeff from: New England
October 12, 2012 2:51 PM
This is all you need to know about the Taliban. That they would try to assasinate a 14 year old girl for promoting education for women is abhorrant. It shows what cowards they are.

As Maniyan said, there are not many people in the world who display the courage that this young lady has.


by: Jeff Kuryk
October 12, 2012 12:55 PM
The only way to dilute the corrosive influence of religious extremists, of all denominations, is to realize there are many ways to infuse one's life with meaning - not just one! To explore this topic further, watch the YouTube video "What is the Meaning of Life 101?"


by: John from: Alaska
October 12, 2012 12:51 PM
It's up to the Pakistanis to rid their world of the Taliban. If they don't do it soon, we can take it as a sign that they don't want to. Then we can pack up, cut them off and leave. They hate us so what are we doing there? If they can't tolerate western ways, why should the west tolerate their ways?


by: dave from: united states
October 12, 2012 12:26 PM
There are few who surpass the courage of this girl,anywhere


by: Maniyan from: Bangalore, India
October 12, 2012 11:57 AM
The Noble Peace Winner for 2013 should be Malala.

In Response

by: Steve from: Germany
October 12, 2012 4:12 PM
Agreed - Malala is the hero of the World.

In Response

by: Salim Khan from: Washington DC
October 12, 2012 3:44 PM
I am from Pakistan and totally agree with you guys. These are extremist people who have hijacked the country.

In Response

by: ed from: ny
October 12, 2012 12:46 PM
agreed, Maniyan

In Response

by: Jenniferwriter from: Missouri, USA
October 12, 2012 12:30 PM
I agree. What a brave, brave young lady. I am in awe of her.

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