Dawn News

Malala airlifted to top military hospital in Rawalpindi

Activists carry photographs of Malala Yousufzai during a protest rally against her assassination attempt, Lahore, Oct 10, 2012. — Photo by AFP

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani child activist shot in the head by the Taliban is still in a critical condition and is being airlifted to the country's top military hospital for specialist treatment, officials said Thursday.

The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai on a school bus in the Swat valley 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.

Two of her school friends were also injured in the attack, carried out as retribution for Malala's campaign for the right to an education during a two-year Taliban insurgency in Swat that the army claimed to have crushed in 2009.

But as she spent a second day in intensive care questions are mounting about how the attack could have happened in the first place and how the perpetrators simply walked away in an area with a police and army presence.

“Now she needs post surgery care. The doctors recommended that AFIC (Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology) has better facilities for post-surgery care,” military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa told AFP.

Another official confirmed that a helicopter transporting her from the hospital in Peshawar to Rawalpindi, the twin city of the capital Islamabad and the headquarters of the Pakistan army, was making the 25-minute journey with Malala on board.

Bajwa said Malala was still unconscious and that the next 24 hours would be crucial to her progress. On Wednesday, she underwent an operation to remove the bullet from between her shoulders.

One of her doctors, Mumtaz Khan, told AFP that Malala had improved since the operation but that she was still seriously ill.

“She has been put on a ventilator for two days. The bullet has affected some part of the brain, but there is a 70 per cent chance that she will survive,” he said.

Mehmoodul Hasan, one of Malala's relatives, said the family had been told that doctors were sending her medical reports abroad for advice.

“They are checking if better facilities are available in the UK or Dubai or any other country, then they will decide about sending her abroad, otherwise they will treat her here,” said Hasan.

US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Pakistani leaders have expressed horror at the attack on a girl who won admiration for daring to speak out during the Taliban insurgency, which the army said it had crushed in 2009.

Obama believed the shooting was “reprehensible and disgusting and tragic,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

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.

She was just 11 then, and 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.

The Pakistani provincial government announced a 10 million rupee ($104,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of Malala's attackers and 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 the scenic valley which Pakistan has been trying to restore as a tourist destination.

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

Commentators have questioned whether anything will really change in Pakistan after the shooting, despite a call from the army chief General Ashfaq Pervez 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 military has 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.

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Comments (74) Closed

Oct 11, 2012 08:15pm
Keep going, Ahsan. Don't look in the mirror and every thing will be OK.
Oct 11, 2012 11:49am
Malala, live to let live the dreams of your sisters scared away from the light of knowledge by the messengers of darkness
Rukhsar Ali
Oct 12, 2012 06:53pm
We are really sad over the shooting of young and brave girl Malala. We wish her early recovery. Aameen She was a symbol of brave and our beloved country Pakistan is in need of such brave and compitent youth.
Adeel Khalid
Oct 11, 2012 03:12pm
Get Well Soon Malala !
Oct 13, 2012 03:43am
It is heart shattering to see such a young brilliant future leader and scholar like Malala being shot in the head, instead of being appreciated in her own land. Her family should be allowed leave Pakistan with Malala where they are more likely to maintain their integrity. True Islam promotes attainment of higher level of knowledge and practice for all humanity so they may live in peace. I hope this young hero recovers and accomplish all her dreams. The angels wept, the heaven cried upon such a horrific attack on a young girl whose mission is to bring true enlightenment into the tender hearts and minds of countless disadvantage children. Yes, the Earth owes this gem a salute due to her courage and wisdom! I am so proud of you Malala!
Oct 11, 2012 08:50pm
anyhow i feel sad for this girl..
Muhammad Farooq
Oct 11, 2012 12:59pm
What did this child do to deserve these bullets? Which version of Islam forbids women from acquiring education or speaking up for one's right. What kind of convoluted thoughts the perpetrators of this crime have in their minds? These are some of the questions we need to answer and try to see how we can resolve them. Best wishes and prayers for Malala for her speedy recovery.
Oct 12, 2012 01:02am
If you believe what you have written then you naive. In Pakistan Ahamadis and Hindus cannot follow their religion and Muslims all over the world are killing each other. Read your newspaper without closing your eyes to the news of bombs which kill maim and destroy property which happens very often in Pakistan. Muslims were never a peace loving mob. Read your history.
Jesus Do Futuro
Oct 11, 2012 11:14pm
Cyrus Howell
Oct 11, 2012 01:04pm
I hope that was not the case, that she was struggling to breathe on her own but we can't rule that out can we?
Cyrus Howell
Oct 11, 2012 01:05pm
If she does not live long she has done more than most in her young lifetime.
behram rafiqe
Oct 11, 2012 09:58pm
oh my dough tor I am crying and praying for your health my pray she will be able to speak in shalla..
Oct 11, 2012 09:48am
Malala, I am Hindu and living abroad. I pray to god and in fact gods of all religion for your betterment. Come on get up and feel well. You can do this. My prayers are with you. With love my dear child. Ananda
Oct 11, 2012 10:00am
May god help Malala we pray for her survival and an longlife.
Oct 11, 2012 06:20pm
Yes....I am a HINDU........but for her I'll say...........INSHALLAH!!!!
Awais Lodhi
Oct 11, 2012 05:02pm
let the whole world know that we the Pakistanis are suffering terribly at the hands of these barbaric people, we are not terrorists, we are MALALA !!!
SGR (India)
Oct 11, 2012 04:54pm
Malala is no more just a teenage girl from Pakistan. She is now a wolrd icon for women's liberation. Malala, your life is precious and we pray for your long life...
Oct 11, 2012 11:33pm
What Malala was doing is the real jihad. Those who shot her and their kind are the real kafirs. May Allah give malala and her classmates who were injured a speedy recovery and grant her all the success in this world and the hereafter.
Oct 11, 2012 12:27pm
Actually its even worse. She was not on ventilator and now is being put on it, meaning her ability to sustain breathing on her own has deteriorated. May she get shifa soon. I wish they had called a foreign expert as soon as they started to plan for surgery
Oct 11, 2012 10:04am
She must be taken abroad for better treatment. Still on ventilators means that she is not recovering very well. She is still in critical stage.
Oct 11, 2012 06:19pm
Today I am every Pakistani who is praying for Malala. May GOD bless her and hope recovers very soon to fight for her fellow citizens. I request everyone .........Hindu,Muslim,Christian,Sikh,.all..... please include Malala in your prayers today.........Pakistan needs people like her......the world needs people like her.
arfa khan
Oct 11, 2012 04:31pm
please pray for malaala pleaze
Om Bali, Ph. D.
Oct 11, 2012 04:31pm
Darling child and world Guru! May Allah grant you a healthy life back so that you may continue your teaching us ignorant ones to live in peace and knowledge.--A Hindu refugee from the Land of the Paks--Pakistan
eisha :)
Oct 11, 2012 04:23pm
dear malala,inshallah u will be fine soon........we will all pray fr u..................u r the shinning star on the surface of pakistan.................u r the brilliant guy........:) and u will come back sooon with a more confidence,power,brightness,love,and kindness.
Oct 11, 2012 04:13pm
I am from India(Hyderabad), Praying for Malala from deep of my heart. You will be ok soon.
Oct 11, 2012 05:41pm
Please recover Malala. The world needs you!
Oct 11, 2012 05:42pm
Loved your reply most, with tears in my eyes. May God save her and her companions too. The country , the whole world needs this icon of light to remain lighting. God bless u Malala.
Oct 11, 2012 05:43pm
But these Talib's are threat not only to pakistan but to humanity.
Oct 11, 2012 03:53pm
I agree, why there is no news of two other girls. They are also daughters of this soil.
Ghulam Ishaq
Oct 11, 2012 11:22am
If there are Pakistanis that still sympathize with Taliban after this incident, then there is no hope of Pakistan ever progressing.
Oct 11, 2012 08:32pm
Unfortunately she represents only 2% of Pakistanis who are talking against extremism, let's be real here.
Jow Ewing
Oct 11, 2012 10:51pm
Wake up dude. This is their version of Islam. You want something different, stop whining and stand up and fight to get you country back. Oh, by the way you may have to die trying. Nothing in life come without cost. Don't wait for others to wake up. If you do, you are just as cowardly as the rest of your countrymen who whine and wait for others to do the job. You all know where the Taliban are, go get them !!!
Khyber Pass
Oct 11, 2012 02:52pm
i cant understand why particularly all non-muslims, seculars and liberals of all are most excited in condemning this attack ? any clues ?
Oct 11, 2012 06:51pm
Malala! keep fighting you brave little girl. Today, there was a drone strike that killed 16 of those savages who are responsible for that attack on you. Since your government and military are uncapable of protecting you, US is taking revenge for you. GO DRONES!!!!
Raja PA
Oct 11, 2012 02:01pm
A very serious question: Why MY is being shifted from one place to another despite her critical condition and a serious operation? Is there any game plan and i do not see Military hospitals equipped good enough - e.g. Aga Khan, or Shuakat Khanum, especially post Op care. In addition, the conditions of other two girls, do not know, if they are being provided due care!!
Oct 11, 2012 01:54pm
I appreciate the true gesture.
Oct 11, 2012 01:43pm
I believe it to be a political ploy to keep her in Pakistan. If she was the daughter of a political or military leader, she would be right now getting care in the west, U.S. of A, in their best hospital under the care of the best doctors of the world. It does not bode well for her recovery or safety...
Oct 11, 2012 12:22pm
yes,all prayers for the kid. i hope atleast this incident will bring end of taliban in pakistan atleast. The sad side is still people think Taliban as heros since they are attaching US. Infact this is the cancer of both countries. Attacking education institution and kids shows how barbaric they can be. Any religion in the world wont be ready to accept this kind of animals.
Oct 11, 2012 07:52pm
apparently there are lots of them...none of the religious parties have come out openly to condemn this attack
Oct 11, 2012 12:18pm
The question is if Malala survives -- and she will -- will she be able to speak because the bullet tore part of her left side of brain where speech centers are?
Oct 11, 2012 05:06pm
all taliban and mullah's in Pakistan should be eliminated...they are disgrace to this society.
capt Khan
Oct 11, 2012 12:15pm
She should be moved abroad ASP.First step from Peshawar to Oxford hospital near London. G-IV airplane (with govt) can fly straight from Peshawar to Oxford.Step2: Based on "credible fear to her life" paper work should be filed with UK and US govts.
zahid malik
Oct 11, 2012 12:15pm
Everything possible must be done to save Malala and the other injured girls. God bless them.
Oct 11, 2012 03:13pm
To Pakistani military & government.... what are you waiting for? the time is ripe.... public support is with you.... go and eliminate this taliban venom once and for all..... start north waziristan operation NOW!!!!
Oct 11, 2012 12:12pm
What is wrong in Pakistan? When the Taliban, the enemy that western troops are fighting in Afganistan, attack children in Pakistan for "thinking western" and many people blame the west for this violence? THE ENEMY OF Pakistan IS The TALIBAN and not the west!...When will you wake up...
Oct 11, 2012 04:45pm
Oct 11, 2012 08:39pm
I agree that West is not the enemy of Pakistan but some of the policies the Western world or in the present case US is following in regards to Pak are partly responsible for creating and breeding the taliban... remember, before the war on terror and all the violence the war brought to Pak there were no Pak taliban...It not just Pak that needs to wake up..the west needs to wake up too and stop the violence they are doing in our lands...
zahid anjum
Oct 11, 2012 11:00am
shame on them who want to kill every real muslim and pakistanies
Oct 11, 2012 01:25pm
she will be able to speak inshallah...
behram rafiqe
Oct 11, 2012 09:20pm
behram rafiqe .I pray to god your betterment come on gat up and feel well you can do.
dr aisha
Oct 11, 2012 09:28pm
Actually there are military hospitals ready to take her in Dubai or UK probably. The nature of the sensitivity of the case is the issue and Pak military has taken responsibility for her care. That's why she is going to military hospitals first otherwise if Aga Khan or Shaukat Khanum take her no military hospital in UK or Dubai will take her then. That's the issue.
Mudassir Hussain
Oct 11, 2012 11:23am
Only a "Taliban" see other "Taliban" as his brother. The type of "Talibans" the world is made acquainted off does not have any thing to do with Islam or the real meaning of Taliban.
Oct 11, 2012 08:37pm
What about the other 2 girls that got injured, are they being taken care of?? let's not forget about them.
Oct 11, 2012 10:48am
oh child i am crying and praying for your health.
Oct 11, 2012 08:11pm
Sunil Sinha
Oct 11, 2012 09:56pm
It such tragic and horrific. A complete coward act by those two men, attempt to kill, specially a school going 14 year old girl. When there were death threats against Malala, government should have taken more extra security measures, but it didnt. How can a government run, when it cannot protect its people.
Oct 11, 2012 11:57am
I hope for her complete recovery - brain injuries seldom cure fully. I only wonder at some comments blaming foreign power and particularla the USA. Listen! The girl was attacked by local people not by Americans. These persons could have attacked American interests - not a defenceless girl. There is no justification in blaming others for cowardly actions of our co-nationals. Let us stop looking elsewhere for our misdeeds.
Oct 11, 2012 11:58am
Everything possible must be done to save Malala and the other injured girls. God bless them.
Oct 11, 2012 06:09pm
My heart goes out to this kid and her family. She is in my prayers and I hope she makes it.
Oct 11, 2012 03:00pm
Shame on the Pakistan military, that taliban is trying to take over Pakistan's dignity.
Oct 12, 2012 01:49am
She is in military hospital for security reasons. Get my point?
Oct 12, 2012 03:46am
Malala is the source of courage that we Pakistanis still have remaining. God will protect her. Ameen.
Jesus Do Futuro
Oct 11, 2012 11:17pm
Jesus Do Futuro
Oct 11, 2012 11:06pm
Oct 11, 2012 10:37am
Malala is not a child, she is a symbol of what 98% of pakistanis are. We are muslims, we are peace loving, we want to live and let others live, we respect other and expect the same. This is an act of extreme brutallity and has nothing to do with Islam and Quran or even Talibans. A Ture Talib ( a student of Quran) can not commit such a criminal offense in the name of Islam. May Malala get well soon and have a long and active life (Ameen).
Cyrus Howell
Oct 11, 2012 10:25am
It is a milestone, a milestone to teach Pakistanis that the Taliban are not their brothers in religion. Those who cannot see that from this perspective prefer to remain blind and do not want to see.
Adeel Khalid
Oct 11, 2012 09:25am
May she live long to mark milestone agaist brutality and opression.
Riz Khan
Oct 11, 2012 02:57pm
how about those dozenz of innocents who get injured more seriously in drone attacks? has govt ever taken notice of them? NEVER! Shame on you and like minded. What a nation and what a govt! SHAME ON U.. She is innocent.. How about those falling victim to Drones every single day? Are they terrorists? Some lose fathers, some lose mothers, some guardians, some sons and the list goes on! Who will speak for them? Such a sham Pakistani media is! SHAME ON U
Oct 12, 2012 12:57am
May she have the strength to continue to defy the Taliban and other conservative Muslims and the pave the way for other Muslims girls the world over to get good education and contribute to their countries.
Oct 11, 2012 06:22pm
Bring her to Delhi....we have better hospitals here
Oct 11, 2012 09:51am
Adeel, I agree with you. Let her live for long and kindly tell Taliban there is no need to use force like this. I am hindu but I grew up with muslims while I was in India. Quran did not tell Taliban to kill this 14 year old girl...
Oct 11, 2012 01:19pm
Malala you are a candle of knowledge.This candle will keep on lighting lighting lighting.....................
naseem ullah
Oct 11, 2012 04:54pm
pleaz pray for my sister malala yousufzai
Oct 11, 2012 11:25pm
An issue might be security. Putting her in Aga Khan/SKMH and creating the possibility of another attack on her which might result in these crazy Taliban going on a rampage inside a hospital. Its not just about her safety but the collateral damage that might result from such an attempt that is probably being kept in mind. I think that might be one of the first things that the people are trying to keep in mind.