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Malala to be provided best medical treatment: Zardari

October 09, 2012

In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) office on October 9, 2012, Pakistani army doctors give treatment to injured Malala Yousafzai, 14, at an army hospital following an attack by gunmen – Photo by AFP
In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) office on October 9, 2012, Pakistani army doctors give treatment to injured Malala Yousafzai, 15, at an army hospital following an attack by gunmen – Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday directed for sending National Peace Award winner and young Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday in Mingora city of Swat,  abroad for medical treatment.

According to Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, arrangements were being made to implement the President's directive.

Surgeons treating Malala had earlier recommended the government to send her abroad for treatment to save her life.

Quoting surgeons, who conducted her detailed checkup, the official sources said here Tuesday that the single bullet, which hit her head, had pierced down to backbone. Swelling on the scull does not allow surgery right now, they added.

“In such a condition, she immediately needs a sophisticated surgical procedure, which is not possible in the country,” they opined.

Malala along with three other schoolmates sustained bullet injuries when some unknown assailants opened fire on their school van in Mingora early in the day. Later, she was shifted to CMH Peshawar.

Pakistani Taliban have taken responsibility for attacking Malala Yousufzai, who with another girl was injured in the attack on their school van in Swat on Tuesday.

Speaking to Dawn.com’s correspondent Zahir Shah Sherazi from an undisclosed location, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the TTP accepts responsibility of the attack as Malala was propagating anti-Taliban and ‘secular’ thoughts among the youth of the area.

A team of senior doctors late Tuesday completed her medical examination in a combined military hospital (CMH) and stated her condition as critical.

“We have thoroughly examined her, she is in critical condition. The bullet travelled from her head and then lodged in the back shoulder, near the neck,” a doctor in the CMH told AFP, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to media.

“Next three to four days are important for her life. She is in the intensive care unit and semi-conscious, although not on the ventilator,” he said.

Malala was returning home from her school in Swat’s Mingora area when her van was attacked by the gunmen.

Certain media outlets reported that the gunmen attacked the van on identifying the young children’s rights activist.

Sources said Malala was hit by couple of bullets to her neck and head.

Both injured girls were taken to the Saidu Sharif Hospital. According to doctors, Malala was now out of danger. However, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered to shift her to a Peshawar hospital swiftly through a helicopter. The prime minister has strongly condemned the incident.

The incident spread fear and panic among the local residents.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed the shooting and blamed the attack on terrorists.

Yousafzai is 15 years of age and has already earned international fame for raising voice against Taliban oppression in Swat.

She was honoured with a first ever National Peace by the government and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by advocacy group KidsRights Foundation in 2011 for being an inspiration to her friends by standing up against repression as her namesake did in Afghanistan in the 19th century.

Malala became the voice of all the girls in Swat when she began maintaining a diary on the website of the BBC under the pen name of “Gul Makai.”

Various Political leaders and public office bearers, including the president, the prime minister and other parliamentarians condemned the attack.

The Pakistan army in 2009 effectively crushed a two-year Taliban insurgency in Swat where cleric Maulana Fazlullah presided over a brutal campaign of beheadings, violence and multiple attacks on girls’ schools.

After fierce fighting displaced around two million people, the army declared the region back under control in July 2009.

Despite sporadic outbreaks of violence, the government has since tried to encourage tourism in Swat.

It had been popular with Pakistani and Western holidaymakers for its stunning mountains, balmy summer weather and winter skiing.