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Malala's wounded friend still haunted by attack

November 10, 2012

malala, kainat, malala day, malala yousafzai, taliban
A handout picture taken on November 7, 2012, and obtained in London on November 9, 2012, shows injured 15 year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai (L) talking with her father Ziauddin at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England. -Photo by AFP

MINGORA: One of the schoolgirls wounded in a Taliban murder attempt on teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said on Saturday she was still haunted by the memory of the bloody attack.

Kainaat Riaz, 16, suffered a hand injury when gunmen attacked her school bus in a bid to kill Malala for the “crime” of promoting girls' education.

Speaking to AFP on the UN-declared “Malala Day” of global action to support the young campaigner and call for better schooling for girls, Riaz said the October 9 attack still made her afraid.

“I am still terrified. I still get tears in my eyes whenever I think of that incident. I saw Malala in the pool of blood in front of me with my eyes,” she told AFP at her home in Mingora, the town in northwestern Swat Valley where the attack took place.

Malala's courage and determination has made her an inspiration for millions and Riaz said she was pleased that despite the Taliban's bid to silence the 15-year-old, Malala's message was being heard around the world.

“She always said that we should do something for girls' education and she did not care about her own life when she was doing this,” she said.

UN education special envoy Gordon Brown, in Pakistan to launch efforts to help the government boost education, phoned Riaz on Saturday to ask about her health and studies.

In Mingora security fears meant Malala's schoolmates could not hold a public demonstration for her, but they marked the UN day with a special assembly and prayers.

“My message on this day for Malala is that the whole nation is praying for her and she will be among us very soon,” Riaz said.