PESHAWAR, Jan 6: Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, the two students who suffered injuries when Taliban attacked and wounded seriously Malala Yousufzai in October last year, are overwhelmed by the rapid recovery of the 15-year-old education activist and have wished her a happy New Year.

Kainat, 15, a student of class 10th, said that she talked to Malala’s mother last week by telephone and enquired after her health. “I will personally speak with Malala in a couple of days to invite her to come to Swat after her complete recovery,” said a jubilant Kainat.

She said that the news that Malala was sent home temporarily after her recovery was received well by people for the bravery she showed during Taliban-era when men were hesitant to speak.

“We desperately need people like Malala to come and guide us in these trying times. Doctors are focusing on her physical therapy for her rapid rehabilitation,” she quoted Malala’s mother as telling her by telephone.

Kaiant told Dawn from her home in Makan Bagh, Swat that most of the students were unaware about recovery of Malala because local schools were closed for winter vacations. The schools would reopen on March 1, she added.

She said that Malala was very courageous and they wished her good health. “Her fast recovery from critical injuries is a clear sign that our prayers have been answered by Allah Almighty and soon she will be able to live normally,” she said. Kainat said that recovery of Malala was important for the people of Swat because she campaigned for education there and became a global face against the forces, who wanted to stop girls from going to schools.

“A cylinder blast in the locality that killed a woman and wounded seven others on December 4, had scared people and many held us responsible for that,” she said.

Last month, Kainat’s family turned down a government’s offer for provision of a home in Peshawar in view of Taliban’s threats, arguing that they would like a home in Islamabad or abroad.

“Peshawar is not safe. We are safer here because we have police protection round the clock. We demand asylum in a foreign country or at least a home in Islamabad,” Kaiant said.

“God protects brave people and it is exactly what has happened to Malala,” said Shazia, the second girl who was injured in the attack, when asked about her reaction to Malala’s recovery.

She said that it gave her immense pleasure when she heard that Malala was discharged from the hospital. “We discussed Malala’s health extensively before vacations on December 24,” she said, adding all the students were extremely concerned about her.

She said that presently all the girls were in their homes owing to winter vacations.  Shazia, 14, said that she knew that scale of justice will tilt in favour of Malala and she would rise from the bed.

“She is a ray of hope for million of girls around the world. She championed boldly the cause of female education in hard times,” she said.

She said that Malala always insisted that they should attend school even during the two-year (2007-2009) Taliban’s rule. “She deserves praise for what she has done and God has awarded her a second chance to live in recognition of her matchless efforts,” Shazia said. She said that her family also relied on police escort but lived under the shadow of constant threat because target killings continued in the city. “We ask for protection in Islamabad or abroad,” she said.

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