Monday 11 December 2017

Malala (14) shows signs of recovery after shooting

A student holds an image of Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban, during a rally in Lahore
A student holds an image of Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban, during a rally in Lahore
Women supporters of religious political party Sunni Tehreek hold a placard and party flags in support of Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on October 9 by the Taliban
Malala Yousufzai is brought out of a hospital on a stretcher in Rawalpindi

Rob Crilly Islamabad

A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban is making steady progress in her recovery and has moved her hands and feet, according to military doctors treating her.

Malala Yousafzai (14) remains in a drug-induced coma and is breathing through a ventilator.

The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt last Tuesday, an attack which has horrified the country and drawn widespread condemnation.

"Doctors have reviewed Malala's condition and are satisfied," military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

"She is making slow and steady progress which is in keeping with expectations. Recovery from this type of injury is always slow."

He added that no decision had been taken about flying her overseas for treatment.

She is being treated at Pakistan's top military hospital in Rawalpindi.

An official in the United Arab Emirates said the Gulf state was ready to send a plane to fly Malala abroad if necessary.

Pakistan's ambassador to the UAE, Jamil Ahmed Khan, told Pakistani television the air ambulance would be on standby in case it was needed.

If the Taliban thought they could stop girls going to school with the attempted murder of the 14-year-old, then they reckoned without her friends.

The school she attended in the former Taliban stronghold of the Swat Valley has remained shut since she was shot in the neck and head on Tuesday.

But that did not stop about 100 of her schoolmates assembling on Friday morning to pray for her safety. Some cried, while others described her as a role model, blogging about Taliban brutality when even the government turned a blind eye.

It is not safe to reveal names, but one teenager, a year above Malala at school, said the Taliban -- engaged in a campaign to burn, bulldoze or bomb girls' schools -- could not destroy their dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers and professors.

"We will never be subdued by the militants and their acts," she said, clutching her headscarf in the modern classroom.

"Islam gives us the right to education and we will fight for our rights.

"This land needs us and we can only help Pakistan if we can complete our education."


The attempted assassination of a schoolgirl by fundamentalist thugs has horrified Pakistan, a country hardened to violence after years of suicide attacks, sectarian shootings and political murders.

Campaigners hope it will force the country to reassess its tolerance of extremists. The military has hinted that it may finally launch an offensive against militant safe havens in North Waziristan, along the Afghanistan border.

Malala's campaign began when she was only 11, writing a secret diary for the BBC's Urdu Service. It was an immediate hit. She described hiding books at home after the Tehrik-i-Taliban banned girls' education and living in fear that they would throw acid in her face.

She followed up the blog by speaking up for girls' education in a conservative corner of Pakistan, where women are rarely seen outside the home, winning national and international recognition for her work. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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