Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Pakistani girls display a poster while sitting at their desk, as their teacher, not shown, talks to them about 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by a Taliban gunman for her role in promoting girls' education in the Swat Valley where she lives, in a school in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. A Pakistani military spokesman says Yousufzai is in "satisfactory" condition but cautions that the next few days will be critical. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Pakistani police make arrests in shooting of girl
First Published Oct 12 2012 12:48 pm • Last Updated Oct 12 2012 12:48 pm

Mingora, Pakistan • Pakistani police have arrested a number of suspects in the case of a 14-year-old girl shot and wounded by the Taliban for promoting education for girls and criticizing the fundamentalist Islamic movement, officials said Friday.

The shooting of Malala Yousufzai along with two classmates while they were on their way home from school Tuesday horrified people in Pakistan and internationally. The shooting has been followed by an outpouring of support for a girl who earned the enmity of the Taliban for publicizing their acts and speaking about the importance of education for girls.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying that the girl was promoting "Western thinking."

Providing more details, a Taliban spokesman said the top leadership of the Taliban’s Swat Valley chapter decided two months ago to kill Yousufzai in a carefully planned attack after her family ignored repeated warnings.

Police have been questioning people in the town of Mingora, where the shooting took place.

Mingora police chief Afzal Khan Afridi said arrests had been made, but he declined to give any details about the number of people detained or what role they’re suspected in having in the shooting. He said he did not want to endanger the ongoing investigation.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters Friday that the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but he said investigators had identified the masterminds and efforts were under way to capture all those involved.

The Taliban spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, said her family had been warned three times — the most recent warning coming last week — before the decision was made to execute her.

Ahmad said the local Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah and his deputies selected three attackers, including two trained sharpshooters, who carefully studied the girl’s route home from school.

Even before the Taliban took over the Swat Valley, Fazlullah’s radio broadcasts spread fear among residents in the area. The group first started to exert its influence in 2007 and quickly extended its reach to much of the valley by the next year. They set about imposing their will on residents by forcing men to grow beards, preventing women from going to the market and blowing up many schools — the majority for girls.


story continues below
story continues below

Malala wrote about these practices in a journal for the BBC under a pseudonym when she was just 11. After the Taliban were pushed out of the valley in 2009 by the Pakistani military, she became even more outspoken in advocating for girls’ education. She appeared frequently in the media and was given one of the country’s highest honors for civilians for her bravery.

Fazlullah, along with much of the Swat Taliban’s top leadership, escaped the offensive and is believed to be operating from a base in eastern Afghanistan and sending fighters back across the border to attack northwest Pakistan.

Pakistanis across the country held services to pray for her recovery Friday. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf visited the hospital in Rawalpindi where she’s being treated to pay his respects and check on her condition.

The school she attended in the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley also reopened. The atmosphere was grim as children and teachers tried to come to terms with what happened to their star pupil who was shot in a bus roughly 300 meters (yards) from the school.

Police were deployed around the school, but many students still stayed away.

"We have decided to open the school after two days to overcome the fear among our students that gripped them due to the attack," said one of the teachers, Zafar Ali Khan.

The school is owned and operated by the teenage activist’s father, who takes great pride in his daughter’s accomplishments and is a champion of education for girls.

The girl was initially airlifted from Mingora to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar, where doctors removed a bullet from her neck. On Thursday, she was transferred to a hospital in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani army is headquartered near the capital, Islamabad.

Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said she is being kept on a ventilator and is in stable condition. Bajwa said the bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine, but it was too soon to say whether she had any significant head injury.

"Her blood pressure is normal. Heartbeat is normal, and thanks to God, her condition is satisfactory," Bajwa said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.