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Pakistani Police Arrest Taliban Members for Shooting Heroic Girl

Pakistani women hold up pictures of Malala

Several suspects were arrested earlier today in Pakistan for the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the heroic girl who was targeted by the Taliban after she became an international symbol of courage and bravery for her diary penned for the BBC speaking out on childrens’ rights and girls’ education in her native land.

Her shooting shook the entire nation of Pakistan as across the land Pakistanis held services to pray for her recovery. Pakistan’s prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, visited the hospital in Rawalpindi where Malala is being treated to pay his respects and check on her condition.

The girl was first brought by helicopter to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar, where doctors removed the bullet from her neck. Yesterday she was moved to a hospital in Rawalpindi, the town where the Pakistani army is headquartered near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

Yousafzai is on a ventilator in stable condition, according to Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa. Bajwa said the bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine. He couldn’t yet determine whether she had any lasting head or brain damage.

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

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.



A Taliban spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, gave chilling details about how the terrorist group targeted the girl. He said the top leadership of the Taliban’s Swat Valley chapter decided two months ago to kill her in a carefully planned attack after her family ignored repeated warnings.

Ahmad said her family had been warned three times, most recently 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.

Afzal Khan Afridi, the police chief in Mingora, where the shooting took place, said arrests had been made but wouldn’t 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.

According to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but police knew who masterminded the attack and were vigorously pursuing their capture.

The school Malala attends, which is owned and operated by her father, reopened toda though many students stayed home. The atmosphere at the school was described by the Associated Press as “grim,” as shocked students and teachers were still trying to process what happened to their star student just 300 yards or so away from the school.

“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.

A seventh-grade girl who also was wounded in the leg said they were leaving school when the attack occurred.

“Two bearded armed men stopped our school van and asked for Malala and opened fire from behind the van,” the girl, named Shazia, said from the hospital where she and Yousafzai were first taken.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said in calls to the media that Yousafzai was targeted because she generated “negative propaganda” about Muslims.

“She considers President Obama as her ideal. Malala is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity,” Ihsan said.


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