Malala Yousafzai, born in 1997, is a Pakistani activist known for fighting for education rights for girls under the Taliban regime. She was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize for her cause of education. On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala in her head and neck in an assassination attempt. Pakistan authorities subsequently offered an US$100,000 bounty on capture of the attacker. She remains in critical condition.
Taliban attack on teen education activist sparks outrage
Girl shot by Taliban still in critical condition as Obama joins chorus of outrage at attack and US$100,000 reward is offered to find gunmen
A Pakistani child activist shot in the head by the Taliban was airlifted to the country's top military hospital for specialist treatment yesterday, still in a critical condition, officials said.
The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai on a school bus in the Swat valley has been denounced worldwide and by the Pakistani authorities, who have offered a reward of more than US$100,000 for the capture of her attackers.
Two of her friends were also injured in the attack, carried out as retribution for Malala's campaign for the right to an education during a two-year Taliban insurgency in Swat that the army claimed to have crushed in 2009.
But as she spent a second day in intensive care questions are mounting about how the attack could have happened in the first place and how the perpetrators simply walked away in an area with a police and army presence.
"Now she needs post surgery care. The doctors recommended that AFIC (Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology) has better facilities for post-surgery care," military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said.
Another official later confirmed she had arrived by helicopter in Rawalpindi, the twin city of the capital Islamabad and the headquarters of the Pakistan army. Bajwa said Malala was unconscious and that the next 24 hours would be crucial.
On Wednesday, she underwent an operation to remove the bullet from between her shoulders in a military hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
"She has been put on a ventilator for two days. The bullet has affected some part of the brain, but there is a 70 per cent chance that she will survive," one of her doctors, Mumtaz Khan, said.
Mehmoodul Hasan, one of Malala's relatives, said doctors were sending her medical reports abroad for advice.
"They are checking if better facilities are available in the UK or Dubai or any other country, then they will decide about sending her abroad, otherwise they will treat her here," said Hasan.
US President Barack Obama, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Pakistani leaders have expressed horror at the attack on a girl who won admiration for daring to speak out during the Taliban insurgency, which the army said it had crushed in 2009.
Obama believed the shooting was "reprehensible and disgusting and tragic", White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "Directing violence at children is barbaric, it's cowardly, and our hearts go out to her and the others who were wounded as well as to their families."
Malala won global attention for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls' schools and terrorised the valley before the army intervened.
She was just 11 then, and her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls denied an education by Islamist militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting local Taliban since 2007.
The Pakistani provincial government announced a 10 million rupee (US$104,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of Malala's attackers and Interior Minister Rehman Malik has promised to catch the gunmen.
He appealed to Pakistanis to pray today for Malala's recovery at weekly prayers.
Mingora police station chief Ahmad said nearly 200 people had been detained over Malala's shooting, including the bus driver and a school watchman, but that most had been released.
The Taliban, who have killed thousands of people in Pakistan in the past five years, issued a statement saying any female who opposes them should be killed.