A PAKISTANI SCHOOLGIRL shot in the head by the Taliban showed signs of improvement by moving her limbs today, the military said, though she remains unconscious and on a ventilator.
The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who campaigned for the right to an education, has been denounced worldwide and by the Pakistani authorities, who have offered a reward of more than $100,000 for the capture of her attackers.
“The sedation given to Malala was reduced today so that neurosurgeons could do their clinical assessment and as a result of it Malala responded and moved her hands and feet,” military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said.
“It is a positive development,” Bajwa told a press conference near Army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, close to the capital Islamabad, where Malala is being treated in a military hospital. ”As per doctors, (the) condition of Malala is stable.”
A team of specialist doctors are providing “constant care” to Malala and all “contingencies” were in place in case they decide to move her abroad for further treatment, the general said. ”It is a case of serious head injury and the progress is very slow in it.”
Two other girl students wounded with Malala were “also being taken care of at places where they can get best treatment”, he said, without elaborating.
Bajwa said that all available resources were being used to investigate the incident and some arrests had been made, but he declined to say how many people were currently in custody and how many had been let go.
Asked whether the military might now consider launching an offensive against the Taliban in their tribal area stronghold of North Waziristan, on the Afghan border, Bajwa said: “Such decisions are not taken overnight.”
A military statement earlier said: “(The) health condition of Malala continues to remain satisfactory. Her vitals are okay and she is still on ventilator.”
Prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Malala yesterday, paying tribute to her and two friends who were also wounded when a gunman boarded their school bus on Tuesday and opened fire.
“It was not a crime against an individual but a crime against humanity and an attack on our national and social values,” he told reporters, pledging renewed vigour in Pakistan’s struggle with Islamist militancy.
Bajwa yesterday said the next 36 to 48 hours would be critical for Malala.