Pakistan

Malala making ‘slow and steady progress’

Malala Yousufzai is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.Taliban gunmen in Pakistan on October 9, 2012 shot and seriously wounded Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl who rose to fame for speaking out against the militants, authorities said. — File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani peace activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban, is slowly showing signs of improvement, doctors said Sunday.

An ISPR statement said that Malala had been taken off the ventilator for a while today, DawnNews reported.

Doctors are continuing to monitor Malala’s condition, military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Sunday.

“Doctors have reviewed Malala’s condition and are satisfied,” Bajwa said.

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

“We are waiting for the doctors’ decision – we are ready to follow the doctors’ advice,” he said.

No decision has yet been made on whether to send Malala abroad for treatment, Bajwa told AFP.

Meanwhile, the government said the royal family of the United Arab Emirates plans to send an air ambulance for a 14-year-old schoolgirl in case doctors decide to send her abroad for treatment.

Islamabad’s ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan told a local tv news channel on Sunday that visas are being finalised for the crew and six doctors who will accompany the flight.

Khan said arrangements have been made to treat the girl, Malala Yousufzai, at three hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Pakistani military said Sunday that no decision has been taken to send the girl abroad, but the air ambulance is part of the contingency plan.

The military spokesman had told a news conference on Saturday that all available resources were being used to investigate the shooting, though he declined to say how many people were in custody.

Ahmad Shah, police station chief in the northwestern town of Mingora where Malala was shot has said nearly 200 people were detained over the shooting, including the bus driver and a school watchman, but most had been released.

The shooting has heightened speculation that the army may finally launch a long rumoured offensive against the Taliban in their stronghold of North Waziristan, on the Afghan border.

Asked whether the military might now consider launching an offensive against the Taliban in their tribal area stronghold, Bajwa said: “Such decisions are not taken overnight.”

Taliban gunmen shot Yousufzai on Tuesday for promoting secular views and criticising the movement.

The shooting of 14-year-old 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.

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