Bounty offered in Pakistan activist shooting

Provincial government offers over $100,000 for capture of Pakistani Taliban attackers who shot teenage activist in Swat – Published on AlJazeera, by , Oct. 10, 2012.

The Pakistani government has offered a Rs10 million ($105,000) bounty for the capture of the Pakistani Taliban assailants who shot Malala Yousafzai, a teenage rights activist campaigning for girls’ education, in the northwestern Swat Valley, officials say. Yousafzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, was shot in the head and neck on Tuesday, and has since undergone surgery to remove a bullet lodged in her skull. She was attacked on her way home from school in Mingora, the main town of Swat Valley, and is being treated at Peshawar’s Combined Military Hospital. 

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that Yousafzai had been sedated following her surgery, and that doctors would reassess her condition in 48 hours. He said she was in stable condition, but was not out of danger. “The government has decided to award Rs10 million rupees to whoever helps us identify the attackers and their names will be kept secret,” he said. Rehman Malik, the country’s interior minister, said on Wednesday that authorities had identified the attackers, but no arrests had been made … //

… Taliban’s justification:

  • The Taliban said it was not only “allowed” to target young girls, but it was “obligatory” when such a person “leads a campaign against Islam and sharia”.
  • The group also criticised media coverage of the shooting, saying: “After this incident, [the] media poured out all of its smelly propaganda against Taliban mujahideen with their poisonous tongues.
  • ” [...] will the blind media pay any attention to the hundreds of respectful sisters whom are in the secret detention centres of ISI [Pakistan's spy agency] and suffering by their captivity?”
  • Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Raja Pervez Ashraf, prime minister, both strongly condemned the attack on Yousafzai, as did Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general; Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state,  and other world leaders.
  • Pakistan’s national airline has placed an air ambulance on standby to take Yousafzai abroad for treatment if needed, government sources said, but medics are wary of lengthy travel times given her unstable condition.
  • Officials have rushed to issue her a passport.
  • Private schools in Swat Valley shut their doors in protest on Wednesday, though government schools were opened as per usual.
  • The local chapter of the TTP, led by Maulana Fazlullah, controlled much of Swat from 2007 to 2009, but were driven out by an army offensive in July 2009.
  • Local reports indicate, however, that the group was only driven into the surrounding areas, rather than being wiped out, and it has since staged a resurgence.

… Serious questions:

  • Tuesday’s shooting in broad daylight in Mingora raises serious questions about security more than three years after the army claimed to have crushed the local Taliban.
  • Yousafzai rose to international prominence as an 11-year-old in 2009, writing an anonymous diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban, before featuring in two documentaries made by the New York Times.
  • She also featured in an Al Jazeera documentary.
  • She had famously stood against the TTP’s attempts to stop girls from going to school, and was awarded the National Peace Award for Youth.
  • The international children’s advocacy group KidsRights Foundation nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl put forward for the award.
  • Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by the Taliban and other armed groups across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting such groups since 2007.

(full text and a video included in the text: Asma Jahangir, human rights lawyer, discusses the state of women’s rights in Pakistan, 4.17 min).

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