Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Shot Pakistani girl responding well to treatmentA teenage Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education has responded well to treatment and impressed doctors with her strength, the British hospital where she was being treated said Tuesday. Experts are optimistic that 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was airlifted Monday to Britain to receive specialized medical care, has a good chance of recovery because unlike adults, the brains of teenagers are still growing and can adapt to trauma better. "Her response to treatment so far indicated that she could make a good recovery from her injuries," the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in central England's Birmingham said in a statement. Despite the early optimism, the full extent of Malala's brain injuries has not been made public and outside experts cautioned it is extremely unlikely that a full recovery of all her brain's functions can be made. Instead, they could only hope that the bullet took a "lucky path" — going through a more "silent," or less active — part of the brain. "You don't have a bullet go through your brain and have a full recovery," said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, chief scientific officer at the New Jersey-based International Brain Research Foundation. Malala was returning home from school in Pakistan last week when she was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group's behavior when they took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived. Two of her classmates were also wounded in the attack and are receiving treatment in Pakistan. She arrived Monday in Britain, where she can be protected from follow-up attacks threatened by the militants. The Taliban have threatened to target Malala again because she promotes "Western thinking." There was some concern for the teenager's safety Tuesday when police stopped and questioned two people who tried to visit Malala, but hospital officials and police stressed there was no threat to the girl's safety. The two people, who claimed to be Malala's relatives, were turned away. "We think it's probably people being over-curious," hospital spokesman Dr. Dave Rosser said. Pakistani doctors at a military hospital earlier removed a bullet from Malala's body that entered her head and headed toward her spine. The military has said she was able to move her legs and hands several days ago when her sedatives were reduced. They have not said whether she suffered any brain damage or other permanent damage. On Monday, the military said damaged bones in Malala's skull will need to be repaired or replaced, and she will need "intensive neuro rehabilitation." The decision to send the girl abroad was taken in consultation with her family, and the Pakistani government will pay for her treatment. Doctors say Malala has an advantage because teens are generally healthier and their bodies have a stronger ability to react to the disruption that the injury causes. "It helps to be young and resilient to weather that storm," Fellus, at the International Brain Research Foundation, said. "Because her brain is continuing to develop at that age, she may have more flexibility in the brain." There's also a psychological aspect to why youngsters have a better shot at recovery. While injured adults often mourn the loss of what they had, teens don't know what they are missing. "They have an amazing capacity for hope," Fellus said. In Malala's case, her strong personality would also help her recover, he added. Still, experts cautioned that it is impossible to say how Malala will do without knowing the path of the bullet and what damages it caused, details that have not been released. "The brain is like real estate," said Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. "Location is everything. "Based on the information we have, it appears that Malala was shot from the front down diagonally, but we don't know what part of the brain the bullet went through, whether it crossed the midline and hit any vessels, or whether the bullet passed through the right or left side of the brain." The attack on the girls horrified people in Pakistan and across the world. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said Malala had become "a symbol of all that is good in us." "The work she did is far higher before God than that which is being done by terrorists in the name of religion," he said at the Economic Cooperation Organization Summit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. "We will continue her bright work." Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has announced a $1 million bounty for Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan, saying he was the one who announced that the Taliban carried out the attack on Malala.
GEO TV REPORTINGInterior Minister Rehman Malik has announced Rs. 100 million reward for the capture of Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan. Ehsan is the spokesman for the TTP who claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala Yousafzai and two other girls from her school. Malik speaking to media after meeting Kianat one of the girls injured alongside Malala once again reiterated that there had been no decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan. The Interior Minister said the attack on Malala Yousafzai had been planned in Afghanistan.
EDITORIAL:Daily TimesAddressing gatherings of his supporters in Karachi and elsewhere, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain assured the Pakistan army his party’s full support for a military operation against the Taliban. The announcement carried a reminder to the army that if it keeps musing over the options to wipe out the scourge of terrorism, the people of Pakistan would reach out to other forces to get rid of the terrorists. The gatherings were held to express solidarity with Malala Yousufzai. Altaf Hussain asked the people to take a clear stand on the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups. Addressing the political parties, Altaf urged them to get united to save the country from terrorism. He questioned why the attack on Malala is being linked to drones or Laal Masjid. On the other hand, in a simultaneous rally by the Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Sukkur, the narrative against terrorism and the attack on Malala Yousufzai differed sharply from that of Altaf’s. He painted Malala’s attack as a ruse to gain support for a military operation in North Waziristan, which the Maulana said would not be allowed under any circumstances and surely not because the US or its western allies want it. Referring to people dying in drone attacks and in other incidents due to the poor law and order situation, the Maulana asked for condemnation of these in a similar manner as accorded to the attack on Malala. Coming down hard on Altaf Hussain, the chief of the JUI said that the MQM had no business asking for or compiling information on seminaries. Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s viewpoint hardly comes as a surprise. After all, it is his party that is considered the mother of the Taliban. How then could he fail to come to the aid and succour of his ‘offspring’, currently the target of across the board condemnation and criticism for the attempt to assassinate Malala. Ignoring the facts of the ground situation in North Waziristan, the hub of terrorism, fed by students from the womb of the seminaries spread across the country, Maulana’s attempted diversion of focus to the red herring of drone attacks or other violence failed to convince. He also failed to explain how an operation in North Waziristan would prove detrimental to the security of the country, when that is already imperilled by the terrorists. What the Maulana and all those who speak vociferously against drones, like for instance Imran Khan, fail to understand is that drone attacks are a response to terrorism and not the original cause of the terrorism that has us in its grip. Linking those who die in drone attacks with Malala’s incident will not dilute the intensity of the national consensus that is now building on flushing out the terrorists hiding in North Waziristan. By now, the truth of some seminaries producing death squads and suicide bombers is hardly a secret. Jihadi ideology can no longer, if it ever could, be used to justify the brutality of the Taliban. Either such seminaries producing actual or potential terrorists should be shut down or, if possible, reformed to impart productive knowledge. Since the attack on Malala has proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the Taliban are prepared to go to any lengths in enforcing their misconceived and bigoted notions of what the faith enjoins, perhaps the time has come to build a broad resistance against their benighted activities so as not only to nip this evil in the bud, but ensure this menace is buried once and for all.
The Express TribunePresident Asif Ali Zardari said Tuesday that the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban was an attack on all girls in the country and on civilisation itself. “The Taliban attack on the 14-year-old girl, who from the age of 11 was involved in the struggle for education for girls, is an attack on all girls in Pakistan, an attack on education, and on all civilised people,” Zardari said at an economic summit in the Azerbaijani capital Baku. Malala was attacked on her school bus in the former Taliban stronghold of the Swat valley a week ago as a punishment for campaigning for the right to an education and free expression. In some of his most poignant remarks on the incident to date, Zardari vowed not to let her shooting stop the nation’s drive to educate girls. “The work that she led was higher before God than what terrorists do in the name of religion. We will continue her shining cause,” he said. The shooting has been denounced worldwide and by Pakistan, which has said it will do everything possible to ensure Malala recovers and will meet all the costs of her treatment. She was flown to Britain for treatment on Monday where doctors said she had “a chance of making a good recovery”. The murder attempt has sickened Pakistan, where Malala came to prominence with a blog for the BBC highlighting atrocities under the Taliban, who terrorised the Swat valley from 2007 until an army offensive in 2009.