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Central & South Asia
Pakistan prays for Malala's fragile health
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf calls shooting of teenage activist an "attack on our national and social values".
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2012 12:42

A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban remains on a ventilator in hospital, as people continued to pray for her recovery, the military has said.

The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who campaigned for the right for women to have 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] health condition of Malala continues to remain satisfactory. Her vitals are okay and she is still on ventilator," the military said in an update on Saturday.

"A board of doctors is continuously monitoring her condition," it added.

Inside Story: Who in Pakistan should have protected Malala?

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Malala on Friday, 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 so-called Islamist militancy.

Military spokesperson Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa on Friday said the next 36 to 48 hours would be critical for Malala.

The attack has sickened Pakistan, where Malala won international prominence with a blog that highlighted atrocities under the Taliban who terrorised the Swat valley from 2007 until a 2009 army offensive.

Activists say the shooting should be a wake-up call to those who advocate appeasement with the Taliban, but analysts suspect there will be no seismic shift in a country that has sponsored radical Islam for decades.

Schools opened with prayers for Malala on Friday and special prayers were held at mosques across the country for her speedy recovery at the country's top military hospital in the city of Rawalpindi.

Schools open

Schools in Afghanistan opened Saturday with special prayers for the quick recovery of Yousafzai, in a move officials said was to show solidarity with her.

Witness: A documentary on Malala's work in Swat

"To show sympathy to Malala Yousafzai around 9.5 million students all over the country in 15,500 schools and education centres offered prayers for her quick recovery," education ministry spokesman Amanullah Iman told the AFP news agency.

"The students also expressed their solidarity to their sister [Malala] because the attack on her was an attack on education," he said.

"Malala is just a girl and student like us, she shouldn't have been shot," Freshta, a 10 grade pupil told AFP.

"Today we recited Quran and prayed for her recovery," she said.

Clerics on Friday declared the attempt on her life, made by Pakistani Taliban gunmen while the 14-year-old girl was on her way home from school in the Swat valley, to be "un-Islamic".

The joint fatwa, or religious edict, was issued by at least 50 scholars associated with the Sunni Ittehad Council, and appealed to worshippers to observe a "day of condemnation" on Friday.

"Islam holds the killing of one innocent person as killing the entirety of humanity," Hamid Saeed Kazmi, a former religious affairs minister in Pakistan, told reporters.

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Source:
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