A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban is in critical condition and has slim chances of recovering, a source in the hospital where she is being treated has told Al Jazeera.
The source said on Sunday the next 12 hours were critical for 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who is hospitalised in the city of Rawalpindi.
Yousafzai has “very limited chance of life left”, said the source, declining to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“[The] face and head swelled alot. Face complexion [has] become dark. She could be removed from ventilator within a few hours,” he said.
The Pakistani military said on Saturday that Malala’s condition was stable. The military spokesperson said that “she was making steady and satisfactory progress, and possibilities of transfer overseas were still being considered”.
A specially equipped air ambulance provided by the UAE has been kept as a contingency in case, board of doctors overseeing her, decide to shift her abroad.
The shooting of 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 military earlier said Yousafzai’s “vitals are okay” although they said she was on ventilator.
“A board of doctors is continuously monitoring her condition,” the army said.
Raja Pervez Ashraf, prime minister, 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.
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“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.
Kainat, one of the other two girls injured in the attack, is in a stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery within two weeks. She was shot in her upper right arm.
Shazia, the third victim, is due to be released from the combined military hospital in Peshawar and return to swat soon, her family told Al Jazeera.
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.
Local police officials told Al Jazeera that the investigation into who was responsible for the attack was ongoing. The perpetrators were witnessed escaping into a nearby slum.
Police had taken in 60 to 70 suspects for questioning, but all were subsequently released. No one is currently being held in the Swat region in connection to the shooting.
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.
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“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.
— With additional reporting from Hameedullah Khan and Asad Hashim in the Swat Valley