Arrests made in shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.
October 24th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Arrests made in shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala

[Updated at 5:55 a.m. ET] Six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Malala Yousufzai, the teenage activist who spoke out against the Taliban, though the main suspect still is on the loose, Pakistani police told CNN exclusively.

Police on Wednesday identified Atta Ullah Khan, a 23-year-old from the Swat district where Malala was attacked, as the main suspect. Authorities are searching for Khan, who was studying for a master's degree in chemistry, police say. The Taliban-heavy Swat Valley is in the northwestern part of Pakistan.

Six men accused of facilitating the attack were arrested, police said Wednesday. Also detained were Khan's fiancée, mother and brother, though they aren't accused of involvement in the attack, police said.

It's unclear whether Khan was at the scene and tried to shoot Malala or if he was considered the leader behind the plan to kill her.

Malala, who has become a global symbol of courage after being shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding education for girls, is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Birmingham, England.

She stood with the aid of nurses Friday for the first time since the October 9 shooting and was "communicating very freely," according to the director of the hospital.  Malala can't speak because she has a tracheotomy tube inserted to protect her airway, which was swollen after her gunshot injury, but she is writing coherent sentences, said Dave Rosser, director of University Hospitals Birmingham.

Friday's progress report - more detailed than previous updates - suggests that the 15-year-old could make a good recovery.

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the shooting and vowed to kill Malala if she recovers from her injuries.

Read more on Malala's story:

Attack on Pakistani schoolgirl galvanizes anti-Taliban feeling

Standing with Malala: Teen inspires others to fight for education

Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

$1 million bounty in Malala’s attack

The Malalas you'll never meet

soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. Henry

    It is a good move. But the police need to move abit swift to bring justice to the girl.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      POLICE ??? we're in a war over there,they call soldiers not the police.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • SillyMan1

      @fiftyfive55: Ah, irrelevant semantics. The cornerstone of the pedantic tween. Good job..

      October 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      @sillyman-your name fits ya

      October 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ducky657

    This young lady is the epitome of courage! We need to make sure she gets a chance to achieve her education goals so she can return to her home to lead it into the 21st century. The fact that the Taliban did this to her is a testament to their horrid record towards women. She will accomplish great things!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • JonathanL

      everyone involved and willfully facilitating this act should be locked in jail until they die. a big price, but they need to know they can't do such evil, illegal things, and be allowed the privilege of freedom.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Copafil

      Yes, she is very brave but definitely fear for her safety if she goes back to neanderthal land. They had a woman prime minister in Benazir Bhutto (yeah she was not perfect) but much better than most and forward thinking. When she returned from self imposed exile ...she was assassinated. She was a high ranking political figure that they could not protect.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Good news. Hope the perp/perps get what they deserve. Best wishes for Malala.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I echo your sentiments.
      I also hope that this girl is guarded; the threat that they will kill her should she recover speaks loudly of the cowardly intentions.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. zumbe

    Hire me CNN...typo "hot"

    Malala, who has become a global symbol of courage after being hot in the head by the Taliban for demanding an education, is currently receiving treatment at a hospital Birmingham, England.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    On the other hand our drones continue killing innocent civilians and antagonizing the general public.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • SillyMan1

      Oh no! Not antagonizing the general public! I have such a high regard for the general public, I do not know how I can sleep at night knowing that they are being antagonized.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      So you need to thank the people sending those drones over there killing all of those poor innocent civilians because all they want to do is kill you. These drones are killing so that your kids wont have to deal with these stone age illiterate barbarians. Guess what, i was a big upset over 9/11, especially watching it live, not on tv. I was a bit upset over the videos of the beheading of the Americans. How about them antagonizing me????????????? You earn respect, its not demanded. If you cant stomach it, let the people that can, handle it.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      You do understand that these poor civilans we are droning were firmly behind shooting a 14 year old girl in the head because she wanted to go to school and get an education, right? You can grasp that concept and the enormity of it, right?

      October 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    The suspect is studying for his "masters in chemistry".....more like advanced bomb making.... Shooting at local children is not the image the Taliban wants spread.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Badly-Bent

    "The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the shooting and vowed to kill Malala if she recovers from her injuries." – Pretty much says it all. The only good Taliban is a dead Taliban!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. rob0rah

    Whoa......taliban studying for a masters in chemistry???????? He wants to complete his thesis in contemporary acid and bomb making ingredients!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. stupid is as stupid does

    cowards

    October 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. fiftyfive55

    They are making a bigger deal out of some girl, 5,000miles away,getting shot,while people that age and younger are shot everyday in Obama's self-proclaimed hometown of Chicago.
    By the way,Obama is not from Chicago and h didnt live here long enough to consider us his hometown,more of an nterloper.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      It's a big deal. When events show the Taliban's political system is so weak that they have to make reprisals against children. While The shootings in Chicago and elsewhere in America show we are a violent society and always have been...no matter which party holds the presidency.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      So sorry Tony but my sympathies lie here and not for some girl in the mideast,she is their concern,not ours.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • peace

      and its people like you who dont want world peace, theres nothing wrong in helping a young pakistani teenager fight for her rights! she is human, and so are you! and the fact that you mention americans getting killed, well they have moved on, we live in the 21st century, its countries like pakistan that need help moving forward!

      October 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • BobbyD

      It is our concern when its people like her who are going to lead the change in those backwards nations so our children will not have to deal with the existence of the Taliban

      October 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • peace

      some girl in the middle east? well excuse me, but what you are saying is nodifferent to the Pakistani taliban that shot her! so you are ok with innocent young people geting killed for no reason at all around the world? so long as its not in America? =.=

      October 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      I'm an American who is concerned about Americans,not people who've been at war for thousands of years,gee,some of you folks are real bleeding hearts when it comes to these stories but complain about the high price of gas and the taxes we pay to countries we will never change(the mideast).So knock me all you dare but I am not concerned about anything in the mideast except our withdrawal.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • LowMan

      Your ignorance is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with America, and it's also why the majority of the world (especially much of the Middle East) perceives Westerners as loud-mouthed blowhards. Malala is everybody's concern because she is part of the next generation, the generation that will shape the world (all of us everywhere, including here in the US). She has spurred educational reform and women's rights in a way no one in the history of her nation has been able to accomplish for centuries. Through her simple message and unassuming childlike expectations, she enabled voiceless women young and old to make a statement to their patriarchal nation. Her bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds serves as a model for not only Pakistani children and parents, but for citizens of our planet, of which you are a part. American children will be inspired by her courage, and one of them will grow up to be your future president, hopefully smarter, more compassionate, and more knowledgeable because of this story.

      It's important to care about America's future and its ability to take care of its own, but it is completely unrealistic and unreasonable to think that our influence and our strengths should extend only as far as our coastlines. The internet has ensured that all humans all over the globe are connected now–permanently–whether you like it or not, and it is our responsibility as human beings (not as Americans) to care about the future of someone like Malala. It is in our best interest. Take two minutes to imagine a future where Pakistan is not an enemy but an ally. Obviously, that will not happen overnight, perhaps not even within a decade or more, and it certainly doesn't mean it will become a capitalist country (it likely never will), but it doesn't have to be hostile toward our culture, and we shouldn't be hostile toward it. Malala's story proves it doesn't necessarily want to be. Violence begets violence, as compassion begets compassion.

      It only takes a cursory study of history to see that one voice, projected loud enough, can influence any nation for better or worse. I welcome Malala's voice. Imagine, for one second, if her charisma and bravery replaced Hitler's vitriol in the 1930s and 40s. How would the current world have been shaped differently if instead of fear and insecurity, she preached education and human rights? I urge you to consider this with sincerity for even one moment. Maybe then you will understand why we "are making a bigger deal out of some girl, 5,000miles away,getting shot".

      Also, for the record, your comments smack of the same rhetoric I would expect to hear from a Taliban soldier, should he access these message boards–just replace "America" with "Pakistan" and the "mideast" with "the West". Think about that for a second. I hope it concerns you as much as it does me.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. bag o chips

    i cant imagine any "man" doing something like this no matter what age, but i am a 24yo male and I cant comprehend how someone my age could walk up to a young girl and shoot her for wanting to go to school. Especially an "educated" man getting a master's in chem. idiot.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rock Maker

    who cares about these people, they take our money. They kill our soldiers and burn our flag
    sick and tired of Pakistanis

    October 24, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. IamMalala

    This little girl has done more damage to Taliban/Al-Qada in a couple of years than thousands of soldiers and Trillions of tax dollars spent on war against terrorism by two super powers i.e. (USA & EU) over ten years. Should we not invest a few Billions in girls education in Taliban/Al-Qada infected countries and watch Malala's of those countries terrorise the terrorists? And like Malala have children who love America and the west.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      We've been fighting in the mideast alot longer than ten years,thisisn't the first child shot over there and wont be the last,and why spend billions of our money on them when we are in just as much need ? Mideast children will only love us while were spending money over thereand the rest of the time they throw rocks at us.Sorry but American kids need help and charity begins at home.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Roscoe Chait

    Malala is my hero.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. tony

    Keep our soldiers away from these backward thinking countries. Just send in constant TV programs of educated daughters and wives earning big bucks as a result and helping make their entire families much better off. The Taliban has no answer to that. Nor Rick Santorum either.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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