[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 wereÂ Khan's fiancĂ©e, mother and brother, though they aren't accused of involvement in the attack, police said.
It's unclear whetherÂ 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.Â 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 Malalaâ€™s attack
Just noticed the callaway golf hat, didnt know they even played golf the loons
The guys that killed the Pakistani governor that wanted to end the blasphemy laws that are often used to persecute people like Malala were showered with roses, by lawyers, outside the courthouse. I'll be saddened but unsurprised if Malala's attackers are treated similarly.
Pakistan seems reluctant to take on the Taliban. This will only result in more innocent malalas being shot by thughs, who claim they are obeying God. Pakistan must deal with this cancer within and not concoct more conspiracy theories
You are spot on, but I doubt the Pak government will take any strict action now or future
That was a fair fight for the Taliban. 3 armed men against 2 unarmed school girls.
One forgotten fact: without the female none of these folks would have been in this world, now they want to destroy them.
I hope Malala makes a complete recovery and enjoys her future life in a more civilized country.
Funny how all these pakistani/muslims love to fight and beat up woman. Pakistani/muslim men must be really weak physically and mentally to have to kill and beat woman to make themselves more important.
Yet, Pakistan protects the Taliban and other extremist terrorist groups.
It really takes a lot of guts for a 14 year old to take on the religious fanatics. God bless you Malala and get well soon. The world needs people like you
Oh, yet another story on Islam and the Taliban. Feel I have to add something here. Ever notice how much social injustice (crapola?) is dumped on us by religion? Think back to the barbaric, mediaeval days of the European Inquisition. One group – the Catholic Church â€“ said that only they had the answers to the worldâ€™s deep, philosophical questions, and anyone who argued against them, well, weâ€™ll just burn you. Sound familiar? The Taliban are the modern equivalent of the over bearing, barbaric and self-interested mediaeval Church leaders. Theyâ€™re wrong, of course, about most of what they preach, but donâ€™t expect them to admit it.
Do you know what the Taliban really want? They want you to follow them without question. They want total power, just like the medieaval Catholic Church. And an educated 14 year old girl is just the nose of the camel inside the tent â€“ let them get just a little education, a little experience, a little knowledge and exposure to the world and suddenly the disapproval is seen for what it really is â€“ a self-interested group bent on promoting their own power, based on yet another dead-end religion. Islam will be found to be as much a mental cul-de-sac as Christianity was. There are over 2000 religions in the world â€“ they canâ€™t all be right. Which really means that they are ALL wrong â€“ thatâ€™s the logical conclusion? My investigation has shown that the nearest thing to truth is HUMANITY â€“ even thatâ€™s mentioned in the Bible, â€śDo unto othersâ€ť â€¦.. Shooting a 14 year old girl in the head is not something any sane individual would want to do unto himself. Therefore he was crazy â€“ as are many religious fanatics. He really needs a big dose of humanity.
On this same topic, Taliban and Islam, please remember, whatever your personal belief, itâ€™s only a CONVICTION! Itâ€™s one personâ€™s, or maybe a groupâ€™s, INTERPRETATION or VERSION of history. And please, please donâ€™t confuse religion with the TRUTH. Your opinion, and the opinions of those who came before you, and those who wrote whatever holy book you follow, is only that â€“ an OPINION.
Just because you may believe in it fervently, and perhaps are prepared to die for it, DOESNâ€™T MAKE IT THE TRUTH. Itâ€™s just your FAITH. Itâ€™s your OPINION. The truth lies somewhere else. As Galileo found out in the 16th Century, donâ€™t go seeking the truth from you religious leaders. They deal in hope, and are selling faith based on their beliefs. Truth? They are scared of it â€“ even when it comes out of the mouth of a young school girl.
As an example of how wrong even a powerful religion can be, when the Bible says â€śAnd gather together the dispersed of Judah from THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH.â€ť It was because whoever wrote it, the simple, uneducated, primitive and uneducated men that they were, thought that the world was FLAT! Thatâ€™s how wrong the Bible was, and the Catholic Church battled Galileo who could prove that the earth was round, and who â€śwas tried by the Catholic Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.â€ť[The Taliban, and all religions who burden and afflict the world with their mis-guided version of truth, all tremble at the thought of educated 14 year olds and a thinking â€“ not sub-serviant â€“ population. Their followers will vanish as fast. Amen to that, brother. Peace and humanity to the world.
Show them some of the love and peace that they preach and fry their asses!
Perhaps a solution would be to offer safe haven and refuge to girls and women there who want to leave, to got ot school and escape a life of servitude to a dirty old man. The talibani would still be banging each other but at least they would not be breeding, and the women could live meaningful lives in a freer country.
Malala personifies the freedom of thought and expression that women enjoy in Pakistan. She personifies the respect that women garner in Islamic and an Islamic society. Malala is an example that neighbors in India, Afghanistan and iran can learn from.
GOD BLESS PAKISTAN,
Land that we love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From Kashmir to Karachi and onto New Delhi,
And to the oceans, white with foam
GOD BLESS PAKISTAN, Our home sweet home.
Home to the rich and poor and needy,
Home to the Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists and everyone else
GOD BLESS PAKISTAN, the Land of the Beautiful and the Brave.
US should hand over the murderers hiding in Afghnaistan/India who shot our girl Malala
I think you need to adjust your aluminum foil hat a bit.
And remember to keep microwaving the red M&M's.
Malala can look forward to going back to Pakistan all well and become a baby making machine for an old muslim man, such is the life of a Paki