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. Erin

    How can you justify shooting a girl in the head? It makes you wonder if, mentally speaking the people involved are 'all there'. You can always justify things like this with religion or politics, everybody does. But when it comes down to it, what rational person would think that shooting one girl who speaks up could help their cause? If anything it only strengthens her cause and demonstrates that she is, in fact in the right.

    October 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bigboard

      If in your view a female is valueless; is somehow less human than a man, if you believe that is part of your religious faith, then you shoot in the head teenage girls who speak against your idea of what should be the status quo. What we consider unthinkable is to some a defense of their faith against the unthinkable (to them).

      October 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tm1946

    We sit here safe and sound (moderately at least) and profess our sorrow over this kind of animal action. IF there were justice in the world, this guy and his muslim pals could not find a corner to hide in.

    AS posters, we are a sad bunch.

    October 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    What a brave role model she is. We pray for her.

    A subplot here is why is a Taliban person roaming around beardless and studying chemistry ? Where are all these Taliban coming from ? If he is 23, he was 12 on 9/11. Are they still training boys to be Taliban in those Madarassas ? If so, WHY ?

    I agree there is some form of insanity being bred into these people.

    October 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Infidel50

    The absolute worst of humanity,..

    October 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hugh Mann

    Shoot on sight, like a rabid dog

    October 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lovUSA

    I wish CNN and other American media would have given same coverage to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens but that news of attack on embassy with 4 killed Americans was kept in low light and was not given any weight age at all by the media.
    Instead they kept and opened a whole column and section for this girl everyday since she was shot.
    This girl case is no more than a PR job for Pakistani govt., ISI, Pakistani army and Pakistani people......
    It is ironic and sad to see how the media can be biased and can give value to the articles which can give them mileage or political gains to their supported parties. This all was done to take away the attention from administrations inability to handle and control the situation and the failure to protect US interests in Libya.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sad2seeurnijiot

      How sad lovUSA that you do not see what this about- NOT YOU and your rants that's for sure- this is about a young girl who is actually up-holdng the SAME ideals as any American citizen enjoys- she is a symbol of FREEDOM- and if you actually read anything you would have seen the daily reporting about Amb Stevens thank you!

      October 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA3b

      I think you bring up a valid point. Although I don't completely agree with you, and believe the girl deserves all the coverage she gets, the cover on Chris was certainly too brief and "sanitized". I saw some pictures of him being dragged into
      the streets, either dead or nearly dead. Those pics weren't splashed on front pages, and they should have been. There should have been stronger outrage from the US.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    Wasn't the "problem" they claimed that she was making Islam look bad? This guy needs to shoot himself for the same thing.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Weix

      Ignorant men fear women getting an education.

      October 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jp21282

    Best Wishes GiRL

    October 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim Weix

    Khan was studying for a master's degree in chemistry?
    He doesn't look smart enough to tie his shoes.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Dude was probably studying chemistry to learn how to make toxins and other biological weapons. Do the world a favor, buddy, and go drink some hydrochloric acid.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FredModerate

    Is that a Callaway Golf cap? You gotta be kidding.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elliott

    It is a miracle that Malala survived this brutal unhuman attack from a bunch of lunatics who should be ashamed of themselves are are a disgrace to the human race. These cowards who planned and shot Malala at point blank range should be tried in the court of law and given the death penalty.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ND4190

    I am so glad that Malala is doing better. I hope that all of the people who contributed to the shooting are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lovUSA

    A US ambassador is killed and CNN is busy chanting story of this girl with a devoted column to her on the homepage with no mention of Chris Stevens...Nice deception for the Americans.....Media at its best

    October 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sacapus

    The shooter is probably already dead, executed by his own brotherhood for his failure.
    Moving the girl to England is probably the best move for her medical condition and even more for her own safety.
    Its about time that extremists get some backlash for their actions.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
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