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. oldguy68

    A particularly abhorrent aspect of this is that the accused has higher education

    October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      true dat.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ME

      A WhoDat in our midst.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • info

      higher education and religious stupidity are not mutally exclusuve

      October 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sid Bell

      Of greater concern is that a man who does not appear to have any reservation to be involved in terror, is pursuing an advanced degree in Chemistry.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dennis

    Over and over again we see religion as poison but education is not the cure.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Franky

      How is education 'NOT" the cure, I'm confused? Education is always the cure.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ME

      In this case it wasn't. People tend to automatically assume that people with higher education and intellect will just naturally have good values. Not the case. In fact many times people with higher intellect and education will try to get away with more because they think they're smart enough to get away with it.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • theBmoll

      Knowlege and the pursuit of truth is the answer Dennis... Some religiou people are highly 'educated' outside the realm of their indoctrination...and even the most intelligent can do stupid things.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tamars

    Allah/ God is protecting Malala and exposing those who twist God's words.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • theBmoll

      If 'god' has been / is protecting her he hasn't been doing a very good job now has he...?! Lets keep the commentary and debate on a logical level shall we?
      I actually feel that the highly skilled medical team deserve some credit as well!
      Pray if you must, (if you think it will help) but I would go for prayer AND medical / surgical treatment for her ongoing care...
      As for your appalling lack of intellectual insight...pray for that as well!

      October 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • VladT

      How dare tamars believe that a higher being will protect Malala? He should be ridiculed for wishing good things with the help of his faith. What did he do wrong that made you feel the need to get on your atheistic high horse? I swear, all of you atheists are just as militant as the "zealots" you purport to be so against.

      -A proud "live and let live" Agnostic

      October 25, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. AsianCowboyinMontana

    fanatical Talibanana studying for Masters in Chemistry? I am so glad they caught this S0B. I can see a sophisticated bombmaker in the making if he weren't caught.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • badsinger29

      Well that's a awful generalization! Not all chemistry students go around making bombs, most go into chemistry to help people! Educate yourself BEFORE you make that kind of claim!

      October 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Badsinger29: How is he generalizing? he's talking about a Taliban member getting his Masters in Chemistry. Of course it's a high possibility he would be using it to make explosives. A guy in the TALIBAN who was involved in the shooting of a little girl isn't taking chemistry to help people you dolt.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Arslan Faisal

    Its right that we must catch these terrible people who did this but hello how does arresting his mother and fiancee helping here. Seriously is that what the solution? And how can any open minded person support this stupidity. Go find the culprit and release innocent women whom you captured just for the reason that they are relatives of him. shame on Pakistani Govt and officials and all the people who are supporting this.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Franky

      Because they are probably part of it as well. Honor killings aren't committed by just the men that's the irony of it.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • BS

      Uh, maybe because they helped him plan it? You think they just arrested relatives for no reason?

      October 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Arslan Faisal

      I am saying this because today ISPR (a Pakistani army press release) said that these women are taken in custody just to pressurise the guy to surrender. And trust me only women have to pay in the end accept it or not these women have nothing to do with this plot because Taliabn can't have a woman controlling or plotting anything for them anyway.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dana

    It does not seem they will go very far in their fight for education for women if master degree student does the shooting. If people with degrees do such things, where is this country going to? They have a really long way to go... Shame shame shame on them. It's 21st C not Middle Ages.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bobster

    So this guy enjoys being a student and having an education but he's going to shoot little girls who want the same thing? What a 'class act'... I hope they throw the book at this guy.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      Just throw the book at him? Put him if front of the fireing squad.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Morgan

      The book eh?

      Now that gives me a great idea.
      When found guilty, execute him by loading a "book", (the symbol of education he and his cohorts would deny to girls and women) into a cannon and blast him to hell with that "book".
      It will need to be a hard copy to make certain the job gets done.

      Oh, and smear bacon all over it before you fire it.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Franky

    These people are garbage. If per chance these muslim extremists were wiped off the planet, I would consider it God's work, and I'm athiest!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. real_personn

    "Ullah was studying for a masters in chemistry,..". Interesting. Having a master/PhD. will get you a nod of approval for a US student visa or working visa. I hope more diligence is applied to those coming from this region with such backgrounds, including those from India (considering recent events in NY) for screening entry.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Headphones

      So I take it those drones strikes didn't stop Malala from getting shot?

      October 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. k

    Taliban "men" are such cowards. They are disgusting. They aren't men at all, they are morons, with low IQs who have nothing to do but bully people. We need to send more drones!!!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • AllahSpeaking

      Taliban = Pakistan ISI + Rag-Tag Army - This may be too much math for Americans in general.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • RS

      Oh the irony in your statement.

      "They are disgusting." You are disgusting.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Geez, "Allah" - looks like that's not workin' out too well for ya, is it? Next thing you nitwits will do is post videos of a few of you holy rollers spearing infants. How dumb was that?

      October 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • bush

      drones = kill innocent children and citizen

      October 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AllahSpeaking

    And you guys believe the news coming out of Pakistan ..... Ha Ha Ha Ha ....... Americans are idiots to the core. Pakistanis manipulate the you-know-what of Uncle Sam like a joystick ......

    October 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. higgs boson

    "those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities "...voltaire...all you religious fundamentalists should heed this

    October 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jen

    I dont believe paki police had found the right guy. They just arrest anybody they dislike and close the case. Bunch of idiots.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. André Kruger

    The Taliban is really brave to take on such a dangerous foe!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. dike

    Pakis dont see it. it is not just a action of one person it is the Taliban and their fanatic religious beliefs, instead the morons arrest his mother and fiancee. Next they will arrest his fiancee's grandmother and get in bed with Taliban.

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

      I assume they conspired in the shooting, or else they were complicit in the escape of the fugitive. What puzzles me is why you assume there was no basis for the arrest. How did you come up with that?

      October 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morgan

      The family surely know the names and faces of those the wanted man hang out with.

      October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
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