[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
A particularly abhorrent aspect of this is that the accused has higher education
A WhoDat in our midst.
higher education and religious stupidity are not mutally exclusuve
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.
Over and over again we see religion as poison but education is not the cure.
How is education 'NOT" the cure, I'm confused? Education is always the cure.
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.
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.
Allah/ God is protecting Malala and exposing those who twist God's words.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Because they are probably part of it as well. Honor killings aren't committed by just the men that's the irony of it.
Uh, maybe because they helped him plan it? You think they just arrested relatives for no reason?
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.
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.
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.
Just throw the book at him? Put him if front of the fireing squad.
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.
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!
"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.
So I take it those drones strikes didn't stop Malala from getting shot?
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!!!
Taliban = Pakistan ISI + Rag-Tag Army - This may be too much math for Americans in general.
Oh the irony in your statement.
"They are disgusting." You are disgusting.
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?
drones = kill innocent children and citizen
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 ......
"those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities "...voltaire...all you religious fundamentalists should heed this
I dont believe paki police had found the right guy. They just arrest anybody they dislike and close the case. Bunch of idiots.
The Taliban is really brave to take on such a dangerous foe!
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.
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?
The family surely know the names and faces of those the wanted man hang out with.