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. Daniel

    Please do something for the humankind! ERASE HIM FROM EARTH

    October 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wings

      But I have a better idea. Let's photoshop images of him in a burka – and post them all over the world.
      Shame him into returning home and facing the consequences of his actions.

      October 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Last to Know

    Is Mitt and the republicans in control of the Pakistan government? Only they could conduct an investigation that involved a group of men getting on a school bus, and shooting a girl point blank in the head, and conclude that it was the fault of a mother and girlfriend.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      It's funny because its true lol

      October 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Way to make a (crappy) political joke out of the near murder of a 14 year old girl as part of a terror campaign to keep an entire gender locked firmly in a state of societal oppression. Good job!

      October 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Name*janice

    Woman and girls have right to education men just dont want us smart

    October 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ranjan

      That is absolutely correct; Women are not supposed to have a sense of humour either, since they are supposed to love men and not laugh at them.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      Even with an education your still a dumb slag. All the books in the world can't fix stupidity caused by estrogen. I can literally beat the living crap out of my ole lady and she will still be with me. Defend me even. No education will fix that, I'm afraid. Besides, why even bother its not like you will make the same wage as me because I'm male.... I guess the old saying is true: "you get what you pay for"

      October 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clarke

    Educated women scare most men.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Uneducated Women, or Men, for that matter, scare me far more than educated ones. At least I can have a conversation with an educated person and have the possibility of coming away with a compromise that suits both our interests.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      whats there to be afraid of? Once you get knocked up, there goes your career. Once you hit the job site you will shag your boss just to move up the ladder. Women on the job are SHlT disturbers that is all. They have nothing innovative to contribute.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ali_Islamabad

    This tragic incident is not as simple. I have sympathy with this child who start advocating for women rights at the age of 11. Meanwhile i also believe some responsibility also come on his parents (specially her father) and the international news channels ( BBC for posting her daily dairy) which deliberately want to use her as young innocent against the world most brutal warriors the TALIBAN.
    I wish a time will come in my life when i will see the price of every innocent life as equal to this little girl of Malala Yousefzai.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*Rex

    She neds justice

    October 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      She is goin to need a new place to live you think she has even the slightest chance for survival if she goes back? I guarantee you The Taliban will finish the job. Sure they are just waiting for the troops to pull out of Afghanistan so they can get back into power. Then back to square one again.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. godhatesthugs

    Hey mister Taliban gun men! Allah pukes when he hears your name, and when your worthless lives are over he's going to kick your filthy coward but for abusing his holy creation.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Connie

    I just don't understand an article I read which said that the father and family couldn't possibly have seen this coming. I find that incredible. He is an educated man and surely was not blind to the behavior of the Taliban.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. andy

    everything has price, freedom is so important included education, (darkness is easier to manage), taliban can not win like Hitler cold not.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      Yes freedom does have a price your still paying for yours and you haven't even received it yet.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      There lies the joke that is America.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HAKIM

    these suspects are heros of Islam. They are moderate Muslim student peace activists.
    Everybody seems to ignore the positive side of this event in that it will prepare Malala for Islamic marriage

    October 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Shooting children should not be anyone's definition of "Moderate".

      October 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Apul M'Deek-Aoud

    And you can be absolutely sure they'll give these Taliban pigs a very stiff fine, maybe 10 or 12 dollars.

    Afterall, according to the Taliban, the Muslims & the Romneys wi'men don't matter, there's plenty more out there.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • godhatesthugs

      Not all Muslims hate women, but we sure know where Taliban and Romney stand don't we. Time for moderates and righteous people everywhere to stand up against these criminals.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      More like a pat on the back for trying.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. This is Weak

    Pakistan is married to the Taliban not America.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      Exactly. Plus I read in articles how the father is all for his daughter to go the school but his wife isn't allowed to leave the house. Hmmmm something doesn't add up here. He seems to be trying to look like the good guy here and hes just a hypocrite.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yakee don't don't

    This incident will change nothing. Just like the joke:

    How many feminists it take to change a lite bulb?


    October 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AGeek

    What this tells me is that the US taxpayers have spent well into the trillions of dollars for ZERO gains. Take the gloves off, let our soldiers do their jobs, then bring them home. That's it. Enough. My taxes are part of the funding and I'm sick of this crap. Eradicate the Taliban and any country's government harboring them. Now. Stop the namby-pamby crap.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakee don't don't

      How many more soldiers must die for this lost cause? Really? How many more. Once they pack up and leave it all goes back to the way things were. I don't think that this girl is the one who needs an education. It's you.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paki girl

    feel better!

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