Malala Moved to UK for Treatment as Anger Aimed at Taliban Builds

Yesterday, Pakistan’s MQM political party held a huge rally in Karachi in support of fourteen year old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on Tuesday because of her outspoken views on the education of girls in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The rally was one of many in the past few days in which Pakistanis have spoken out against the violence of the Taliban.

In addition to the rallies, though, we also have word that a jirga in the tribal areas also has for the first time spoken out against the Taliban and its attack on Malala:

In a first for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) since the attack on Malala Yousafzai, a grand tribal jirga condemned the murder attempt, offered prayers for the child activist, and announced support for the government in this regard on Sunday.

The Haleemzai tribe’s grand tribal jirga held at Sangar Ghallanai was attended by thousands. The Taliban attack had not been condemned publicly by any prominent individual or group in Fata until now.

Addressing the jirga, peace committee leader Muhammad Ali Haleemzai said that terrorists had destroyed schools and hospitals in the region and were working against their tribal customs, saying they wanted to push the people ‘back to the stone age’.

Haleemzai announced an alliance under the name ‘Qaumi Aman Tarron’ (‘National Peace Alliance’) to safeguard the region against terrorists and terrorism. He said the alliance would be extended to other tribes of the Mohmand Agency and invited all peace committees to participate. Haleemzai said all those involved in anti-state activity and terrorism would be punishable by a hefty fine and expulsion from the area.

The rallies and the pronouncement from the Haleemzai tribal jirga suggest that the shooting of Malala may well serve as an issue around which Pakistanis finally unite to resist the influence of the Taliban, as some have suggested.

We also learn today that Malala is being moved to the UK where she will undergo further medical treatment.  From Reuters:

The Pakistani schoolgirl shot by Taliban gunmen for pushing for girls to be educated has been sent to the United Kingdom for medical treatment, a military spokesman said on Monday.

The spokesman said in a statement that 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai, whose shooting has drawn widespread condemnation, will require prolonged care to fully recover physically and psychologically.

An air ambulance transporting Yousufzai, provided by the United Arab Emirates, had departed from Islamabad and was heading for the United Kingdom, said the spokesman.

“The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK center which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury,” said the spokesman in a statement.

There has been some improvement in Malala’s condition, which may well have contributed to the decision that she could now be transported:

Malik said Malala’s condition had improved and swelling on her brain’s membrane had decreased.

Pakistani doctors were also accompanying Malala, the minister said, adding that, she could also breathe without a ventilator.

The young girl will require continuing medical care:

She is being taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham – an NHS (National Health Service) hospital which has a specialist major trauma centre.


Once she has recovered sufficiently, she is expected to need treatment to repair or replace damaged bones in her skull and to undergo neurological treatment.

It should also not be overlooked that it appeared that the majority of clerics in Pakistan spoke out against Malala’s shooting during Friday prayers.

We can only hope that Malala can one day join Gabrielle Giffords in overcoming such a horrific attack.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
6 replies
  1. joanneleon says:

    Thanks for this collection of updates on Malala, Jim. I just hope that somehow there is a silver lining to this horrific tragedy. It looks like maybe there will be, but the price is too high.

  2. Jose Rios says:

    Not excusing the Taliban, why dont they unite against whoever (NATO, u.s. aren’t they the same?) keeps bombing them? I assume it’s because they can’t do shit about it…but NATO has done far more & worse damage than the Taliban, also why don’t NATO victims get sent to uk or us hospitals? Why do they get another round of strikes to finish the job? Just seems like another new asset in the “war on terror by THEM & Not US”, which explains the hourly coverage…

  3. Muhibullah says:

    Pakistan’s MQM is an party of anti-Pakhtun Urdu speaking immigrants that has been involved in bloody ethnic conflict with the Pakhtun for nearly thirty years now. These people have killed thousands of Pakhtuns, their expressions of anger at Malala’s killers or support for Malala is obviously insincere and is an attempt to defame Pakhtuns as a whole. Rather like Republican warmongers shedding crocodile tears at the plight of Muslim women.

  4. Muhibullah says:

    Also ‘Peace Committee’ is a sanitized translation of ‘Aman Lashkar’ which a counterinsurgent militia created by the Pakistan Army.

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