PESHAWAR - Surgeons removed a bullet on Wednesday from 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai shot by the Taliban for speaking out against the militants and promoting education for girls.
She faces a crucial 48 hours after undergoing surgery to remove the bullet lodged near her shoulder at a military hospital in Peshawar, where doctors described her condition as critical.
Preparations were made to fly her abroad, but a military source told AFP she was currently too ill to travel.
Doctors said they were forced to begin operating in the middle of the night after Malala developed swelling in the left portion of her brain.
They removed a bullet from her body near her spinal cord during a three-hour operation that they finished at about 5 am.
“She is still unconscious and kept in the intensive care unit,” said Mumtaz Khan, head of a team of doctors taking care of Malala Yousafzai in a military hospital in Peshawar.
“The girl is out of critical condition … and she will be sent abroad if the medical board thinks there is a need for further treatment there,” doctors said, also confirming that the central part of Malala’s brain had not been affected.
One of the girls wounded with Malala is in critical condition and the other is recovering and out of danger. Malala was shot on her school bus with two friends in Swat on Tuesday, then flown to Peshawar to be admitted to a military hospital.
Malala had spent Tuesday night in intensive care, where doctors at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) described her condition as critical.
Last night, a doctor at CMH told AFP that the bullet had travelled from her head and then lodged in the back shoulder, near the neck. Her uncle Saeed Ramzan said doctors told the family Malala was stable after the three-hour operation.
“But they said the next 48 hours are important and after that it will be decided whether she will be sent abroad or not,” he told AFP at the family home in Mingora, which is under heavy police guard. “We saw movement in her body today but she is still unconscious.”
According to her doctors, the girl was ‘out of danger’ and the decision to send her abroad had been temporarily postponed.
Staff Reporter adds: The decision to send Malala Yousafzai, a national peace award recipient shot in the head in an assassination bid in Mingora on Wednesday, abroad for treatment has been postponed after a medical board of the Combined-Military Hospital expressed satisfaction over her condition and recovery.
“Foreign doctors and neurosurgeons are ready to visit Pakistan to assist local doctors. They would be called in for assistance if needed,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a group of journalists after inquiring after the wounded student. He said her condition was improving and she would recover within the next few days. He said the government repeatedly offered security to the father of the girl and he repeatedly refused.
Malik, however, informed the media that the attackers of Malala Yousafzai had been identified and they would soon be rounded up. “We will chase them, wherever they escape. We are aware of the fact that when terrorists entered into Swat district,” he said while issuing a warning to ‘hidden’ elements supporting the Taliban. He asked them to quit their anti-social activities; otherwise strict action would be taken against them.
Making an appeal, the minister said if anyone had any information regarding the attackers, they must share it with the government. He observed that the people of Swat and Malakand were badly affected by terrorism, saying there was no house that would not have suffered due to the menace.
About the infiltration of militants from Afghanistan, the interior minister said the government complained to the Afghan authorities that their soil was being used against Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti also visited to the CMH and inquired about the health of Malala Yousufzai. He was apprised of her health condition and treatment facilities provided to her.
Talking to the girl’s father Ziauddin Yousufzai, the chief minister said the attack was a “cowardly act” and was highly condemnable. He told him that the services of his daughter for spreading the light of knowledge and peace could not be overlooked and that the entire nation was proud of her.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police chief Akbar Khan Hoti said the plot to assassinate Malala Yousafzai was made in Afghanistan and the attackers came to Swat via Bajaur Agency. The IGP added that they were drawing the sketches of the attackers that would be published for public information.
Doctors remove bullet from Malala