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Archive for October, 2012

Malala will return to Pakistan, says Dad

Posted by :) on October 26, 2012

Malala Yousufzai

15-year-old Malala Yousufzai is recovering in a UK hospital after being shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. Picture: AP

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THE father of a 15-year-old Pakistani activist girl who was shot and wounded by a Taliban gunman says she will return home after finishing medical treatment abroad despite new insurgent threats against her.

Since she was shot on October 9 in northwestern Pakistan, Malala has become a hero both at home and internationally, although her work in speaking out against Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls’ education has long been respected and known beyond her native Swat Valley.

The comments by the father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, were recorded by Pakistani state television and it was the first time he had spoken publicly since the shooting.

Malala’s father arrived in Britain today to visit her in hospital. The schoolgirl was airlifted to a hospital in Birmingham for specialist treatment following the shooting.

At the age of 11, Malala began writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about life under the Taliban in Swat. After the military ousted the militants in 2009, she began publicly speaking out about the need for girls’ education. She appeared frequently in the media and was given one of the country’s highest civilian honours for her bravery.
On October 9, a Taliban gunman shot her in the neck and head as she was in a school bus on her way home from school in the Swat Valley city of Mingora. Two other girls were injured in the attack.

The Taliban have vowed to kill her, raising questions about whether it would be safe for her to return but her father dispelled reports the family might seek asylum abroad.

“I first laughed at it because all of our sacrifices, my personal (sacrifices), or this attack on my daughter, cannot have such a cheap purpose that we would go to some other country and live the rest of our life there,” he said, speaking in Urdu.

The Taliban said they targeted Malala because she promotes “Western thinking” and have vowed to finish the job in the future.

Malala’s father spoke alongside Interior Minister Rehman Malik at the minister’s Islamabad office. Malik promised that the government would protect Malala and her family when they returned.

Mr Malik said Malala had asked her father to bring some of her school books with him when he goes to Britain.

“Even while sitting there she is taking care of her schooling,” said Mr Malik.

Malala has started talking and has spoken to both her parents by phone, the interior minister said.

The 15-year-old is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England, which has a major trauma center specialising in treating severe gunshot wounds, major head injuries and road accident victims. It is also home to the Royal Center for Defense Medicine, the primary receiving unit for military casualties returning from overseas.

The medical team caring for Malala at Birmingham hospital said in a statement Thursday that she was comfortable and continued to respond well to treatment.

Last Friday, the hospital released the first photographs of Malala since the shooting, showing her lying in her hospital bed, and said she was able to stand with help and write.

Source :  Read more: http://www.news.com.au/news/malala-will-return-to-pakistan-says-dad/story-fnejlrpu-1226503868701#ixzz2ANCnaB3E


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Google backs network of former terrorists

Posted by :) on October 18, 2012

 Google has backed a project to link up former terrorists and former violent radicals online, in an effort to combat extremism worldwide.

A map from the Against Violent Extremism website showing network members around the world

Source :  , Technology Correspondent

5:01PM BST 25 Apr 2012

It is planned that more than a thousand reformed Islamic, far-right, far-left and other extremists will collaborate on counter-radicalisation via the new network, “Against Violent Extremism”.

Victims of terrorism will also participate, including Jo Berry, the daughter of the Conservative MP Anthony Berry, who was killed in the IRA Brighton bombing in 1984.

The hub of the network is a new website, allowing members to exchange ideas on fundraising, policy-making and research.

Google is involved via its own think tank, Google Ideas, which is funding AVE for two years initially. The web giant has previously been criticised by politicians in Britain and the United States for hosting extremist propaganda on YouTube, its video sharing website, including as the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior al-Qaeda cleric, who killed by a US drone strike last year.

The criticism helped prompt a major clean-up effort last year. Google said it had removed 135 videos for “national security” reasons in response to government requests.

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Malala has ‘good chance of recovery’

Posted by :) on October 17, 2012

 Source: PTI | Oct 16, 2012, 12.02PM IST

LONDON: Pakistani teenage rights activistMalala Yousufzai, in a serious condition after being shot in the head by the Taliban, has a “good chance of recovery”, British doctors said on Tuesday .

14-year-old Malala was secretly transferred to Britain from Pakistan in an air ambulance on Monday for specialist treatment, including the repair of damaged bones of her skull.

She is admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham here, which has a specialist major trauma centre where British servicemen who are seriously wounded in Afghanistan are treated.

“Doctors believe she has a chance of making a good recovery on every level,” said Dr Dave Rosser, the hospital’s medical director. Malala’s treatment and rehabilitation could take months, he told reporters at the hospital.

“Clearly it would be inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all of this if there was no hope of decent recovery,” he said.

Dr Rosser said that specialists at the hospital were “in a good position to treat her” because they had 10 years of experience in treating UK military casualties – and her condition was much the same as a “battle casualty from a physiological point of view”.

Malala and two schoolmates were shot by the Taliban in her hometown of Mingora in the SwatValley last Tuesday. She was targeted because she spoke out against the Taliban and campaigned for girls’ education.

Once Malala recovers sufficiently, it is believed she will need neurological help as well as treatment to repair or replace damaged bones in her skull.

Doctors have already carried out a series of tests on the teenager and a hospital spokeswoman told the BBC they hoped to give an update on her condition later today.

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British Doctors Hope for ‘Strong’ Malala’s Recovery

Posted by :) on October 17, 2012


Doctors at the British hospital where young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is being treated say the 14-year-old gunshot victim is making good progress. They say she is safe inside the hospital after two people claiming to be well-wishers tried and failed to gain access to her hospital room on Monday. As Selah Hennessy reports from London, analysts say the attempt on her life has raised the profile of the campaign for female education in Pakistan.



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Pakistani girl shot over activism in Swat valley, claims Taliban

Posted by :) on October 9, 2012

 Source – in Islamabad

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 October 2012 14.25 BST

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai receives the National Youth Peace Prize from Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani. Photograph: EPA

A 14-year old Pakistani activist who championed education for girls has been shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.

The attack on Malala Yousafzai, who became famous for highlighting Taliban atrocities, happened as she sat in a bus preparing to leave the school grounds in Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley which was the scene of intense fighting between the army and the Taliban in 2009.

At least one other girl was also hurt in the attack on Tuesday that a Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, quickly claimed the group was responsible for.

He said the teenager’s work had been an “obscenity” that needed to be stopped: “This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter.”

Doctors said the gunshot wounds to her head and neck were serious and that she might have to be moved to a larger hospital in Islamabad or Peshawar.

Fazal Maula Zahid, a member of Swat Qaumi Jirga, a local anti-Taliban group working for peace in the valley, said the gunman had asked which of the girls was Malala.

One of the girls pointed to Malala, but the activist denied it was her. The gunman shot both of the girls.

“An attack on Malala in a highly secured area has sent a shiver down the spine of Swati people,” Zahid said.

“It has also created doubts about the claims of the authorities that militants have been flushed out from Swat.”

Malala won fame in 2009 during the Pakistani army operations to crush a Taliban insurgency that had taken hold in the Swat valley, an area popular among Pakistani tourists three hours drive from Islamabad.

As part of her campaign for girls’ education she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC about the chaos at the time, including the burning of girls’ schools.

Her efforts were recognised by Pakistan‘s prime minister who awarded her the country’s first National Peace award and a reward of around £3,300 after she missed out on winning the International Children’s Peace Prize for which she was nominated in 2011.

She had also spoken of her desire to set up her own political party and a vocational institute for marginalised girls in her area.

But all the publicity displeased the Pakistani Taliban, which had put her and her family on its “hit list” for backing “the imposition of secular” government in Swat.

The attack in the army-dominated Mingora has led some to question government claims that the military has dismantled the militants’ operation in Swat.

“We are holding urgent meeting of our Jirga to chalk out a future strategy,” said Zahid. “We demand of the government to arrest the attackers [otherwise] the confidence of the people in the government will greatly be shaken.”

Zahid Khan, another Quami Jirga activist who was attacked earlier in the year, said the authorities were not doing enough.

“More than 20 people have been killed in militant attacks after the army finished its operations but all the army does is protect itself and government buildings,” he said. “It seems that innocent civilians are once again are at the mercy of miscreants.”

Also on Tuesday a case before the supreme court highlighted other problems faced by women when justices ordered an investigation into the alleged barter of seven girls to settle a blood feud in a remote district in south west Pakistan.

Chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry began proceedings into the allegations, which were first reported in the local media. The alleged trade happened in the Dera Bugti district of Baluchistan province between two groups within the Bugti tribe.

A tribal council ordered the barter in early September, the district deputy commissioner, Saeed Faisal, told the court. He did not know the girls’ ages but local media reported they were between four and 13.

Chaudhry ordered Faisal to make sure that all members of the tribal council appear in court on Wednesday, as well as a local lawmaker who belongs to one of the two subtribes believed involved in the incident.

The tradition of families exchanging unmarried girls to settle feuds is banned under Pakistani law but still practiced in the country’s more conservative, tribal areas.

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