A 14-year-old Pakistani activist who was shot by a Taliban gunman after speaking out for girls’ education is in “satisfactory” condition at a military hospital, a spokesman said yesterday, cautioning that the next few days would be critical.
The shooting of Malala Yousufzai on Tuesday as she was coming home from school set off an international outcry.
Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said she is being kept unconscious and on a ventilator, and doctors will decide when to take her off.
“Her blood pressure is normal. Heartbeat is normal, and thanks to God, her condition is satisfactory,” Bajwa said.
Bajwa said the bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine, but it was too soon to say whether she had any significant head injury.
Yousufzai is widely respected for her role in promoting girls’ education in the Swat Valley, where she lives, and the rest of Pakistan. A Taliban gunman shot and wounded her and two other girls on Tuesday, sparking widespread condemnation. There has been an outpouring of praise for her bravery from Pakistani and international leaders.
The school she attended in Mingora, owned and operated by her father, reopened yesterday. The atmosphere was grim as children and teachers tried to come to terms with what happened to their star pupil.
“We have decided to open the school after two days to overcome the fear among our students that gripped them due to the attack. The number of students is low today. We have not resumed regular teaching activity, but held an assembly to pray for Malala and the other two injured girls,” said one of the teachers, Zafar Ali Khan.
Police had been deployed around the school, but even so, many students stayed away.
“Although we have gathered here for to pray for Malala, this shows we will keep her mission going,” said Ayesha Khan, a ninth-grade student.
“Many of the students haven’t come due to fear, but I believe this fear will subside ultimately,” she added.
The girl was initially airlifted from the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar, where doctors operated on her to remove a bullet from her neck. On Thursday she was transferred to a hospital in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani army is headquartered.
In addition to the team of Pakistani military and civilian doctors who have been treating her, two foreign doctors have also been consulted, Bajwa said.
He said so far there are no plans to send her abroad for treatment.