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Pak announces Rs 1 crore for info on Malala's attackers

October 10, 2012 22:26 IST
Pakistani authorities on Tuesday announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for information leading to the capture of the militants who attempted to kill teenaged rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and seriously injured in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government will give a reward of Rs 1 crore to anyone who helps identify the persons who attacked Malala on Tuesday, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a news conference in Peshawar.

The name of any person who provides such information will be kept secret, Hussain said.

"The blood of Malala and the sympathy extended to her by people from around the world is a slap on the face of terrorism," he said.

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters after visiting Malala in a military hospital in Peshawar that authorities had identified the attackers who shot the 14-year-old schoolgirl and they would be brought to justice. He did not give any details about the attackers but claimed they had come from the Afghan province of Kunar to Swat to target Malala.

In a related development, police and security agencies detained over 200 people, including a security guard and a driver of Malala's school, in connection with the attack, officials told the media.

Authorities also registered a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination, saying Malala was targeted for espousing "pro-West" views and backing a "secular government" in Swat, which was a stronghold of the militants till early 2009.

Both Hussain and Malik said Malala's condition had improved after doctors performed a three-hour surgery to remove a bullet that had lodged near her spine. They said doctors had concluded that there was no immediate need to send Malala abroad for treatment.

Malik said doctors had told him that Malala was out of danger though the next 48 hours were crucial. The plan to shift Malala to a foreign country was deferred as a medical board had concluded that air travel was unsuitable and risky, he said.

Leading neurosurgeons from army and civilian hospitals were treating Malala and two neurosurgeons in the United States and Britain are on standby to come to Pakistan if necessary.

Asked about the lack of security for Malala despite threats issued against her by the Taliban, Malik said authorities had thrice offered to provide security but her father had refused.

However, it had been decided that Malala will be provided full security in future, he added.

Malik linked an intensification of terrorist activities in northwest Pakistan to Taliban fighters who had fled from Swat and taken shelter in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan. He said these militants had become active in the past few weeks and the government has asked Afghan authorities to prevent their infiltration across the border.

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