Saturday, October 13, 2012

President orders free, quality treatment for injured girls

President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the authorities concerned to provide free and best quality medical treatment to two girl students injured with Malala Yousafzai in militant attack, Geo News reported. According to the Presidential spokesman, President Zardari inquired about the health of injured Kainat and Sharia. He also prayed for early recovery of three girls including Malala. President Zardari said these girls are the true face of Pakistan. He called them national asset, the spokesman said and added the courage of these girls is beacon of light for others in the country. The president has also sought details on the health of these two girls.

Jiye Malala!

Editorial By Najam Sethi
Soon after 14-year old Swati activist Malala Yusufzai was rushed to hospital earlier this week with a life-threatening bullet in her skull, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan proudly claimed responsibility for the attempt on her life. The next day, when doctors declared that Malala had miraculously survived the attack, and when the world's media began to buzz with the good news, the TTP released another statement: they would target her again because she was a "secular-minded" person who was spreading discord. Imagine the paranoid, illiterate mind set -- a child of 14 spreading discord! The Taliban also quoted chapter and verse from the Quran to try and justify their barbarity, but mercifully, many religious scholars disagreed with their interpretations. Malala's crime was to defy the Taliban's ban on girls' schooling and to write a diary of the siege of Swat for the BBC. Her friendly cooperation with the world's media; her bright, smiling interviews and her beaming confidence, were a threat to the Pakistani Taliban and the way of life they propose, a peculiar conception of "sharia" that can only exist in an atmosphere of total repression, and in total isolation from the rest of the world. A charismatic young girl like Malala, who unabashedly embraces what the world has to offer, embodies the kind of internal resistance, what the Taliban in their paranoia call "fitna" or discord, that inspires confidence in her fellows and always poses the greatest challenge to a fear-mongering regime. So the TTP's response to Malala's miracle recovery, though revolting in the extreme, is perfectly understandable. What doesn't make sense is the head-in-the-sand attitude of Pakistan's decomposing state and society. Every national leader, including the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani recorded a statement of outrage at the attack on Malala Yusufzai. President Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Altaf Hussain all slammed the cowardly assault on young Malala. Imran Khan and his Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders followed suit when they saw the wave of revulsion that swept the entire country but once again, Khan managed to obfuscate the issue by hopping on to his favourite hobby horse, the CIA's drone attacks in Waziristan. But just how many of our leaders have had the stomach to identify the Tehrik-e-Taliban by name, even though the spokesman of the TTP proudly claims responsibility, and to call for a cohesive national policy to defeat them? Very few, and they are mostly from the Awami National Party that has suffered most from the Taliban's bombing sprees and targeted violence. Other leaders' vague expressions such as "inhuman", "barbaric" or "animal" for the attackers, always followed by the remark that such people "cannot be Muslims", may allow Pakistan's spineless power elites to temporarily save their own skins. But it only adds to the general confusion of ordinary Pakistanis, who are already conditioned by their textbooks, Friday khutbas, TV anchors and the state's deliberately opaque policies towards extremists, to try to deduce from such dark innuendo which "foreign hand" has dealt their country the latest blow. Nor, indeed, does it make sense to equate the attack on Malala Yusufzai with American drone attacks in Waziristan. First of all, Malala is not an operator of American drones. Secondly, the fact of girls' schooling, a universal human right acknowledged even by the most repressive "Islamist" governments, and the Taliban's established opposition to it, has nothing to do with America or its drones. And finally, courageous young women like Malala Yusufzai are targeted in large part because they challenge an anciently patriarchal society, a society that has resisted social reform at every stage and now has few ways of dealing with its politically aware, technology savvy, independent-minded young people other than violence. To suggest that Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head because America is raining drones on Waziristan is not just lazy deduction, it is a disingenuous, even dangerous deflection from the real issue, implying that Pakistani girls can't be schooled until American drones are stopped. This is not, of course, to deny the steady brutalization of Pakistani society, a brutalization in which the Taliban and American-operated (and Pakistan-approved) drones are but the latest developments. The "case" of Malala Yusufzai, as it will now be called, exposes several failures of the Pakistani state: the failure to protect its most vulnerable citizens; the failure to overhaul the repressive colonial systems of "governance" that have bred nothing but banditry and warlordism in much of Pakistan's north and west; and the state's failure even to acknowledge, let alone fight, the menace of religious fanaticism, which is claiming its best and brightest one by one. Alas, this is the legacy of a state that has never resolved the contradiction between its "secular" and "practical" aspirations and its cynical deployments of orthodox religion. And so it has come to the point where, for Pakistani politicians, army chiefs and media personalities, to even name the attackers of a 14-year old girl is to touch a nerve, to step on toes, to risk your credibility and even your life. It is our good fortune that Malala Yusufzai lives. But who will take her, and all those Pakistani girls inspired by her, back to school?

Islamist bigots circulating fake pictures of drone victims to deflect attention from Taliban’s attack on Malala

Let Us Build Pakistan
Since the past two days a picture of a young girl has been circulating on facebook and twitter saying that the girl did not get any coverage because she was injured in a drone attack. Majority of those circulating that picture are affiliated with PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, PML-N and ASWJ-LeJ who are equating Taliban’s attack on Malala Yousafzai with drone attacks on Taliban.A couple of things that need to be clarified regarding that girl. The name of that girl is Laiba and she was NOT injured in a drone attack. She was going for eid shopping in Peshawar with her family & a convoy of FC (Frontier Constabulary of Pakistan Army) passing by opened fire on the car thinking the car belonged to terrorists and as a result 7 year old Laiba lost her leg.The tragic incident was also reported in daily Dawn.
If you want to blame someone then please blame those army officials who not only injured young Laiba but also refused to pay the promised amount for her treatment and then tortured her father when he tried to register an FIR (Police report). Laiba moved to London after the incident and is doing great. While most people are in denial about Taliban-ASWJ’s crimes against fellow Pakistanis, some of us have actually been helping these young victims of terrorism

Turkey, the 'catalyst' of Syrian crisis?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Oct. 8 that the escalating conflict along the Syrian-Turkish border could evolve into a regional calamity with global ramifications. The situation in Syria has dramatically worsened, which poses serious risks to the stability of Syria’s neighbors and the entire region. Turkey’s intervention has added uncertainty to the Syrian crisis, and there is little chance to solve it through peaceful means. The conflict has escalated along the Syrian-Turkish border since October. Turkey has taken a tough stance on the border conflict. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Turks to be fully prepared for a possible war with Syria if necessary. Turkish President Abdullah Gul also said that necessary measures would be taken to protect the country. It takes only one year for two countries to change from alliance to enemies. Their diplomatic relations have deteriorated rapidly since massive protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March 2011. Furthermore, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu asked Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately, and transfer his power to Syrian Vice President to Farouk al-Sharaa who leads the transitional government. The Turkish government has taken aggressive military and political measures to overthrow the Assad regime. Turkey has exerted increasing influences on the Syrian crisis, which is closely related to the change in geopolitics in the Middle East and embodies strategic considerations of certain major powers. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the United States would curb the intensification of the conflict through diplomatic means to relieve worries of international community. Some foreign media outlets reported that Saudi Arabia and Qatar had abandoned plans of providing heavy weapons to Syria’s rebels due to opposition from the United States. Obviously, the United States is unwilling to become deeply involved in the conflict and thus Turkey, its reliable ally, has serves as a pawn of Washington. Besides, NATO is ready to support Turkey in this regard, with its secretary-general claiming that NATO would use “all necessary means” to protect Turkey. With the approaching presidential election and the shift of strategic focus back to Asia Pacific, the United States has withdrawn its troops from Iraq, leaving a power vacuum in the Middle East and offering local powers an opportunity to vie for discourse power in regional affairs. Presently Egypt and Syria, traditional powers in Middle East, have suffered inner turmoil while NATO’s vanguard Turkey happens to take advantage of the opportunity to increase its regional influence. It cannot be denied that Turkey has a military advantage over Syria. Therefore, its intervention may have a decisive impact on the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Terrorism is affecting the mental health of Pakistanis

According to health professionals, the number of people suffering from depression and other mental health problems is increasing in Pakistan - a country struggling with Islamist militancy and a dysfunctional economy. Mental health experts say Pakistanis have become more intolerant and violent because of aggravating mental and emotional health in recent years. Imran Murtaza, a health expert at the Fountain House medical center in Lahore, told DW that most of the population felt insecure about the future. "The ongoing insurgency, lawlessness and suicide bombings have made lives miserable for most Pakistanis. Other than that, price hikes and unemployment have made things worse," Murtaza said. The 65-year-old nation's economy is heavily dependent on the World Bank and the IMF. Inflation and unemployment are currently higher than ever, and a lot of young people are desperate to leave the country in search of work.
Worst existential crisis ever
Political commentators believe that Pakistan is currently facing its worst existential crisis ever, in the form of the Taliban insurgency taking place in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the separatist movement in the western region of Baluchistan. Dr. Naeem Siddiqui from the Aga Khan Hospital in Lahore said that the increase in terrorist activities in the country was one of the main reasons behind people's worsening mental health. "On the one hand, people are becoming violent and insecure," he told DW. "On the other, they are becoming very insensitive. If there’s a bomb blast in the city, people don't ask how and why the blast happened; they ask about which roads are blocked for traffic because of it."He added that serious mental disabilities and social phobias tended to affect Pakistan’s female population. "In Western countries, marriage means stability in a person's life, but in Pakistan it is the contrary," he said. "A majority of mental health patients in Pakistan are married women. They are unhappy with their marriages and not treated well by their husbands and in-laws." He also pointed out that the "family system," which used to provide some stability and security, was breaking down because of changing economic and social trends, thus contributing to a general sense of fear. Siddiqui also criticized the government for not paying attention to people's mental health problems: "For 170 million Pakistanis, there are only 450 trained mental health experts in the country." Moreover, he said that Pakistanis themselves did not take emotional and mental health problems seriously. Often they consulted clerics or occult practitioners in case of depression rather than seeking the advice of mental health experts.

Next two days crucial for Malala Yousufzai

From Reza Sayah, Shaan Khan and Ashley Fantz, CNN
The recovery of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the neck and now breathes on a ventilator hinges on what happens over the next two days. Malala Yousufzai remains in a Rawalpindi hospital after being attacked for simply defending the right of girls to go to school. And police are questioning men with alleged links to the attack. On Friday, an international team of neurological specialists said her condition was stable, but they were watching her closely. Her family waits, and hopes, yet they are afraid to give away where they are exactly. They're terrified that Taliban who would gun down a teenager wouldn't hesitate to come after them. Around the country, supporters gathered for small vigils to pray for her recovery. Government officials in Peshawar, the main city in the northwestern region where Malala is from, were silent for one minute in her honor.Tests on Malala went well, doctors said, and her care at a hospital where she was initially treated was good. She remains in critical condition, but specialists are satisfied with the situation. "The next 36 to 48 hours are important," Major Gen. Asim Bajwa told reporters in Rawalpindi. A Karachi rally is planned for Sunday, and thousands of people are expected to attend. Malala was riding home in a school van Tuesday in the tense and Taliban-heavy Swat Valley when gunmen jumped into the vehicle and demanded to know which girl she was. Her horrified classmates pointed to her, and the men fired. Two other girls were wounded, but not seriously. Brave blogger Malala gained fame for blogging about how girls should have rights in Pakistan, including the right to learn. She spoke out in a region of the country where support for Islamic fundamentalism runs high. "I have the right of education," she said in a CNN interview last year. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up." Malala, whose writing earned her Pakistan's first National Peace Prize, also encouraged young people to take a stand against the Taliban -- and to not hide in their bedrooms. "God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you ... when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you," she said in her CNN interview, "['Why] I am being blown up?'" The Taliban believes no girl should be educated, and they've threatened that if Malala survives, they will murder her. Despite the threat, some Pakistani schoolgirls are saying Malala's shooting won't stop them from continuing their education. "In our society, girls don't have rights and they don't get to study, but I think that's completely wrong," one of the girls told a CNN reporter. "I think we have the same rights as men and we will stand up for our rights. And we will go out and encourage all girls to study." Police make arrests, close in on attackers Police had earlier detained 200 suspects, but released all but three. Those three gave statements pointing to one suspect. Also Friday, police officer Gul Afzal Afridi said that suspect has not been arrested, but investigators said they strongly believe he played a role in the attack. Though many Pakistanis are appalled by the attack, the Taliban have kept up their vicious comments, saying that they figured shooting the teenager would have an impact in the West. "We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.
'Malala is Pakistan's daughter'
Indeed, the attack did stir global debate. Leaders across the world spoke out, including those in Pakistan. The teenager has come to symbolize a battle between freedom and oppression, violence and peace, a young generation and a group that is hell-bent on keeping Pakistan under the grip of Islamic extremism. "Malala is Pakistan's daughter, Pakistan's real face, Pakistan's messenger of love and peace," Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said. The country is fighting terrorism because it's a "menace." On her blog, Malala often wrote about her life in Swat Valley, a hotbed of militant activity. The valley near the Afghanistan border once attracted tourists to Pakistan's only ski resort, as well as visitors to the ancient Buddhist ruins in the area. But that was before militants -- their faces covered -- unleashed a wave of violence. They demanded veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls. "We have sacrificed, both man and material and our valiant armed forces, innocent children, citizens, workers and leaders," Ashraf said Friday. "But now the nation is united and we have to unite and stand together to uproot this menace from our motherland and our children." Speaking in Rawalpindi, Ashraf thanked political leaders and others who have stood up in support of Malala. "We would together like to give this message to fight against the mindset that attacked her," he said. 'Education is the best thing' At Islamabad's Khaldunia High School, students hung banners and wrote letters demanding that the government do everything possible to save Malala. Girls look up to Malala, said one female student whose identity CNN isn't revealing to protect her safety. "I was really shocked because she was so ambitious ..." she said. "I pray for her health." "To have the courage to actually go against all that," another girl said. "I think that was quite respectable." A reporter asked if the attack has inspired them and if they planned to speak up even louder. "I want these people who attacked her to learn that women are not all bad," one girl answered. "They are basically afraid of giving women equal rights because they're afraid of what women can do because they know they can do a lot.
"I want to speak up so they can learn some lessons from that message." A boy student said he wanted to study more because of Malala. He won't take going to school for granted anymore, he said. "What I learned from her is that education is the best thing, and if I get an education, I will be a better person," said another boy, 14. A 'barbaric act' President Asif Ali Zardari told Malala's father Friday that he was grieving and in shock over her shooting, and he condemned "the barbaric act of the militants," according to a release from Zardari's office. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday called the attempted assassination of Malala "a wake-up call" for the nation. Pakistani media reports suggested that the government is considering sending her overseas for treatment, but Bajwa, the military spokesman, said Friday that there is no plan yet to do that. Media inside Pakistan continue to debate how to respond to Malala's shooting. "Just as the Taliban scare us with terror, we must scare them by making them unable to operate," Madiha Afzal, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland who grew up in Pakistan, wrote in an opinion piece published in The Express Tribune. "We must terrorize them by investing more than ever before in educating girls," she said. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now the U.N. special envoy for global education, has traveled to Pakistan and advocated for girls' education there. He said in an editorial published Friday that Zardari has invited him to return in November to lead a delegation of education leaders to come up with ways to improve opportunities for children. "I have asked Pakistan's President Zardari to pledge that Malala's suffering will not be in vain," he wrote.

MEDICAL REPORT: Malala moves her limbs; condition improving: ISPR

Malala Yousafzai's condition is witnessing steady improvement and as a result the critically injured 14-year old is now being administered less amount of sedatives, said Director General ISPR Maj Gen Asim Bajwa. "Movement has been witnessed in Malala's hands and legs which is a positive development," Maj Gen Bajwa said while giving a briefing on Malala's health here on Saturday. He said the doctors have cut down the amount of sedatives being administered to Malala Yousafzai in view of the steady improvement in her health condition. Her condition is satisfactory, he added. The DG ISPR said the board of doctors have not yet made any decision in connection with taking young Malala abroad. The doctors are constantly busy in taking post-traumatic care of their patient, he said. He, however, said that Malala is still on a ventilator and it would be premature to say anything in regard to the removal of the ventilator. Doctors will decide on removal of ventilator tomorrow morning, he added.

Girls across Pakistan are saying “I am Malala”.
When gun-totting men stopped their school wagon in Mingora last Tuesday around 12-45 p.m. asking for Malala Yousafzai, none of the three girls inside spoke. This, despite the terrorists threatening to shoot all of them if they did not identify Malala. Today, stirred by the braveheart who dared to stand up to the Taliban and her friends, Shazia and Kainat, who refused to identify her even under threat, girls across Pakistan are saying “I am Malala”.
This is happening not just on the social media – which offers a degree of anonymity and security – but on television and on the streets; some with their faces uncovered. “I-am-Malala” has been trending not just in Pakistan but also in Afghanistan where girls education is equally at risk from the very same elements. On Saturday, the Afghanistan Education Ministry organized a nationwide prayer for her at schools in solidarity with Malala. She is being likened to “Malalai of Maiwand”, the “Afghan Joan of Arc” who rallied the Pashtun army against the British in 1880.
In an echo of the Pakistan Peoples Party pet slogan “kitne Bhutto maroge, har ghar se Bhutto niklega” (how many Bhuttos will you kill, every house will produce one), the refrain across the country is “how many Malalas will you kill?’’ As daily vigils are being organized to pray for the speedy recovery of Malala and her friends, girls were coming forward; willing to stand up and be counted. Her classmate from the Khushal Public School in Mingora, asserted: “Every girl in Swat is Malala. We will educate ourselves. We will win. They can’t defeat us.” If anything, the fate of Malala
– who came to represent the “voice of the girls of Swat” because of her blog, written under the pseudonym Gul Makai, in which she advocated girls right to education during the Taliban rein of terror over Swat – has made the media a bit circumspect about exposing the girls too much for fear that the terrorists might target them, too.
Still, at vigils and demonstrations, children are turning up in considerable numbers; a rare sight in Pakistan where crowds are avoided given the impunity with which terrorists penetrate. Even in Peshawar – where there are indications of various terrorists outfits regrouping and mobilizing after a brief lull – girls are coming out in support of Malala; fearing that silence is no longer an option. Parents could also be seen encouraging their children to join in the slogan-shouting against the Taliban who have been nicknamed ‘Zaliman’ (ruthless) by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
In fact, the daily photographs of girls praying in schools for Malala is itself a testimony that the Taliban have not been successful in deterring the desire among most Pakistanis to send their girls to school after this latest round of violence targeting girls education. Malala today has become an icon of resistance; some insist the name has come to represent a movement in Pakistan. But, even before the attempt on her life made her an international headline and lit up a flame in many a heart to emulate her enough to say “I am Malala”, the fact is that there are number of Malalas across the country; even in the tribal lands along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border – areas which have been billed as the most dangerous place in the world in the Western narrative. Indeed, despite the terrorists whose writ runs large in these areas bombing hundreds of girls schools in pursuit of their agenda, nearly two lakh girls are still enrolled in schools across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). These figures may not stand scrutiny – given the issues that bog government-run school education in the sub-continent – but recent reports from the frontier regions have shown girls not only attending schools in FATA but also travelling to Peshawar to compete in sporting events despite the risks involved.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Anti-polio drive to begin from October 15
Around 5.2 million children below the age of five-year will be administrated polio drops in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the National Immunisation Days (NIDs), drive formally be started from October 15th (Monday). Following detection of polio positive cases, the three-day anti-polio drive has been designed to cover entire 25 districts of the KP, said Dr Janbaz Afridi, Deputy Director KP Expanded Polio Immunisation EPI programme while speaking at inaugural ceremony here at Peshawar Press Club on Friday. He informed that a total of 15,84 teams have been constituted under the supervision of more than 2,949 areas in-charge to carry out polio eradication campaign in benefiting manner. "We are still fighting against the crippling disease of polio due to influx of people from restive agencies and migration from neighbouring countries," he maintained. He, however, said that efforts were being made at level to defeat the fatal disease from country, particularly in this region. Other speakers including Dr Jamil, Dr Obaidullah, Dr Rohullah and Saiful Islam Saifi highlighted the importance of polio drops, which can helpful to safe the future generation from life time disability. They urged the media and Ulema to play their effective role for sensitising general public, and parents about benefits of the polio vaccines. Addressing as chief guest at inaugural ceremony, the PPP KP President, Anwar Saiful regretted that most of polio suffering of Muslim countries in which Pakistan is more venerable situation. He added that the combating polio was a daunting task for government in Khyber Paktunkhwa and Fata as most of polio cases are being reported in this region, which was basic reason of influx of Afghan refugees and internally displacement from restive tribal agencies. PPP provincial president urged the Ulema, tribal elders and religious scholars to play their due role for sensitising people regarding significance of polio drops, which could safe future of their children. He admitted that it was greater responsibility lay upon elected representatives to play effective role for creation of awareness in their respective constituencies to helpful for complete elimination the crippling disease. He informed that PPP K Pakhtunkhwa would also launch a special masses sensitisation campaign to highlight the importance of Polio vaccination in the province. "I would extend any possible support from party platform to complete eliminate the fatal polio disease from the province", he assured. Later, Anwar Saiful administered two drops to kids to inaugurate their day polio eradication drive in the province.

بلاول کا تعاقب Bilawal Bhutto

Bahrain police breakup protest

Bahrain still volatile as police break up a protest using tear gas and stun grenades. Jessica Gray reports

Malala Yousufzai’s 90pc brain still intact

Ninety percent of Malala Yousufzai’s
brain is still intact while ten percent of it may have been damaged due to continued unconsciousness that could impact brain functioning, if it prolonged, The Nation learnt on Friday. “Time factor is very crucial at this stage. It’s very important that she recovers her senses within the next 48 hours. Prolonged unconsciousness damages myelin covering which is a vital shield in the brain for its protection. It also causes exhaustion in the body organs and gradually hampers their functioning,” a top official at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) told this journalist. “Our safe clinical assessment is that ninety percent of her brain is working properly. The head injury may have caused the brain damage up to ten percent or even less which could be ascertained in the next couple of days considering the patient’s condition following clinical examination,” he said. Talking to The Nation from Lahore, Chief Clinical Examiner Punjab and Director Forensic Laboratory Dr Waseem Haider said that the survival in the head injury cases depends on regaining senses. “It’s a ratio: proportional situation in mathematical terms. The long the duration of unconsciousness gets, the less become the chances of survival,” he said. Dr Waseem endorsed the observation of the surgeons at AFIC suggesting that 36 to 48 hours were crucial in determining Malala’s health condition. “This time period is very crucial. The brain’s neuron cells are highly sensitive that are covered by a myelin sheath or covering. This sheath gets destroyed in case unconsciousness due to head injury protracts. This could result in inflammation and swelling in the brain to disrupt the transmission of its functions,” he added Elaborating on the complications that may emerge out of a head injury, the renowned physician said, tongue twisting, adverse affect on shoulders and memory lapse are common complications suffered by the victims of serious head injuries. “Malala was shot in the temporal region of the brain. The complications or side effects of damage thus caused may result in memory lapse. Let’s hope this never happens. Everybody is praying for her life and health. Brain is the power centre of human body. Its components are very delicate and sensitive. Any harm to them brings very negative affects to the entire body,” Dr Waseem Haider said. Earlier, briefing the media on Malala Yousafzai’s health condition, Military Spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said that Yousafzai was on the ventilator but her health condition showed improvement. “She is out of danger.” A team of doctors comprising the military and civilians including foreign surgeons is treating Malala, Bajwa said citing the observations of the neuro-surgical and intensive care experts to term the coming 36 to 48 hours as critical for Malala’s life. The doctors’ board would decide whether to send Malala abroad for better treatment, Bajwa informed.

142m girls at risk of child marriage: UN report

Calling for zero tolerance towards child marriage, a latest report of the United Nations has feared that the number of girl child marriages will increase dramatically over the next 10 years and more than 142 million girls are at risk of this human rights abuse. The number of children marrying each year will grow by 14 per cent from 14.2 million in 2010 to 15.1 million in 2030 if current trends continue, warns the report titled “Marrying too Young: End Child Marriage” released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In South Asia alone, the number of child brides is likely to increase from 24.4 million (4.9 million per year) in 2010 to 27.9 million (5.6 million per year) in 2030. South Asia has the highest prevalence of child marriages with 46 per cent followed by sub-Sahara Africa with 37 per cent. In Pakistan, the report says, about 5,000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur every year, with young girls disproportionately affected. The UNFPA launched a fistula repair project in Pakistan as part of an overall program to improve maternal health and now it is launching another program with focus on ending child marriage and early pregnancy. In Punjab, the UN agency supported the formulation of a youth policy which addresses child marriage and early pregnancy. Youth networks raised awareness in their communities about the danger of child marriage, the report said.

Regaining senses: Doctors hopeful as Malala starts feeling pain

The Express Tribune
Doctors were hopeful as 14-year-old child activist Malala Yousufzai, attacked by the Taliban, felt pain – a sign of recovery for someone who is on a ventilator – on Saturday, Express News quoted hospital sources as saying. Since Malala is under medication, her senses were not active and this development was welcomed by doctors. “(The) health condition of Malala continues to remain satisfactory. Her vitals are okay and she is still on ventilator,” the military said in an update. “A board of doctors is continuously monitoring her condition,” it added. After Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban, the doctors who performed surgery on her had expressed fear of a possibility of slight brain damage. However, all of her medical reports came out clear. Earlier, doctors had said that Malala had a 70 per cent chance of survival and despite improvement, was seriously ill.

Taliban to target media organisations on Malala coverage

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud has issued special directions to his subordinate terrorists located in different cities of Pakistan to target national and international media organisations, BBC Urdu reported. A responsible official of the Interior Ministry told BBC Urdu on condition of anonymity that intelligence agencies have intercepted the telephonic conversation of Hakeemullah Mehsud with one of his sub-ordinate Nadeem Abbas alias ‘Intiqami’ in which Mehsud was directing Abbas to attack media organisations. Mehsud directed his subordinate to target the offices of media organisations in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and in other cities of the country especially those media organisations and media personalities who were denouncing TTP after attack on child activist Malala Yousufzai.Interior Ministry has issued orders to beef up the security near the offices of media organisations in the country after tracing Mehsud’s call, the official informed. Interior Ministry has also issued directions to the religious scholars, who had publicly denounced the Taliban, to be cautious, the official informed. The government has issued directions to the authorities to deploy additional police troops in the areas where media offices are located and help of Frontier Constabulary (FC) could also be sought if needed, the interior ministry official added. Moreover, the official said that Chief Commissioner Islamabad and chief secretaries of the four provinces have been directed to hold meetings with media owners and address their security concerns. Earlier today, a spokesman for the Swat Taliban has threatened to kill Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai after a failed attempt to assassinate his daughter, said a report by Reuters.

په پښتونخوا کې وکیلان د ملالې له پاره احتجاج کوي

نن په خيبر پښتنونخوا کې وکيلان پر ملاله يوسفزۍ د بريد غندنې له پاره احتجاجي مظاهري کوي.
بلخوا د پاکستان د پوځ ویاند وايي، د ملالې روغتیايي حالت دا شېبه له خطره بهر دی خو راتلونکې څو ورځې مهمې دي. د پاکستان وزيراعظم راجا پرویز اشرف هم د خپل اتحادي ګوندونو له مشرانو سره په پېنډۍ کې د ملالې تپوس وکړ. پر دې موقع وزيراعظم وويل، ټول قام به د ملالې يوسفزۍ د پاکستان حفاظت کوي او حکومت په دې ژمنه ولاړ دی چي سخت دريځي به له بېخه وباسي. ((موږ دلته د ملاله يوسفزۍ زړورتیا او همت ته د عقيدت پېرزوینې وړاندې کولو له پاره راغلي يو. پر ملاله بريد يو بزدلانه فعل وو، ټول قام متحد دي، او د دغو کسانو د بربريت په سختو ټکو کې غندنه کوي.)) د جمعې پر ورځ پوليسو ويلي په دي ترځ کې يې ځيني مشکوک کسان نيولي دي. د جمعې پر ورځ د پاکستان په ښوونځیو کې د ملاله یوسفزۍ د روغتیا لپاره دوعاګانې وشوي. ۱۴ کلنه ملاله د روانې اوونۍ په سر کې په سوات کې وسله والو طالبانو هغه مهال په ډزو سخته زخمي کړه چې هغه له ښوونځي کور ته روانه وه.

Afghan students pray for Malala's recovery

Schools in Afghanistan opened Saturday with special prayers for the quick recovery of a Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by Taliban, in a move officials said was to show solidarity with her.
The Pakistani Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, a teenage children's rights activist, in the head on her school bus Tuesday, to avenge her campaigns for the right to an education in the militants' former stronghold of Swat. The shooting of the 14-year-old activist was denounced around the world. "To show sympathy to Malala Yousafzai around 9.5 million students all over the country in 15,500 schools and education centres offered prayers for her quick recovery," education ministry spokesman Amanullah Iman told AFP. "The students also expressed their solidarity to their sister (Malala) because the attack on her was an attack on education," he said. "Malala is just a girl and student like us, she shouldn't have been shot," Freshta, a 10 grade pupil told AFP. "Today we recited Quran and prayed for her recovery," she said. The show of solidarity to Malala comes two days after armed men attacked a girls' school in relatively peaceful Bamyan province in central Afghanistan, causing considerable damage but no injuries, official said. The Taliban government, removed from power by a US-led invasion in 2001, had enforced a strict ban on girls attending schools. There are fears that gains made by women and girls since the Taliban were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001 could be eroded when international troops pull out by 2014.

Afghan students to offer prayers for Malala Yousafzai

The Express Tribune
A day after the nation observed Yaum-e-Dua for an early and full recovery of Malala Yousafzai, the Afghan government has announced that prayers will be held across the country on Saturday (today) for the 14-year-old girl, the Afghan embassy said on Friday. The Afghan ministry of education announced that prayers will be offered for Malala in schools across Afghanistan, as Afghans were also shocked at the attack carried out by the Taliban. Shams Zardasht, the Afghan embassy spokesman, told The Express Tribune that in light of the brutal attack on her, the Afghan government has decided to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan and Malala’s family. He referred to the statement and the phone call from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardri on Wednesday, in which he strongly condemned the attack. The ministry added that prayers will be offered in nearly 15,500 schools across the country in special functions. Education Minister Farooq Wardag will visit a girls’ school in Kabul to mark the beginning of the functions, a ministry statement, which was sent to The Express Tribune, said. Wardag will join the students in their prayers for Malala, it added. It added that those against education had carried out the attack. Describing Malala as a hero who promotes education, the ministry stated her name would forever be remembered around the world. “Afghanistan, which has suffered from the destruction of its education system for years, now feels the pain of the attack on Malala. We are confident that such attacks will not hinder the promotion of education in Pakhtunkhwa and any other region,” the Afghan ministry claimed. It said the ministry viewed the attack on Malala and other students across the world as an assault on humanity. The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad also issued a statement to strongly condemn the attack. “The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Islamabad strongly condemns the cowardly attack on Malala Yousafza, girls’ education and rights activist from the Swat valley of Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa,” the embassy said. “Malala has very courageously raised her voice in a militancy hit environment against ignorance and strived for the very right of education for her fellow females,” the statement continued.

Security forces detain five in Nowshera over attack on Malala

Security forces personnel on Saturday detained five people, including an Afghan national, in Nowshera in connection with the attack on child activist Malala Yousufzai, DawnNews reported. Fifty-five people have been reportedly detained during the past two days in the case. On the other hand, District Police Officer (DPO) Swat Gul Afzal Khan Afridi has claimed that the mastermind behind the attack on Malala was a man named Ataullah. Afzal moreover stated that Ataullah was from Swat’s Sangota region and police and security forces had detained a number of individuals from in and around the region. The DPO moreover stated that the detainees were shifted to an undisclosed location for questioning. He said soon the accused would be brought before the public. Moreover, police have been questioning people in the town of Mingora, in the Swat Valley, where the shooting took place. AP adds: Afridi declined to give any details about the detained or what role they’re suspected of having in the shooting. He said he did not want to endanger the ongoing investigation. Earlier on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but he said investigators had identified the masterminds of the shooting and efforts were under way to capture all those involved. Between April and June, authorities had arrested nearly 100 militants in the Swat Valley, said two security officials and a senior government official. One of those arrested was a woman identified as Naheed Bibi, who was married to Fazlullah and had been sent by him to the valley to help reactivate militant cells there, the officials added. Her interrogation led security officials to over 60 telephone numbers of SIM cards she and her aides had bought in various northwestern cities. By monitoring all the numbers, authorities rounded up the militants — including several would-be suicide bombers — and a large number of weapons and explosives was also seized, the officials said. The officials did not want to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

UN Secretary-General writes letter to Malala's parents

The Secretary-General
handed over the letter, addressed to Malala s parents, to Pakistan s new permanent representative to the UN, Masood Khan during a meeting Friday. Secretary-General Ban, on the occasion, said that he had already issued a strong statement condemning the cowardly act perpetrated against a young 14-year old girl. Malala was shot and critically injured in an attack, for which Taliban have claimed responsibility, in Swat earlier this week. The incident has sparked widespread condemnation within Pakistan and across the world. Malala, at present, is fighting for her life in a military hospital in Rawalpindi after a successful surgery that removed a bullet from her head. “Malala is a role model not only for your country, but for our world,” the Secretary-General said adding that education was a fundamental right for everybody. He further maintained that the UN was partnering with the people of Pakistan in their struggle to promote education. Ambassador Masood Khan said that the Pakistani leadership and the entire nation had condemned the abominable act of violence against Malala. "The whole nation is united against this kind of obscurantism. Malala has been an icon for education for girls and an inspiration for the international community," Ambassador Khan observed. The Pakistani envoy informed the Secretary-General that the Pakistan government and all segments of civil society were committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights, including the right to education. It may be mentioned here that the Pakistan s Mission to the United Nations in New York has sent the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s letter to the parents of Malala through the Foreign Office. Earlier, Pakistan s new Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Masood Khan presented his credentials to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in his office at UN Headquarters in New York. He also thanked Secretary General for his strong and consistent support to Pakistan. "People of Pakistan would never forget the Secretary-General leadership for mobilizing the humanitarian support following massive and devastating floods in Pakistan," he said. Welcoming the new Permanent Representative of Pakistan, Secretary General Ban appreciated Pakistan s active role in the UN, its contribution to the UN peacekeeping, and support to the organization s efforts to promote regional and international peace and security. He said Ambassador Khan has assumed his position at an important moment as Pakistan was a member of the UN Security Council. Before joining this position, Ambassador Masood Khan was Pakistan s Ambassador to China.

Malala still on ventilator in ICU

Malala Yusufzai Saturday morning is still on ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU), Geo News reported. The father of Malala Yusufzai urged the nation to continue praying for her full recovery soon. 'According to neurosurgical and intensive care specialists, health of Malala Yousafzai is satisfactory but next 36 to 48 hours are critical," said the DG ISPR while briefing the media-persons regarding health condition of 14-year school girl, who was targeted by militants in a Swat town on Tuesday. However, he said that Malala has been placed on ventilator but the team of doctors have described her health condition as satisfactory. She was flown by an air-ambulance from Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), a health unit of CMH Rawalpindi on Thursday. A team of specialists also accompanied wounded Malala on her way to Rawalpindi, while another team of specialists headed by Surgeon General of Pakistan Army received her here, he said General Bajwa said Malala was shifted to Rawalpindi on the advise of the doctors panel treating her as there are better intensive care facilities as compared to CMH Peshawar. All the medical sketches and pathological investigations of Malala were carried out afresh in AFIC, according to which all her vital organs are well intact and working properly, he said. The DG ISPR added that a special medical team had been constituted, headed by a Major General, and that the decision to send Malala abroad would be taken by the medical board. Answering a question regarding composition of the medical team, he said it includes specialists from abroad, senior specialists from civil set up and senior doctors from Pakistan Army. This team will keep vigil on her health round the clock and will take decisions according to her health needs till her complete recovery, he added. He appealed the nation today being Friday offer special prayers for her early recovery and ISPR will keep abreast all about her health condition from time to time through media.