Pakistan International Airlines has converted one of its normal airliners into an air ambulance to transport a girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban to Dubai for treatment.
14-year old Malala Yousufzai, the winner of Pakistan’s first National Peace Award, was brutally attacked by the Taliban after being specifically targeted for being “secular-minded.” She sustained a serious head injury after a members of the Taliban shot at her on Tuesday.
She had been riding the bus home from school when the attacker, wearing a police uniform, stopped the bus and fired shots at her. According to physicians, the bullet entered her skull but miraculously missed her brain. Two other girls sustained less serious injuries during the attack as well.
The cowardly gunman then quickly fled the scene.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and let the media know that given the opportunity, they would target her again if she survived the attack.
The makeshift PIA air ambulance stands at the ready to transport Malala to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, in the event that a medical board decides she should be flown abroad for further treatment of her injuries. The airliner has been equipped with needed medical equipment and a medical staff is on standby.
President Obama denounced the shooting of 14-year-old Malala as “tragic and barbaric,” and offered a transport on an air ambulance operated by U.S. forces as well as medical treatment. At this time, however, we do not know whether Malala will be flown out of the country for treatment at all. Fortunately, if physicians deem the transport necessary, there will have more than one option available.
Malala was targeted not only for being “secular-minded” in the words of the Taliban, but for continuing education after the Taliban banned education for females. In the past, she has documented Taliban atrocities and blogged them for the BBC under a pen name.
She has also been vocal about her belief in women and children’s rights, writing letters to the foreign press. Malala has gained fame in her home country and abroad for standing up to the repressive fundamentalist regime.
Pakistan has erupted into protests since the shooting. A vast number of Pakistanis have condemned the men involved in the attack. Accordingly, Pakistani officials have offered a large reward for information leading to their arrest.
We wish Malala the absolute best in recovering from her injuries sustained in this senseless, reprehensible attack by close-minded, hate-mongering cowards.