Malala Yousufzai to be given Pak's highest civilian bravery award

Malala Yousufzai

Sitara-e-Shujaat, one of Pakistan's highest civilian awards for bravery, will be given to 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban last week for speaking out against the militants, Interior Minister Rehman Malik today said.

He also offered a bounty of Rs 10 crore for Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, who had claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the teenage rights

activist.

Malik made the announcements after visiting Khushal Public School run by Malala's father in Mingora, the main town of Swat Valley, located 160 km from Islamabad.

Malik also visited Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Ahmed, the two girls who were injured in the attack on Malala and gave them cash awards.

Speaking at the school, Malik said Malala was a symbol of bravery. He called on the students to follow her example.

Earlier, Malik told the media that security and intelligence agencies were hunting all the persons involved in the attack and had made some arrests. He contended that the assassination attempt was planned by Pakistani Taliban militants based in Afghanistan.

Four men had come from Afghanistan to carry out the attack and one of them had been identified, he said. Some associates of the terrorists and the fiancee of one of the attackers have been detained, he said.

The government is providing security to the families of Malala and the two other girls.

Malik further said that the latest intelligence reports suggested that Fazlullah, the former commander of the Taliban in Swat, was being made the central leader of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Fazlullah had fled from Swat to Afghanistan's Kunar province after the Pakistan Army launched a drive to flush out the militants in early 2009.

He said Fazlullah was being made the leader as the current chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, had become inactive.

Malala was shot in the head during the bid on her life. After being treated in military hospitals in Peshawar and Rawalpindi, she was flown to Britain yesterday and is currently being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

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