The 10 Taliban militants who tried to kill Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai for her outspoken views on girls’ education in the country’s troubled northwest in 2012 have been arrested, the Pakistani army announced on Friday.
Malala, then 15, was shot in her head by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gunmen in October 2012 in northwestern Swat valley.
She has since recovered from the assault, which shocked the world and catapulted her to international fame for her courageous and determined fight for education rights to all children.
Two other students were also injured in the attack.
Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Asim Saleem Bajwa said the 10 arrested militants have revealed that the mastermind of the attack on the schoolgirls was TTP commander Mullah Fazlullah.
“This was an intelligence-led operation, and police were also involved in the case,” Bajwa was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
Bajwa said the group of the arrested militants hail from Malakand, close to Mingora, the main town of Swat where Malala was attacked.
The arrests came as part of the Pakistani military’s ongoing all-out assault on the TTP and other militant outfits in North Waziristan.
Malala, after narrowly surviving the assassination bid, was taken to Britain with her family for treatment.
She now lives in Birmingham, where she was flown for specialist treatment after the shooting.
She came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who had taken control of the valley.
The teenage activist was named one of Time magazine’s most influential persons of 2013, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has also released an autobiography recently.
In July last year, her address to the UN General Assembly where she vowed she would never be silenced earned her a standing ovation.
She was awarded the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize last year.