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Pakistani Schools Hold Prayers For Yousafzai


Army doctors shift move Malala Yousafzai, 14, to an army hospital following an attack by gunmen in Rawalpindi.
ISLAMABAD – Schools across Pakistan have held prayers in support of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old peace campaigner shot by the Taliban earlier this week who is fighting for her life in a military hospital.

The prayers in schools and other places across Pakistan on October 12 came in response to a call by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government for people around the country to express solidarity with Yousafzai.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Yousafzai on October 12 as the gravely wounded schoolgirl recovers in the Rawalpindi hospital.

"The extremists attacked Malala for what she stands for because they were scared of the power of her vision," Ashraf said. "She had a simple message -- the right for girls to be educated. Malala is a true Pakistani and is the real face of Pakistan. We will not allow any one to destroy the face of Pakistan."

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa told reporters on October 12 that the girl's condition was satisfactory.

"Now, as per reports of the neurosurgical and intensive care unit specialists, Malala's health condition is stable," Bajwa said.

Yousafzai was moved on October 11 to the hospital in Rawalpindi, one of the nation's best-equipped medical facilities, from Peshawar.

She was shot in the head and neck on October 9 by a gunman as she returned home from a girls' school in the volatile northwestern Swat Valley. Two other girls were less seriously injured.

Pakistani police said on October 12 that they had arrested a number of suspects in the case. But officials declined to give any details about the number of those arrested or what roles they are suspected of having in the shooting.

On October 11, protesters held a candle rally in Pakistan's commercial capital of Karachi to express solidarity with Yousafzai and condemn the attack.

Meanwhile, one of Pakistan's most prominent religious organizations, the Sunni Ittehad Council, has issued a fatwa, or religious decree, condemning the attack on Yousafzai and also calling suicide attacks haram, or forbidden in Islam.

"Islamic Shari'a does not allow [such] attacks anywhere and the suicide attackers will go to hell and will be expelled from Islam," said Mufti Muhammad Sharif, a leader of the Sunni Ittehad Council. "We strongly condemn the attack on Malala Yousafzai. This attack is un-Islamic and unethical."

The fatwa is seen as part of growing anger across Pakistan with militants and terrorism following the attack on Yousafzai.

With reporting by AP