Fiancée of key suspect in Malala shooting arrested along with others, says Malik

Published: October 31, 2012
Ataullah Khan had crossed over from Afghanistan in to Pakistan, before making his way to Swat. PHOTO: FILE

Ataullah Khan had crossed over from Afghanistan in to Pakistan, before making his way to Swat. PHOTO: FILE

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday that the fiancée of a key suspect involved in shooting 15-year-old child activist Malala Yousufzai, Ataullah Khan, has been arrested along with others, reported BBC Urdu.

According to the report, Khan had crossed over from Afghanistan in to Pakistan, before making his way to Swat. There, he tracked down his target, intercepting Malala’s school van on October 9, 2012. He fled shortly after the assassination attempt.

Khan, a former Swat resident, was last week identified by police officials as the main suspect in the shooting incident. Police said that Khan had been a studying for a master’s degree in chemistry prior to opting for militancy and had studied for his Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Jahanzeb College in Swat.

The interior minister said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had adopted a new strategy of carrying out attacks and were now teaming up with proclaimed offenders.

Responding to a question regarding handing over of Maulana Fazlullah, Malik said that the government had not only spoken with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but a written application had also been sent out to the Afghanistan government. However, he said, the Afghan government has not yet responded.

Pakistan had requested Afghanistan to hand over Maulana Fazlullah, claiming that he was involved in planning major attacks in Pakistan from across the border, including the attack on peace activist Malala Yousufzai.

Malik said that Malala shooting cannot be used as justification for demanding a military offensive in North Waziristan.

He said that before a military operation, many aspects are looked into, on top of which is the security of the locals. The evacuation of inhabitants of that area is one of the implications other than appropriate time, weather and action.

Correction: Due to a translation error, an earlier version of this article had stated that the main suspect Ataullah Khan had been arrested. This has been corrected after verification from the reporter of the original article.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • John
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:19PM

    Good job by the forces. There are many people already arrested but what about the punishment?


  • huzaifa
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:23PM

    let see! how the champion of human values and woman rights in Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai responds. In past, he has been howling loud to blame Pakistan for harboring terrorists, its strange to know that the biggest terrorists of all ” the Mullah Fazal-ul-llah is sitting in his own lap.


  • Sonya
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:33PM

    @John. Due to weak and corrupt judicial system of Pakistan, terrorists are very hard to be punished if they are ever caught.Recommend

  • Afzaal Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:39PM


    That is the issue, 8 yrs we still haven’t got the law, parliment sitting on thier collective behind and doing crap instead of giving us comprehensive laws.


  • Remi
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:41PM

    Hope they give him the hardest punishment a human can ever get @John:


  • Syed Bilal
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:41PM

    There are many Terrorists already arrested but what about the punishment, will SC dare to award that culprit no less than Death Penalty? If so will president might delay his punishment?.Recommend

  • Khan of Cape Town
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:44PM

    Now, wait for the Pakistani courts to acquit him, citing “no evidence”.


  • mussarat ahmedzeb(swat)
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:46PM

    he will be Scot free in no time cause no judge will want to hear his case and there will be no witnesses as well.Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:46PM

    Wait for the courts order to release him.


  • Jameel
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:48PM

    Malik Ishaq is also arrested
    Mumtaz Qadri is also arrested

    Arrests mean headlines, no results


  • Jawad U Rehman
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:49PM

    This is a very strange way to announce the arrest of such a high profile case. The ministry of interior should have held a press conference and given details, instead of Mr. Malik giving it out as a small piece of information when giving an interview to a foreign journalist. The country’s own media remains in dark about the arrest and details. Express Tribune’s own picture of the suspect comes from CNN’s video capture !


  • deb
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:53PM

    ‘Pakistan had requested Afghanistan to hand over Maulana Fazlullah, claiming that he was involved in planning major attacks in Pakistan from across the border, including the attack on peace activist Malala Yousufzai.’

    Afghanistan should handover Maulana Fazlullah to Pakistan. and
    Pakistan should handover Hafeez Sayeed to India.


  • Lord
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:05PM

    Another message for people who say how Taliban take responsibility so quickly.Recommend

  • Kamran
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:11PM

    Is that right? Why is this news not published elsewhere,,,,?!
    Even if he is caught .. chances of him being release for lack of evidence remain high!
    Unfortunately… (Sigh) !


  • Rana
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Hand them over to Punjab Police’s encounter specialists!Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:31PM

    @ John, What good job? Whe they detained his mother, brother and relatives, he had no other choice except to surrender himself.


  • Farooq
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:41PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: You seem to be the brother of this Guy who attacked Mallala..


  • PaKhtoon
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:43PM

    That’s Great, now hang him over in public Please…….


  • Irfan Afridi
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:45PM

    There is no punishment for criminals in our country. Money pays a great role. Only keeping behind the bars is considered punishment which is better than living in such a terrified country.


  • PaKhtoon
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:46PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: and what he did is Ok ?? Just Shut up


  • Khan of Cape Town
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:49PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: you require special “measures” to catch those who kill and justify 14 year old kids. John is is right.


  • Haider Shah
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:53PM

    Excellent Job! Now Prosecute and then Hang him where Malala and others were shot in order to send out a clear and crisp message to all Islamists that Pakistan shall never be an Islamic theocracy!

    The region called Pakistan right now has been there for thousands of years and does not belong to any one religion. All Pakistanis, yes all Pakistanis, are sons and daughters of Indus Valley regardless of their religion!


  • Pakistan Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:57PM

    Give him a severe punishment!


  • Riaz Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:01PM

    Now hang him high! No bail, no nothing. Good job. Proud of security forces to apprehend the monster. May God have his curse on him.


  • Googly
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:06PM

    Good job….since this news is being closely followed by international media, it is important that the government should highlight the aspect that this attacker has been trained and came from Afghanistan to carry out the attack in order to show to the world outside that the Afghan-US forces also need to do their bit in securing the Pak-Afghan border, instead of simply blaming Pakistan for not doing enough. Such infiltrations are equally damaging for us.


  • Sohraab
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:23PM

    Good Job. However, the only problem is our Courts…they will give him the Bail!


  • Obaid
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:37PM

    Now only CJ can save this guy


  • Oct 31, 2012 - 6:47PM

    If a criminal is punished will, everybody will learn the lesson.


  • shahid
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:50PM

    Courts will let him go. One seriously questions what is the role of courts in our society. Are courts extension of Taliban. What reforms are needed in the courts?. Under present system it is better not to even arrest them.If the court’s only role is to release them why even go through this joke?


  • Feroz
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:58PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Sir, it is standard practice when dealing with terrorists that the family members are picked up to persuade the accused to surrender. However the law enforcers have to be absolutely sure who the culprit is with proof. I am not condoning this behaviour but it happens around the world.


  • Asli-Pakistani.
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Covert operation of CIA now converted with some catch.


  • Pro Truth
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:04PM

    now police will two options, 1 send him to courts for prosecution and most probably he will be released on one or the other reason! 2. He is killed while trying to flee! – Shahbaz Sharif style! though the second option may not be very legal it does bring down the crime levels where court fail to deliver justice on time.
    If we punish the culprits with speed and accurcy, I guess this will send the clear signal and many will refrain from doing such henious acts.


  • Beatle
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:04PM

    Forces have done their job. Wait and see for his bail from the court !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • PTI Mardan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:05PM

    No big deal.He ll be out of prison in a couple of days just like the rest of terrorists and target killersRecommend

  • Nitish
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:12PM

    Highly educated guy like him committed such crime…..cant believe.This guy rehman mallik is not trust worthy.CIA ,FBI or MI7 should investigate.


  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:35PM

    The fiancee is arrested not the accused. Minister Sahib boastfully announces this contempt of law, women’s dignity and human rights as well as shoddy police work. Unbelievable governance!


  • Googly
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:47PM

    It is rather unjustified to criticize the courts here. We should remember that a judge has to decide a matter on the basis of evidence presented before him/her and such evidence collection is the job of the police. A law has to be applied across the board. Remember this is the same police which is very fond of picking up innocent people and putting them behind the bars for everyday crimes and it is the courts which “rescue” these innocent citizens by granting them bails. If the police does not do its job properly, a judge can do nothing in the absence of proof. If the courts are pressurized to detain “suspects” on the basis of shady/inaccurate or incomplete evidence, this would be a dangerous precedent and would encourage the police to pick up innocent people, accuse them of a crime, create a hype that they have caught a “high profile” terrorist while the real culprits still remain free. The criminal justice system works on the principle of “innocent until not proven guilty” and the judges have to implement this. On the other hand, if the government is not happy with this, then the parliament can amend the laws accordingly that every person “accused” of a crime of such nature should not be granted bail as a matter of right. But again, who will protect the innocent victims, if not the courts then who?


  • zohaq
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:08PM

    @Feroz I returned to Pakistan several years ago after having spent 26 years in a major civilised country. I have travelled widely. I have worked in the Police. In no other country have I seen relatives of suspects arrested when they are not suspected themselves of committing a crime. This act is unjust and inhuman and we should not tolerate this behaviour from our Police.
    Police or Army or Government or Judiciary or Parliamentarians should be just as much subject to the rule of law as any other citizen – this is our law and Constitution and our freedom, we must guard it. Two wrongs never make a right. Malala’s attackers deserve our hatred but we have to be just even to our enemies as commanded to us by Allah.


  • Polpot
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:18PM

    @zohaq: Thank you Sir for the voice of sanity


  • Polpot
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:20PM

    “Correction: Due to a translation error, an earlier version of this article had stated that the main suspect Ataullah Khan had been arrested. This has been corrected after verification from the reporter of the original article.”

  • Sajid Iqbal
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Now title is corrected. ?Recommend

  • Light
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:50PM

    Why fiancée of a key suspect ? Who gives the right to Mr Fool sahab to arrest the family of a suspected criminal ?


  • shahid
    Oct 31, 2012 - 10:48PM

    @Googly: If the courts can live with alleged criminals rotting in courts for years even before a court hearing. In the country where simple civil case such as tenant/land lord or inheritan’s issues can not be decided for decades and people loooking for justice dying without getting it and judges seems to be not bothered at all. why the judges/courts are so eager to deliver justice to terrorists who are carrying out all sort of heinious crimes. Why the judges can not lower the bar of evidence required to punishing the guilty.Even if some innocents are also sentenced what about the innocents rotting in jails for years even without anyone’s consciencs bothering. The terrorists are not asking some one to shoot video evidence of the crime. The courts have lame excuses.They are afraid of terrorists.


  • Jawad U Rahman
    Oct 31, 2012 - 11:03PM

    This is absolutely embarrassing for Pakistan. For the interior minister to announce that they have arrested the fiance of the key suspect ! What has that poor soul done? And under which law have you arrested her… the laws of the Banana Republic?


  • Googly
    Nov 1, 2012 - 12:44AM

    @shahid… are missing the point here. It is the government’s job to bring cases before the courts. As for the delays, the courts are extremely overburdened, on a given day, a typical civil judge has a list of at least 100 cases before him/her. Is it possible to hear any more cases in 8 to 10 hours? The elected government needs to increase the number of judges to reduce the delay…….and my dear, judges cannot “lower the bar of evidence” on their own whims, they have to follow the law as laid down by the parliament. As I said earlier, if the parliament is of the view that such class of suspects should be dealt with more severely, the parliament should amend the laws or pass a special law. Look at the example of India which passed the POTA to tackle terrorist related cases and also US which passed the PATRIOT Act (which we call kalay qanoon !) which precisely addresses such issues. Their parliaments felt the need and made new laws to overcome the problems. The judges are duty bound to follow the law as laid down and unless they are armed with strong laws by the parliament, they alone cannot be blamed.


  • saeed
    Nov 1, 2012 - 3:30AM

    It’s happen where crimes rate high , yes they get hold of girlfriends and other family member for obstruction of justice. It happen all the time in south side of Chicago part of civilized country


  • Zohaq
    Nov 1, 2012 - 9:20AM

    @saeed First, USA cannot be counted as fully civilized but even there if a girlfriend is held it is because she is suspected of witholding evidence which is a crime itself, a judge issues a warrant after applying the law, arrests are lawful. Here, there is no suspicion that the fiancee is guilty of a crime.
    I agree that it is not just our Police that is responsible for miscarriages of justice, the Police is subjected to enormous pressures by rulers (khaki, civil bureaucrats, politicians) when it should be neutral and independent. The judiciary is undermanned, low calibre, rife with political interference and is highly inefficient in how it works. It is our duty to demand a fair justice system from our rulers.


  • Yaqoob
    Nov 1, 2012 - 9:25AM

    may Allah protect the arrested girl from all evils


  • Rana
    Nov 1, 2012 - 10:22AM

    Correction: Due to a translation error, an earlier version of this article had stated that the main suspect Ataullah Khan had been arrested. This has been corrected after verification from the reporter of the original article.

    ET, there is huge difference between mistakes and blunders, I strongly protest against your ridiculous correction that totally changes the SUBJECT and contradict with my comments that were posted for KEY SUSPECT instead of fiancée , therefore, I take back my comments and request you to delete them. I would suggest you to delete complete article along with comments. Please improve standards!!!


  • Jasim
    Nov 3, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Which law allows to arrest any relation of any suspect to be arreated ?Recommend

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