Pakistani journalist in San Diego reacts to Taliban shooting of teenage girl
Malala Yousufzai airlifted to hospital in UK
Last Updated: 414 days ago
SAN DIEGO - A Pakistani journalist spoke with 10News on Tuesday about the shooting of a teenage Pakistani girl.
The teen – who was shot last week by the Taliban in Pakistan – is now in the United Kingdom, where she is being closely monitored for her health and safety.
Malala Yousufzai, 14, was airlifted to a hospital in central England on Monday. Last week, the teenage advocate for girls' education in Pakistan was shot in the head by the Taliban as she was returning home from school.
Pakistanis in San Diego said the shooting was an unthinkable act.
"I was really shocked," said Adil Ali, a Pakistani journalist taking part in a work study program at ABC10. "Very frankly, I was really shocked."
Ali was in San Diego when Yousufzai was shot and quickly heard from other journalists and friends from around the world.
"What's her crime?" he said. "I'm just asking you and all the other people. She has done nothing. If she is expressing her ideas, that's the fundamental right of everyone to express their ideas."
Ali said that since Yousufzai was 10 years old, she began writing a series of diaries for the BBC, defying the Taliban's ban on girls' schooling.
"She wrote simply that she wants to go to school," Ali told 10News. "'I don't want to stay home doing nothing. I have to get (an) education. I have to be aware of what is going to be happening around me.'"
From then on, she was seen as defying the Islamic beliefs that educating girls would promote "Western thinking."
When asked if the teen had been threatened before, Ali answered, "Yes, many times. Many times there were certain life threats: not only to her, to her family also."
Ali recalled the time he met her two years ago in Pakistan.
"When I was working in Express, we were in Islamabad and she came for an interview and I found her really charming and confident," said Ali.
The shooting has affected Ali personally while rallying the country of Pakistan.
"Ninety to 95 percent of people are with Malala right now," he said. "They are just praying for her, for her health, for her family."
Overnight, police in the United Kingdom questioned two people at the hospital who claimed they were her relatives when they tried to visit her. Security has been tightened at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham since the Taliban pledged to finish the job.
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