The alleged organiser of the Taliban shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was captured during a 2009 military offensive against the hardline Islamist group but released after three months, two senior officials told Reuters.
They identified the man only as Attaullah and said he was one of the two gunmen who shot her on a school bus this month in the Swat Valley.
Believed to be in his 30s, Attaullah is on the run and may have fled to Afghanistan, they said. He organised the attack on the orders of one of the Taliban’s most feared commanders, Maulana Fazlullah, officials said.
Critics say Pakistan s low conviction rate of militants, even high-profile ones who carried out major attacks, is one reason why extremism has spread in the nation.
Doctors treating Malala in the UK have said they are “pleased with her progress so far”. The various specialist consultants from both the Queen Elizabeth hospital, where the 14-year-old is admitted, and Birmingham Children’s hospital continue to assess her on a daily basis.
A spokeswoman for the hospital would not comment on reports that the girl was moving her limbs.
Meanwhile, most of the girls enrolled at the school run by Malala’s father have stopped attending classes due to threats against the institution. The principal of Khushal Public School, Maryam, confirmed that the institution had received threats.