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Shooting suspect's sister apologizes

  |   Nov. 6, 2012 at 12:37 AM
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The sister of a man sought in the shooting of Malala Yousufzai apologized to the wounded Pakistani teenage activist, now recovering in a British hospital.

Speaking to CNN about the Oct. 9 shooting of the 15-year-old girl, Rehana Haleem, sister of suspect Attah Ullah Khan, said: "Please convey a message to Malala, that I apologize for what my brother did to her."

In the interview in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where Malala and two other girls were attacked by a gunman as they rode a school van, the suspect's sister said: "He has brought shame on our family. We have lost everything after what he did," CNN said.

Malala, acclaimed around the world for her bravery in opposing the Taliban and fighting for education for girls in Swat Valley, was shot in the head and since then has been making slow progress at a hospital in Birmingham, England.

Police have been looking for 23-year-old Attah Ullah Khan, a master's degree student of chemistry, and two boys who have not yet been identified. They are also holding six other men in the shooting.

The other two girls wounded in the attack were not believed to have been seriously wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Malala had encouraged secular education, and vowed to kill her if she recovers.

The suspect's sister told CNN: "Malala is just like my sister. I'd like to express my concern for Malala on behalf of my whole family; I hope she recovers soon and returns to a happy and normal life as soon as possible. I hope Malala doesn't consider me or my family as enemies. I don't consider Atta Ullah my brother anymore."

Rehana said following the shooting, security forces searched her family house, seized documents and pictures, took her and her family away and sought information about her brother, CNN reported.

"I was pregnant and sick," she was quoted as saying, adding she and her husband were subsequently released. Since then, she said she gave birth to a girl, CNN said.

Later, she said her house was again raided and this time only her husband was taken into custody.

She said it is considered dishonorable in her culture even to raise a hand against a woman, "Let alone a man who tries to kill a woman."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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