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Sister of main suspect apologizes to Malala for deadly attack

Washington, Tue, 06 Nov 2012 ANI

Washington, Nov. 6 (ANI): The sister of 23-year-old Atta Ullah Khan - the main suspect in the shooting of Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousufzai - has apologized to the victim.

"Please convey a message to Malala, that I apologize for what my brother did to her. He has brought shame on our family. We have lost everything after what he did. What he did was intolerable," Rehana Haleem told CNN in an exclusive interview about her brother.

"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," Haleem added.

Malala, 15, was shot in the neck and head and two other girls sustained injuries when the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) opened fire on their school van in Swat valley on October 9. She was attacked for speaking up against the Taliban and advocating girls' right to education in Swat Valley.

A day after the attack, security forces searched Atta Ullah's house, and took Haleem and her family to a nearby house equipped with bars on the doors and windows, she said.

"I was pregnant and sick. Then, finally, after a day or two, they released me and my husband and told me they were letting me go only because I was sick," she said, adding that she gave birth to a daughter soon after they returned home.

Five days later, the army again raided the house, this time taking away only her husband.

Haleem said her husband, her aged mother, her uncle and another brother remain in custody.

Haleem said she had little doubt that her brother was involved in the shooting.

"If he was innocent, he would have come back and claimed he was innocent and come to the aid of his mother and our family. His behavior is that of a guilty man. How could he abandon us?"

Her culture considers raising a hand against a woman to be dishonorable, she said, adding, "Let alone a man who tries to kill a woman."

Police said last month that they had arrested six men in connection with the shooting but were still searching for Atta Ullah.

Meanwhile, Malala is recuperating at a hospital in Birmingham, UK, and is said to be making good progress. (ANI)

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