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Kainat Riaz slowly picks up the pieces

By: Tahir Khan

ISLAMABAD: Kainat Riaz, one of the schoolgirls injured in the Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai, spoke to The Express Tribune about how she remains affected by her attack, but adds that her life is gradually returning to normalcy.

Perhaps fearing for her safety, she refuses to comment on who attacked her, but admits the incident has badly affected her life. She cited her constant police escort as one example of how her life is forever altered.

“I was an ordinary girl and used to visit my grandmothers and other relatives but now I am not allowed to move freely anymore. Because of this fear, I sleep with my mother,” Kainat told The Express Tribune in an interview at her home in Swat. A team of police guards have been deployed at her residence since the October attack, who also escort her when she goes to school.

“I could not sleep for several nights after the incident,” said Kainat. She addressed her injury as well, saying, “The injury was severe in the beginning. I am ok now after the treatment.”

Asked if she continued studying after being shifted home from the hospital, she said, “Yes. I continued to study at home. My father and brother helped me.”

She added that she has not yet spoken to Malala, however, Malala’s father has spoken to her.

“Her father talked to me by phone the day I briefly went to school. He told me to arrange a telephone conversation between me and Malala but it has not yet taken place,” she said, adding that she misses her friend very much.

Kainat’s father, Riaz, told The Express Tribune that Malala had called her friends and teachers at the school recently but Kainat was not at school that day. Kainat was happy to receive a gold medal in Islamabad weeks after the October 9 attack.

“Being an ordinary girl, I did not expect that I would go to Islamabad. I could not even imagine that this would happen. What an honour we have received; it is only because of Malala. I offer my thanks to Malala for receiving the medal,” she said.

She avoided a direct reply when asked what she thinks about those who attacked Malala, saying, “My mind says she was a minor, she was emphasising girls’ education. She was campaigning for girls. She may have been attacked because of her quest for girls’ education. The attack was a bad thing.”

Kainat said she wants to become a doctor and to serve the nation.

The Express Tribune

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