An anti-terrorism court in Swat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan sentenced 10 men to life in prison for their role in planning the infamous 2012 attack against Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls education activist and, at 17, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The convictions are the first since the 2012 attack which gravely injured Malala, who was 14 at the time.
The attack resulted in international prominence for the issue of girl’s education in Pakistan, and catapulted Malala, who became an outspoken advocate on the issue, to the international stage.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
According to Pakistani officials, the 10 men, who were sentenced on Thursday, belong to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.
Notably, Ataullah Khan, a Taliban militant identified as a chief suspect in Malala’s 2012 shooting, was not appear on the list of the 10 men convicted.
Security officials told Reuters that though the 10 men convicted did not include any of the actual gunmen who carried out the attack, “they had a role in the planning and execution of the assassination attempt on Malala.”
Nine of the 10 men who were convicted Thursday were reported to have been arrested in September 2014, after the initial arrest of Israrullah, who provided information regarding the location of the other nine.
Pakistani authorities believe that the actual gunmen in the attack sought refuge in eastern Afghanistan after the attack.
TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah, also wanted in connection with the attack, is thought to be in eastern Afghanistan as well.
The conviction comes as the Pakistani state continues to implement a broader crackdown on the TTP and homegrown extremism.
Given the international prominence of Malala’s case and her winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, it is unsurprising that Pakistan’s often sluggish judicial system managed to resolve this case fairly quickly.