Islamabad/London, Oct 14 (IANS) Kainat and Shazia, friends and fellow students of Pakistani teenaged rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who were also injured in the recent Taliban attack on her, have vowed to defy the militants and continue their studies.
Undeterred by the attack earlier in the week, Kainat told Geo News she wants to become a doctor to serve the country.
The 14-year-old Malala and her two friends were shot at in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province while they were returning home from school. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting that sparked outrage across the world.
Kainat told Geo News a militant opened fire after identifying Malala, and that she fell unconscious as she saw Malala in a pool of blood.
Shazia Ramzan, also 14, watched in horror as Malala was shot beside her on their school bus, before the gunman turned and shot her too, in the shoulder and hand.
"She (Malala) will recover and we will go back to school and study together again," Shazia told the Daily Mail.
Malala, from the age of 11, has been defying the Taliban by writing a blog for the BBC championing education for girls.
In a hospital in Peshawar, Shazia - who was hit by two bullets - said Malala told classmates she might be a target but refused to hide from the Taliban.
"Malala told us she had been threatened by the extremists. She said she had been speaking too much against mujahideen (Taliban) and they might do something to her," Shazia said.
Describing the attack, she said: "It was just a normal school day. We were coming home after our second-term exams."
"The bus was taking the usual route. Then it suddenly stopped and two men confronted us. They asked, 'Which one of you is Malala?' Some of the girls started to talk and then one of the men opened fire. All the girls started crying and shouting."
"Malala was hit in the head and fell to the floor unconscious. There was blood everywhere. I was in total shock," Shazia said.
"Then the man with the gun fired at me and another girl and ran away. We were all just so traumatised and shocked. Everything happened so quickly."
"The bus driver raced us to hospital. It was chaotic because everyone was screaming and crying and Malala was lying on the floor in front of me," the Daily Mail quoted Shazia as saying.
Shazia said Malala would talk to them "about the dangers she was facing but refused to change the way she lived".
"She just said the extremists might do something to her because she had spoken out against them so much and they might want to harm her. She knew something might happen but she never let it affect her. She refused to be anything other than a normal schoolgirl," she said.
Shazia said she was disgusted with the men who carried out the attack.
"We don't know who they were but I am sure they were the people Malala had been warned about," she said.
Shazia said her greatest wish was to return to school with Malala, even though the Taliban has threatened to return and kill Malala.
"With the grace of God, I am completely all right now. Malala will recover soon too, I hope. We will go back to school and study together again," she said.
"I am praying for Malala and praying she can join her school friends again as soon as possible. The whole nation is praying for her and I am sure she will make a full recovery," she added.
Shazia's 50-year-old father Muhammad Ramzan, who runs a bakery in Mingora, said he was horrified by the attack.
"We have never been enemies with anyone. I don't know who did this. Malala was outspoken and she had told her classmates something like this could happen but we never imagined it would happen in this way," Ramzan told the daily.