MINGORA - One of the schoolgirls wounded in a Taliban murder attempt on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai said Saturday she was still haunted by the memory of the bloody attack.

Kainaat Riaz, 16, suffered a hand injury when gunmen attacked her school bus in a bid to kill Malala for the “crime” of promoting girls’ education. Speaking to AFP on the UN-declared “Malala Day” of global action to support the young campaigner and call for better schooling for girls, Kainaat said the October 9 attack still made her afraid.

“I am still terrified. I still get tears in my eyes whenever I think of that incident. I saw Malala in the pool of blood in front of me with my eyes,” she told AFP at her home in Mingora, the town in northwestern Swat Valley where the attack took place.

Malala’s courage and determination has made her an inspiration for millions and Kainaat said she was pleased that despite the Taliban’s bid to silence the 15-year-old, Malala’s message was being heard around the world.

“She always said that we should do something for girls’ education and she did not care about her own life when she was doing this,” she said.

UN education special envoy Gordon Brown, in Pakistan to launch efforts to help the government boost education, phoned Kainaat on Saturday to ask about her health and studies.

“My message on this day for Malala is that the whole nation is praying for her and she will be among us very soon,” Kainaat said. Security fears in her hometown meant her schoolmates could not honour Malala in public. Taliban hitmen shot Malala on her school bus a month ago in Mingora in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley in a cold-blooded murder attempt for the ‘crime’ of campaigning for girls’ rights to go to school. But in Mingora, the threat of further Taliban reprisals casts a fearful shadow, and students at Malala’s Khushal Public School were forced to honour her in private. “We held a special prayer for Malala today in our school assembly and also lit candles,” school principal Mariam Khalid told AFP. “We did not organise any open event because our school and its students still face a security threat.”

Though their bid to kill Malala failed, the Taliban have said they will attack any woman who stands against them and fears are so great that Khalid said even speaking to the media could put students’ lives in danger.

Malala rose to prominence with a blog for the BBC charting life in Swat under the Taliban, whose bloody two-year reign of terror supposedly came to an end with an army operation in 2009. Despite the dangers, some children in Mingora were determined to speak out and pledged to follow Malala’s brave example. “Malala is a good friend of mine. She is brave and has honour and whoever attacked her did a terrible thing,” Asma Khan, 12, a student in Saroosh Academy, close to Malala’s school told AFP. “After the attack on her and her injuries, we have now more courage to study and now we will fulfil her mission to spread education everywhere.”

Khan’s schoolmate Gul Para, 12, added: “Malala is the daughter of the nation and we are proud of her. She has stood by us and for our education up to now and now it is time that we should stand by her and complete her mission.” Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Malala to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and on Friday UN special education envoy Gordon Brown handed a separate million-strong petition in support of Malala to Pakistani President Zardari.

Islamabad on Friday also announced a UN-backed scheme to give poor families cash incentives to send their children to school in a bid to get three million more youngsters into education.