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UAE, British, Pakistani ministers visit Malala

British Foreign Office says three ministers also met shot schoolgirl's father

Image Credit: EPA
A handout photo taken on 25 October and provided by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust on 26 October 2012 shows 15-year old Pakistani shooting victim Malala Yousufzai, who is recovering in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Britain, with parents and brothers.

London: The UAE foreign minister along with Pakistan’s interior minister and Britain’s foreign minister visited the English hospital treating shot Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai on Monday, Britain’s Foreign Office said.

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said his government had provided assistance because its citizens were “appalled” by the attack on Malala.

“She is in our prayers,” he said. “Malala’s courage inspires us to reinforce our commitment to rejecting ideologies rooted in intolerance and extremism.”

The three ministers met with the father of 15-year-old Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban earlier this month as punishment for campaigning for girls’ education in an attack that shocked the world.

She was flown from Pakistan on October 15 for treatment at a specialist hospital in Birmingham, central England, in an air ambulance provided by the UAE.

“I visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham today to enquire after the health of Malala and to convey messages of good health and best wishes on behalf of the government and the whole Pakistani nation,” said interior minister Rahman Malik.

“We are grateful to the hospital authorities, especially the doctors treating Malala, for taking care of her in a most professional manner. As a result, she has made very good recovery in the past few days.”

He expressed gratitude to Britain and the UAE for their support for Malala, who needs reconstructive surgery after a bullet grazed her brain, coming within centimetres of killing her.

British foreign minister William Hague said: “Malala’s swift and full recovery is our absolute priority. But we are also determined to do all we can to champion education for women and girls in Pakistan.

“The people of Pakistan have paid a high price from terrorism and extremism. We will stand by all those who, like Malala, are courageously defending the rights of women, in Pakistan and around the world.”

On Friday, Malala’s father said she is recovering and responding well. Ziauddin Yousafzai said she was recovering “at an encouraging speed”.

“When she fell, Pakistan stood and the world rose. This is a turning point,” a clearly emotional Yousafzai told journalists.

“She is not just my daughter, she is everybody’s daughter.”

He admitted he had cried when for the first time he saw her standing at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where she was brought from Pakistan on October 15.

Her father thanked the doctors at the hospital in the central English city, as well as the British and Pakistani authorities.

“She got the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time.

“She is recovering at an encouraging speed and we are very happy.”

At one point, Yousafzai had to stop and compose himself as he recalled that in the aftermath of the shooting he had asked his brother-in-law to make arrangements for a funeral because he feared Malala would not survive.

Her “whole body was swollen” after the shooting and it was a “miracle” that she had come through the attack, he said.

When asked how he felt when the family saw Malala for the first time since they arrived in Britain on Thursday, he said: “I love her and last night when we met her there were tears in our eyes out of happiness.”