My Malala's recovery is a genuine miracle says happy father
Published 26/10/2012 | 05:00
The father of wounded teenage activist Malala Yousafzai (pictured) has spoken publicly for the first time of his joy at his daughter's "miraculous" recovery.
Ziauddin Yousafzai and his wife began their journey from Pakistan to Birmingham yesterday, 10 days after 15-year-old Malala was flown to the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital for surgery and rehabilitation.
Mr Yousafzai said he was grateful for the world's tributes and prayers, but he now just wanted to concentrate on helping his daughter recover.
"I have seen doomsday and survived, you might say. Malala has been honoured by the nation, by the world, by people of all classes, of all creeds, of all colours. I am grateful for that," he said from a secure, secret location hours before beginning his journey.
"But I am a father. I respect all those feelings, but the only priority now is the life of my daughter and her total rehabilitation. I don't need any awards. . . I need my daughter."
The story of Malala has captured the world's attention since she was shot three weeks ago. Her courage in standing up to Pakistan's Islamic extremists has offered a rare beacon of hope in a country blighted by sectarian killings. A gunman flagged down her school bus in the town of Mingora, Swat, and asked for her by name before shooting the teenager in the head. Two school friends were also wounded.
The Pakistan Taliban, which controlled Swat until 2009, claimed responsibility.
During that time, Malala had written an anonymous diary for the BBC detailing Taliban abuses and continued to campaign for girls education.
Her family were threatened repeatedly by extremists for promoting "Western" and "secular" values.
Surgeons in Pakistan fought for days to save her life, removing a bullet from her neck.
Mr Yousafzai said he was grateful for all their efforts.
"The way they saved my daughter was miraculous," he said.
He added that he had stayed in daily contact with medical staff in Birmingham, but was desperate to be at his daughter's bedside
"She is all right. She is improving day by day, inshallah," he said.
The problem, he said, was that his wife's Pakistani documents were not up to date so they had to wait for the government to issue new ones.
He also said that the Pakistan Taliban would not silence his family's campaign to ensure that more girls were able to go to school. (© Daily Telegraph, London)