Pakistani schoolgirl shot by Taliban flown to UK for treatment
Published 15/10/2012 | 08:04
A PAKISTANI schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out about suffering under the regime is being brought to the UK for treatment, it was reported today.
Malala Yousafzai, 14, is coming to the UK to received "prolonged treatment" after she was shot on a bus in front of her friends on Tuesday, the Pakistani army said.
The teenager's life was saved by neurosurgeons in a Pakistani military hospital and she has since been in intensive care.
But doctors decided she needed "prolonged care" to help her recover from the physical and psychological effects of the attack.
She is being transferred to the UK by an air ambulance arranged by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Pakistani army said.
In a statement it said: "The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury.
"Pakistan has arranged with the UAE for a specially equipped air ambulance which will be used to transfer Malala to the UK. In order to provide continuity of care, an army intensive care specialist will accompany Malala on her flight.
"All expenses including transportation of Malala by specially equipped air ambulance and treatment abroad will be borne by the government of Pakistan."
Malala was shot with two classmates as they made their way home from school in Swat, in the north west of Pakistan.
She was attacked by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticising the militant group.
British foreign secretary William Hague said: "Last week's barbaric attack on Malala Yousafzai and her schoolfriends shocked Pakistan and the world.
"Malala's bravery in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all.
"Malala will now receive specialist medical care in an NHS hospital. Our thoughts remain with Malala and her family at this difficult time.
"The public revulsion and condemnation of this cowardly attack shows that the people of Pakistan will not be beaten by terrorists. The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism."
Former prime minister Gordon Brown, who is UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said he would be visiting Pakistan next month to talk with President Zardari about Malala's cause of girls' education.
He said: "I know that Britain will offer Malala the best treatment possible and the British people will welcome her, hoping and praying for her recovery."
He added: "Today we are launching on www.educationenvoy.org a petition under the headline 'I am Malala' in support of what Malala fought for, that every girl has the chance to go to school.
"Today, sadly, 32 million girls are not going to school and it is time to fight harder for Malala's dream to come true."