Mon, Dec 10, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Pakistani president visits schoolgirl activist in UK

PINT-SIZED PEACE PRIZE:The 15-year-old’s was shot by the Taliban for her rights campaigning and many say her efforts are deserving of the Nobel Prize for peace

AFP, LONDON

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday visited the Pakistani schoolgirl recovering in a British hospital after she was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education.

Zardari also met 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai’s family at the specialist Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, where Malala was flown from Pakistan in October following the brutal attack on her school bus.

“President Zardari, accompanied by his daughter Asifa Bhutto, met with clinicians who have been treating Malala since her admission to the hospital,” the hospital said in a statement. “They were brought up to date on the 15-year-old’s medical progress and her future treatment plan.”

In an attack that shocked the world, Malala was shot in the head on Oct. 9 as punishment for the “crime” of campaigning for Afghan girls’ rights to receive an education.

She miraculously survived the murder attempt, but requires reconstructive surgery because the bullet grazed her brain, coming within centimeters of killing her.

Photographs released by the hospital on Saturday showed Malala sitting with Zardari and his daughter, wearing a blue headscarf and a pink jumper.

She is also pictured standing with the Pakistani president, in contrast to earlier photos of her lying in her hospital bed.

There have been many calls for the teenager to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, while the UN declared a global “Malala Day” last month to show support for her female education campaign.

Pakistan is paying for her care at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, which also treats British soldiers seriously wounded in Afghanistan.

Malala has received thousands of goodwill messages from around the world and has said she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

She rose to prominence aged just 11, writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service describing life under the Taliban’s hardline rule in the Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan.

She was awarded the Pakistani government’s first national peace award and was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

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