Pakistani girl Malala Yousufzai who was wounded in an assassination attempt by the Taliban arrives in Britain for NHS treatment

 

The teenage Pakistani girl shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by the Taliban has arrived in Britain after doctors decided she would require long-term care to recover from the attack. She is to receive specialist treatment in a NHS hospital.

Malala Yousufzai, 14, was flown from Islamabad on Monday morning in a specially equipped air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates. It was revealed that the decision to transfer the teenager had not been announced in advance for security reasons.

The teenager will be treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, a spokesman for the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province where Malala is from, told The Independent the decision had been taken because it had emerged that the girl would need long-term care. "Everything is being arranged by the government of Pakistan," he added.

A statement released by the Pakistani military, which has been overseeing Malala's care, said the team of doctors in charge of her treatment were happy with her progress and the developments so far.

But it said the doctors and international consultants had come to the conclusion Malala would require "prolonged care to fully recover from the physical and psychological effects of trauma that she has received".

It added: "It is expected that in due course of time [we will] need to repair or replace damaged bones of the skull and long-term rehabilitation including intensive neuro rehabilitation. It was the view that if Malala was going to be transferred overseas to a centre which could provide the required integrated care then it should be during this time window whilst her condition was optimal and before any unforeseen complications had set in. Malala's family was consulted and their wishes were also taken into consideration."

Malala was shot last week along with two of her classmates as they were returning home from school in Pakistan's Swat valley. The Taliban said it had targeted the youngster because of role as a champion of children's education and because of her "Western" views. It claimed there was justification within Islam for such an assault and that if she survived it would try again to kill her.

But the shooting of the girl who came to public prominence after anonymously publishing a diary during the years the Taliban controlled the Swat valley and closed girls' schools, has triggered a wave of revulsion and anger, both within Pakistan and beyond. Some have suggested it may even mark a turning point in Pakistan's sometimes hazy attitude about the militants.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people attended a rally in Karachi to support her. But most protests against the shooting have been relatively small until now, usually attracting no more than a few hundred people. The Associated Press reported that these rallies have been tiny compared to the tens of thousands of people who held violent protests in the country last month against a film produced in the United States that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad.

One of the political leaders to speak out vociferously against the attack has been the often controversial Altaf Hussain, head of the Muttahida Quami Movement which organised Sunday's rally. Speaking to the audience by telephone from London, where he is in self-imposed exile because of legal cases pending against him, he said the Taliban gunmen who had targeted Malala were "beasts". "Malala Yousufzai is a beacon of knowledge. She is the daughter of the nation," he added.

Doctors treating Malala had always held open the option of sending her abroad for further treatment, after military surgeons removed a bullet that had passed through her head into her shoulder and were able to stabilise her condition. It is understood that two British experts were among those providing advice to the Pakistani team.

The Foreign Office in London confirmed that Pakistan will meet the costs of the treatment.

In a statement, Foreign Secretary William Hague, said: "Last week's barbaric attack on Malala Yousafzai and her school friends 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."

He added: "Malala will now receive specialist medical care in an NHS hospital.  Our thoughts remain with Malala and her family at this difficult time."

The Taliban began moving into the onetime tourist destination of Swat in 2007 and quickly extended its reach to much of the valley by the next year. They set about imposing their will on residents by forcing men to grow beards, preventing women from going to the market and blowing up many schools.

They were eventually driven out by the Pakistani military in 2009.

The teenager wrote about her experiences in a journal for the BBC under a pseudonym when she was just 11. After the Taliban were pushed out of the Swat Valley in 2009 by the Pakistani military, she became even more outspoken in advocating for girls' education.

The police have arrested four people in connection with the attack.

They were among about 100 people rounded up last week. Most were later released on bail.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing