Officials from Pakistan, Britain and the United Arab Emirates have visited the hospital where a Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban is being treated, calling her a symbol of courage and determination.
A handout picture received from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital/University Hospitals in Birmingham shows Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai sitting on her bed and holding hands with her brothers Khushal Khan (3rd R), Apal Khan (R), and father Ziauddin Yousufzai at the hospital in Birmingham, England, October 25, 2012.
Pakistani Taliban gunmen opened fire on Malala Yousafzai on October 9, as she returned home from school in Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley. The teenager was internationally known for speaking out in favor of girls' education and against the militant group who had taken over her hometown three years ago.
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the British city of Birmingham. Malala Yousafzai has been at the hospital for the past two weeks and remains in stable condition after being shot in the head and neck. She is able to talk and to walk with help.
The British Foreign Office said the ministers met the hospital's medical director and Yousafzai's father, who arrived in Britain last week with the girl's mother and two brothers. He said Malala will return to Pakistan after she recovers.
Hague told reporters Monday ``I pay tribute, first of all, to her, and to the extraordinary example that she has shown to everybody across the world in the cause of education, the rights of women, I think she is an inspiration now not only to the people of Pakistan but all over the world.''
Zayed said the people of the UAE were "appalled" by what happened to Malala and that is why the UAE provided the air ambulance to transport her from Pakistan to Britain for further medical treatment.
Zayed added that "Malala's courage inspires us to reinforce our commitment to rejecting ideologies rooted in intolerance and extremism." The minister said "by helping Malala, whose courage we applaud, the UAE is also voicing its firm belief in the right of girls to education everywhere."
Pakistan's Rehman Malik said his government is thankful to Britain and the UAE for their "strong support to Malala and to Pakistan."
Malik said the attack on Malala was "meant to tarnish the true face of Pakistan and to discourage those struggling for human liberties and for the democratization of our society."
The Pakistani interior minister said "such acts of cowardice will not deter us, and the whole Pakistani nation stands behind Malala and her cause." He noted that "we will do whatever possible to take Pakistan on the path of peace and moderation, as envisioned by our founding fathers."