— Doctors at the British hospital where Malala Yousafzai is being treated, say the 14-year-old Pakistani girl is making good progress. In London, analysts say the attempt on her life by Taliban gunmen last week has raised the profile of her campaign for female education in Pakistan.
It seems Yousafzai is more than just strong-willed. British doctors say they are impressed by her physical strength and resilience too. The 14-year-old was flown Monday to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.
Hospital Medical Director David Rosser says doctors are optimistic about her recovery.
"Well, it very clearly says that the doctors, some of whom were people from here in the children's hospital, believed that she has a chance of making a good recovery, as it clearly would have been inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all this, if there was no hope of a decent recovery," Dr. Rosser said. "As I say, I have not seen her, but it is clear they believe there is a chance of a decent recovery."
The doctor added that she is safe in the hospital. On Monday, two people tried and failed to gain access to her hospital room by claiming to be family members.
Yousafzai received initial treatment in Pakistan after being shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen last Tuesday in the Swat Valley. The Taliban said it attacked the young teenager for speaking out against the militant group.
In Pakistan, thousands have rallied on the streets to show their support for the schoolgirl, who has been campaigning for female rights in Pakistan since she was 11 years old. In 2009 she wrote a blog for the BBC about her life in the Swat Valley under the Taliban, when girls were banned from going to school.
An ambulance crew and their police escort await the arrival of an air ambulance carrying 14-year-old injured Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, at Birmingham International airport in central England October 15, 2012.
The plane carrying Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen, arrives at Birmingham airport, England October, 15, 2012.
The ambulance carrying Malala Yousufzai leaves Birmingham airport, England, Oct. 15, 2012.
An ambulance transfers Malala Yousafzai upon her arrival in Birmingham, central England on October 15, 2012.
Malala Yousufzai is brought out of a hospital on a stretcher in Rawalpindi before being flown to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
Nepalese students take part in a candlelight vigil to express their support for Malala Yousafzai, depicted in photograph at left, in Katmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2012.
Pakistani students sing as they hold pictures of Malala Yousufzai during a tribute at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 15, 2012.
Pakistani schoolgirls pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai at their school yard in Gujranwala, Pakistan, October 15, 2012.
A supporter of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reacts while holding a poster of Malala Yousufzai during a rally to condemn the attack in Karachi, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
Supporters of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), attend a rally to condemn the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Karachi, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
Pakistani Christians pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Lahore, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
Women supporters of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek protest to condemn the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Islamabad, Pakistan, October 14, 2012.
Pakistani students pray for the recovery of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, in Peshawar, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
Teachers recite verses from the Koran as they pray for the recovery of Malala Yousufzai, Peshawar, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
Pakistani girls display a poster while sitting at their desk, as their teacher, not shown, talks to them about Malala Yousafzai, Islamabad, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
Pakistani worshippers pray for the recovery of Malala Yousafzai during Friday prayers in a Mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, October 12, 2012.
Women hold candles during a rally condemning the attack on Malala Yousafzai, Karachi, Pakistan, October 11, 2012.
A student holds a placard with a picture of schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai.
Pakistan expert Gareth Price of the London-based research group Chatham House says the assassination attempt has focused global attention on Yousafzai’s campaign to give girls greater access to education.
“This attack on her has highlighted the issue, has sparked public outrage and the next step seems to me to move away from her story - and obviously we hope she recovers - and to the government of Pakistan," Price said. "And the question is, can they take advantage, can the military take advantage of demonstrated public sentiment against the Taliban to take some bold initiatives?”
He says the public support shown for Yousafzai may encourage the government to push harder for female education.
“The question of girls’ education in Pakistan does go beyond the simple fact of the Taliban targeting schools and particularly in Swat, but also elsewhere in Northwest Frontier Province," Price said. "Underspending is rife. In some of the tribal areas of Pakistan, female literacy is below 3 percent, which is pretty minimal. So whilst this does present an opportunity, the starting point is very low, and I think it is going to be a long-term fight, and that is presuming that the government does take the initiative.”
Malala Yousafzai is in a special hospital unit for complex trauma cases, where hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan have also been treated. Doctor Rosser says the girl will need reconstructive surgery, and the hospital has international experts in that field.