News / Asia

    Pakistani Teen in Britain for Medical Care

    An ambulance carrying injured Pakistani teenager Malala Yousufzai leaves Birmingham airport, England on Oct. 15, 2012.
    An ambulance carrying injured Pakistani teenager Malala Yousufzai leaves Birmingham airport, England on Oct. 15, 2012.
    Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head last week by the Taliban, has arrived
    in Britain, where she was evacuated to receive further medical treatments.

    Military officials said Monday 14-year-old Yousafzai flew in a special air ambulance supplied by the United Arab Emirates to a medical center in Birmingham, Britain. Yousafzai, who had been successfully treated by top Pakistani surgeons, needs skull-bone replacement, as well as long-term and intensive neurological rehabilitation, according to a military statement.

    Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England


    -Opened June 16, 2010
    -Has major trauma center
    -Specializes in complex cases, head and gunshot wounds
    -Has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan
    -Noted for Surgical Reconstruction expertise
    -Houses Britain's Royal Centre for Defense Medicine

    The teenager was shot last week for her outspoken support of girls’ education and her criticism of the militant network. Yousafzai began speaking out against the Taliban in when she was an 11-year-old living under brutal Taliban rule in Pakistan’s Swat valley.

    Political and religious leaders and thousands of others across Pakistan have come out in support of the Muslim schoolgirl. She defied Taliban death threats for years, although few have marched against the Taliban.

    Analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais said that is because even political leaders fear Taliban reprisals.

    • 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.


    “They seem to be scared, fearful of revenge and targeted reaction against themselves, against their children, against their families, against their supporters, so I think it is a kind of defensive political move that they have, and that is unfortunate,” said Rais.

    Malala Yousufzai is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.Malala Yousufzai is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.
    x
    Malala Yousufzai is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.
    Malala Yousufzai is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.
    Some political and religious opposition leaders who are facing national elections, perhaps as early as March 2013, have seized on the public outrage over the shooting to further their platforms.

    Right-wing religious leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party told local news media conservative religious rule is the only way law and order would be established in the country.  Others have drawn parallels between the attack on Yousafzai with U.S.-led drone attacks against militants in the country’s northwest that have also killed civilians.

    But former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi, said unified public revulsion at the violence has given the government an opportunity to act.

    “The responsibility now lies with the federal government. It is hard for me to second guess what they will do," said Lodhi. "But if this government cowers in front of this threat, then I think the people of Pakistan will hold them responsible for any further violence that takes place, because this also is a moment of opportunity.”

    Taliban and other extremist militants have killed thousands of Pakistani security officers and civilians during the past 10 years. The Taliban said it tried to kill Yousafzai for her pro-Western thinking, and said if the child survives they would target her again.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Qirfiraz Siddiqui from: USA
    October 16, 2012 12:38 PM
    It is a sad story from beginning to end. Many players, in this story are:
    1. Greedy parents who robbed their daughter's childhood to mint money and fame.
    2. Illiterate, backward tribals a.k.a Taliban who are out to target anything, even remotely linked to western occupation of their areas.
    3. Corrupt Pakistani government which is using this poor girl's plight, to gain sympathy and hide their own mis-handling of aid money.
    4. Selfish politicians who are exploiting this for mud-slinging at their opponents.
    5. Western media which is trying to justify the continued occupation of Afghanistan, by highlighting this episode.
    6. Pakistan army which is preparing new offensives (to get more aid money, obviously)
    7. American CIA which has been launching drone attacks, even more vigorously, to create thousands of Malalas.
    All of this happening, while the little angel struggles for her life in "Queen's" hospital in England.


    by: Stephen Real from: Columbia, USA
    October 15, 2012 1:20 PM
    Good on ya' Brit for doing the right thing!
    No need for you to die in battle to reach Valhalla. You get a free pass over the rainbow bridge and a seat waiting for you in the city of Asgard.
    Hoo rah! Hoo rah! Hoo rah!

    by: J Hill from: Southern US
    October 15, 2012 12:17 PM
    It is a sad thing that it took a 14 year old girl to wake up an entire nation to the fact that this evil which claims to be muslim has tried to put such an oppression on the entire world. The middle eastern men need to stand up and fight for your freedom of your families and your nation. This isnt about religion, this about human rights. I hope now that they understand why the United States has been so concerned over the past 10 years. We have made some mistakes and stepped on some toes. But we have extended an arm of friendship to almost anyone who will take it. I know with the power of prayer in her country right now she will recover. God will hear them. They need to pray to God for deliverence from Oppresion. May God Bless them...

    by: white rose from: laos
    October 15, 2012 9:50 AM
    No more violence. God save her.

    by: Cory from: Texas
    October 15, 2012 9:43 AM
    It is so sad that a religion promotes death and harm. I think this young women should be held in high regard. My thoughts and prayers are with her. There is nothing that needs to be said about the assassins who tried to carry this out, only action should take place, these people need to be punished according to their deeds.
    In Response

    by: Anwaar from: California
    October 15, 2012 1:27 PM
    Cory,
    I can assure you it's not the religion causing the violence. Religion is simply an excuse for the radical elements to further their own political agenda. In the end it comes down to 2 things, poverty and ignorance...both are rampant in Pakistan. The Taliban needs to be dealt with permanently and removed from Pakistan but its like the common cold. It goes away but keeps coming back. The Pakistani government is weak and corrupt and hence provides an opportunity for radicals like the Taliban to flourish.

    by: ali baba from: new york
    October 15, 2012 9:10 AM
    it is foolish that us gov spends a billion dolar a day for these barberic people. now they talk about cut benefit for elderly. they should stop spending on un civlized peope and no hope to act as a human being
    In Response

    by: mrd from: Australia
    October 17, 2012 7:55 PM
    ,,, and you call you yourself civilised? .... read some history, man!!! These places were highly civilised when the West was still swinging through the trees. A lot of the security problem with Pak is inadvertently US created.

    by: Jeff Kuryk from: Western Canada
    October 15, 2012 9:05 AM
    As a cancer on the greater body of humanity, it's nearly impossible to effectively destroy religious gangsters such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban without fully grasping the nature of religious indoctrination as outlined in the YouTube video, "Bikinis and Burqas: Narrowing the Gap."

    by: John from: Reilly
    October 15, 2012 9:02 AM
    This girl deserves a Nobel prize for peace much more than Obama...what sacrafice did he ever make for the cause? This girl put her life on the line just by walking out the door every day and actually voicing an opinion against terrorists in her own town. I wish her a speedy recovery.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 15, 2012 8:47 AM
    Young school girls are organizing a vigil of prayers for Malala. Her name should be changed to a Christian one, like 'Miracle', and she should convert to Christianity when she is up on her feet again since the muslims rejected her. The Christian world is very accommodating, giving people change to make their mistakes and find corrections, and Malala and the likes of her will find a home in the world of those who truly love - the Christians.
    In Response

    by: William from: California
    October 15, 2012 12:09 PM
    So who really is the true followers of satan...the taliban

    by: Farmlady162 from: London ON
    October 15, 2012 6:42 AM
    This incredibly brave young girl should've won the Nobel peace Prize, not the EU.
    Comments page of 2
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