The father of Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban, has described his daughter’s survival and ongoing recovery as miraculous.
Ziauddin Yousafzai spoke to the press in Birmingham, UK, on Friday where his daughter has been receiving medical treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as she convalesces.
“She is recovering at an encouraging speed and we are very happy,” he said adding that he had initially feared he would need to prepare for his daughter’s funeral and that her status now is “a miracle for us.”
He also said his daughters shooting on October 9 was a turning point for Pakistan.
Attack in Swat Valley
A Pakistani Taliban fighter shot Malala Yousafzai in a school bus as she was making her way home from school in the Swat Valley city of Mingora in northwestern Pakistan.
Two other girls were also injured in the attack.
The extremist group claim they targeted Malala Yousafzai, who had gained international recognition for advocating for girls’ education, because she had been promoting so-called Western thinking and secularism.
|Witness: A documentary on Malala’s work in Swat|
Ziauddin Yousafzai, along with his wife and two sons, were reunited with their wounded daughter on Thursday night after flying to the UK.
He expressed gratitude for prayers and well-wishes that have poured in from all over the world, noting that the attack on his daughter had united liberal and conservative forces in Pakistan in condemnation.
“When she fell, the world stood. She will rise again, she will stand again. She can stand now,” Ziauddin Yousafzai said.
“I love her, and last night when we met her there were tears in our eyes out of happiness,” he said adding, “We all cried a little bit.”
News of Malala Yousafzai’s improvement came as assailants killed two members of an anti-Taliban peace committee in Swat Valley, local police have told Al Jazeera.
The shootings on Thursday night have heightened fears that a campaign of targeted killings against anti-Taliban leaders is continuing, despite the government’s claims of having tightened security in the valley.
The latest incidents took place in the Charbagh area, about 10km north of Mingora.
Police said the attackers opened fire on Tajim Gul late on Thursday night in front of a mosque, while Sardar Mohammad was gunned down at his home.
Mohammad’s five-year-old son was injured in the shooting.
“They were fired upon by unidentified men. We are trying to find them, but so far have not made any serious headway,” Aleem Madad, an official at the Charbagh police station, told Al Jazeera.
“In both incidents the attackers managed to flee. We have registered a case against the unknown attackers,” Liaqat Ali, another police official, told the AFP news agency.
Residents said both victims were members of local peace committee and they blamed the Pakistani Taliban for the killing.