Published on 26 Oct 2012 Sections ,

Malala Yousafzai: Survival ‘a miracle’, says father

The father of the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban describes the attack as a “turning point for Pakistan” and says his daughter will “rise again”.

Ziauddin Yousafzai was speaking after visiting his daughter for the first time at a Birmingam hospital, together with Malala’s mother, Toorpekai Yousufzai, and their two other children, eight-year-old Atal Khan, and Khushal Khan, 12.

The 15-year-old was flown to Birmingham for treatment after the attack in the Swat Valley on 9 October which left a bullet lodged in her neck.

Her father thanked Dr Dave Rosser and the hospital staff for the treatment his daughter is receiving.

‘Right treatment’

“She got the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time,” Mr Yousafzai said. She is recovering at an encouraging speed and we are very happy. It is a miracle.”

'Like father, like daughter'

Malala's father has thanked medical staff and supporters from around the world for their part in his daughter's recovery, writes Ciaran Jenkins, from Birmingham.

Ziauddin Yousafzai walked into the press conference with his son at his side. They sat down next to the hospital's medical director, the world's media staring back at them.

Ziauddin whispered a reassuring word to his son, which prompted a broad grin.

He spoke in detail about the attack on his daughter, and what he called the "miracle" of her recovery.He was only briefly overwhelmed, recalling the moment soon after the shooting he instructed his brother-in-law to prepare for Malala's funeral.

But he was soon laughing again.

He had brought Malala's schoolbooks, he said, on her request.

She's already making plans to sit her exams when she returns to Pakistan. Not even a bullet to the brain could stop her. "Like father, like daughter," Ziauddin said.

ala Yousafzai's family has visited her in hospital in Birmingham.

‘Turning point’ for Pakistan

He described her shooting – which came after she campaigned for women’s education in Pakistan – as a “turning point” for the country.

“When she fell, Pakistan stood. This is a turning point. In Pakistan, for the first time, all political parties, Urdus, Christians, Sikhs, all religions prayed for my daughter.”

When she fell, Pakistan stood. This is a turning point. – Ziauddin Yousafzai

Mr Yousufzai thanked members of the public around the world who had showed support for his daughter and her cause for “peace and education”.

He also thanked the Pakistani and British governments for their help and support.

Doctors at Queen Elizabeth hospital say Malala is responding well to treatment.

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