RAWALPINDI, Oct 25: Malala Yousufzai’s parents, brother and a relative flew to Birmingham from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on board a PIA flight on Thursday amid reports that the 14-year-old education activist had been responding well to treatment in a British hospital, sources said.
Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Mingora, was flown to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Oct 15.
Her father Ziauddin, mother Atoor, bother Atal and a relative flew to the British city onboard the PIA flight PK-791 at 12.45pm.
AP adds: Mr Ziauddin vowed that his daughter would return home after finishing medical treatment despite new insurgent threats against her.
Since she was shot on Oct 9 at Mingora, Malala has become a hero both at home and internationally, although her work in speaking out against Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls’ education has long been respected and known beyond her native Swat Valley.
The comments by her father were recorded by Pakistani Television.
The Taliban have vowed to kill Malala, raising questions about whether it would be safe for her to return but her father dispelled reports the family might seek asylum abroad.
“I first laughed at it because all of our sacrifices, my personal (sacrifices), or this attack on my daughter, cannot have such a cheap purpose that we would go to some other country and live the rest of our life there,” he said.
Malala’s father spoke alongside Interior Minister Rehman Malik at the latter’s office in Islamabad.
Mr Malik promised that the government would protect Malala and her family when they returned. He said Malala had asked her father to bring some of her school books with him when he went to Britain.
“Even while sitting there she is taking care of her schooling,” said Mr Malik.
Malala has started talking and has spoken to both of her parents by phone, the minister said.
The medical team caring for Malala said in a statement on Thursday that she was comfortable and continued to respond well to treatment.
Sattar visits Malala: The deputy convener of the Coordination Committee of Muttahida Qaumi Movement and federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar, visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital and inquired after the health of Malala Yousufzai. He presented a bouquet to Malala and conveyed the best wishes of MQM chief Altaf Hussain to her.
The doctors looking after the young education campaigner informed Mr Sattar that she was recovering speedily and had started to walk, said an MQM press release.