A handout picture received from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital/University Hospitals in Birmingham on October 26, 2012, shows Malala Yousafzai sitting on her bed amid her mother Toorpekai Yousufzai (L), brothers Khushal Khan (3rd R) and Apal Khan (R) and father Ziauddin Yousufzai, at the hospital in Birmingham on October 25, 2012. —AFP Photo

LONDON: Pakistan’s response to the shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants was a “turning point” for the country, her father said Friday at the British hospital where is recovering.

“When she fell, Pakistan stood... This is a turning point,” said Ziauddin Yousafzai, who flew to Britain with other family members on Thursday to help their daughter’s recovery.

Malala Yousufzai, 15, was shot in the head by gunmen for raising her voice against the Pakistani Taliban and advocating “Western, secular” values.

The young activist was flown from Pakistan to the British city of Birmingham to receive specialist treatment after the attack, which drew widespread international condemnation.

Yousufzai said Friday his daughter was strong and would “rise again” to pursue her dreams after receiving treatment in a British hospital.

“They wanted to kill her. But she fell temporarily. She will rise again. She will stand again,” he said, his voice wavering and breaking with emotion as he spoke.

“It’s a miracle for us ... She was in a very bad condition,” he told reporters, sitting alongside his son. “She is improving with encouraging speed.”

Yousufzai began standing up to the Pakistani Taliban when she was 11, when the Islamabad government had effectively ceded control of the Swat Valley where she lives to the militants.

She has been in critical condition since gunmen shot her in the head and neck as she left school in Swat, northwest of Islamabad.

British doctors say she has every chance of making a good recovery at the special hospital unit, expert in dealing with complex trauma cases.

Her father said he and his family cried when they were finally reunited with Malala on Thursday. “We are very happy,” he said. “I pray for her.”

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