x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Taliban-shooting victim Malala arrives in UK for treatment

A UAE medical team transported the 14-year-old advocate to the UK for treatment on board a specially fitted out air ambulance, while schoolchildren in Abu Dhabi hold prayers in tribute.

Schoolchildren at the Pakistan embassy in Abu Dhabi hold photographs of Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old rights activist shot by the Taliban. The ambassador to the UAE says her medical flight to the UK is due to land this afternoon.
Schoolchildren at the Pakistan embassy in Abu Dhabi hold photographs of Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old rights activist shot by the Taliban. The ambassador to the UAE says her medical flight to the UK is due to land this afternoon.

ABU DHABI // Malala Yousafzai is recovering "steadily", the Pakistan ambassador to the UAE said today as she arrived in the UK on a UAE medical flight and taken to specialised hospital.

The 14-year-old advocate for women's rights and education was a shot by the Taliban on October 9 for promoting "Western thinking".

A UAE medical team transported her to the UK for treatment on board a specially fitted out air ambulance. The plane left Islamabad after daybreak.

She arrived in Britain in the afternoon and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England, designated as one of the country's 16 major trauma centers.

Earlier Jamil Ahmed Khan, the ambassador said Malala was recovering steadily and security has been increased. "Malala is recovering. Malala is stable," he said. "While we are talking Malala is airborn. Malala is flying towards the UK in an air ambulance.

"Measures have been taken and security has been amended."

The ambassador saw her this morning when the plane stopped in Abu Dhabi before leaving for the UK at about 10am. The flight is expected to take seven hours.

"The recovery is very steady and doctors are very confident," said the ambassador.

The ambassador spoke on the sidelines of an embassy tribute to Malala by Pakistani pupils from across the UAE. Many were girls her age.

"Before there was one Malala and now there are thousands of Malalas in each school," said Maryam Imtiaz, 14, a pupil in Abu Dhabi.

Children held photos of Malala and prayed for her.

"My dear children, it's time that we fight it out with the power of pen by acquiring more knowledge and showing these unscrupulous people that we have the resolve to flush them from our society and to eliminate them once and for all," said the ambassador.

"We have been through so many challenges in our country, inshallah, we'll also get through this challenge as well."

azacharias@thenational.ae

* With Associated Press