Foreign Secretary William Hague has met with the father of a teenage girl who was flown to Britain for treatment after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan.
Mr Hague also chatted with staff caring for 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai while visiting Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital along with the Pakistani Interior Minister, Rehman Malik.
In a statement issued after the visit, the Foreign Secretary praised the courage of Malala – who escaped death by inches when a bullet “grazed” her brain – in standing up for women’s rights in her home country.
Mr Hague, who was also accompanied by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, said: “I offered our support and sympathy to Mr Yousafzai and his family as they go through this ordeal.
“Malala’s swift and full recovery is our absolute priority but we are also determined to do all we can to champion education for women and girls in Pakistan.”
The ministers paid a visit to the hospital three days after Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, described the decision to fly his daughter to the UK as a “miracle” and vowed that she would “rise again”.
Mr Yousafzai, his wife and their two sons flew to the UK last Thursday to be with Malala, who was travelling home from school with two classmates when she was shot at point-blank range on October 9.
Doctors have established that a bullet travelled along the side of Malala’s jaw, damaging her skull and jaw joint on the left hand side.
The round, which was removed by surgeons in Pakistan, initially struck Malala’s left brow, but, instead of penetrating the skull, travelled underneath the skin along the whole length of the side of her head, and into her neck.
The cost of Malala’s medical care is being met by the Pakistan government, while the United Arab Emirates provided the air ambulance which transported her to the UK.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital said Malala had a “restful” weekend and continued to make good progress.