Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl shot in the head by a Taliban assailant two weeks ago, was reunited with her family members at a hospital in Birmingham, UK on Thursday. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, met with a room full of reporters Friday to discuss his daughter’s condition and the events leading up to her attack.
The family’s reunion was marked by tears of joy, Yousafzai said, while admitting that he had originally feared he would be planning for a funeral instead. He described his daughter’s prognosis as a “miracle,” adding that he had not expected her to be able to talk or see.
He described the attack, which occurred at the school he runs for girls in the Swat Valley. The young Pakistani girl, who has become an international figure for women’s rights, had just completed an exam and was sitting in her school’s van about to head home as a gunman approached her. He said that he was confident his daughter would “rise again” to pursue her dreams and continue her education.
The Yousafzai family gathered around Malala’s hospital bed in Birmingham, England. Her mother Toorpekai, brothers, Khushal and Apal, and her father joined her Thursday evening shortly after landing, according to CNN.
Dr. Dave Rosser, the medical director at University Hospitals Birmingham, said that Malala was now able to walk with “little help” and “appears to have very good memories of both the last few days of her care and events prior to the incident.” He added that doctors do not anticipate that she will have significant brain damage.
Yousafzai also thanked the British doctors and the international community for coming to Malala’s aid, while speaking positively about the global response to his daughter’s injury.
“When she fell, Pakistan stood,” an emotional Ziauddin Yousafzai said. “This is a turning point and that is why I am thankful to all the people all over the world, indifferent to caste, creed, religion, faith, age and sex. Everyone across the world, they condemned the attack in strong words and prayed for my daughter. She is not only my daughter, she is the daughter of everybody—the sister of everybody.”
Malala reportedly asked her father to bring her school books from home so that she could resume her studies from her hospital bed. Yousafzai added that she told him she wanted to return to Swat for her final exams.
Meanwhile back in Pakistan, CNN reports that six men have been arrested in connection with Malala’s shooting, including a 23-year old man from Swat identified as Atta Ullah Khan. Khan, a master’s student in chemistry, is the primary suspect.