(BIRMINGHAM, England) — Malala Yousufzai had a tearful reunion with her family Friday in a British hospital where she is recuperating from her attempted assassination by the Taliban.
“My daughter is my companion,” her father Ziauddin Yousufzai said Friday in Birmingham, England. “I love her. …There were tears in our eyes when we first saw her. It was tears of happiness.”
Ziauddin Yousufzai got choked up as he acknowledged that the family had drawn up funeral plans for Malala Yousufzai, an outspoken advocate for girls education shot point blank by a gunman in northern Pakistan’s Swat Valley as she rode a school bus home Oct. 9. Two other girls were injured in the shooting.
Ziauddin Yousufzai, who traveled from Pakistan to England with Malala Yousufzai’s mother and two brothers to visit the teen for the first time since the shooting, called his daughter’s survival a “miracle.”
Malala Yousufza, 15, is reportedly speaking and making remarkable progress at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she was taken after the shooting.
Although she will need her skull reconstructed, a process that will take months, Malala Yousufzai has no signs of brain damage and is expected to make a full recovery, doctors have said.
One of the bullets that hit her grazed her skull, chipping the bone but not penetrating her brain.
Friday Ziauddin Yousufzai thanked the world for “supporting the cause for which she stands: peace and education.” He called her shooter “an agent of Satan — but I found angels on my side.”
“When she fell, Pakistan stood. And this is a turning point,” he said. “She will rise again, she will stand again. She can stand now.”
Ziauddin Yousufzai runs the school that his daughter attended and has vowed to return to Pakistan with her, even though the Taliban has said it would continue to target her.
Malala Yousufzai first spoke out for girls’ education in 2009, when she was 11 years old.
The Taliban had taken over most of the Swat Valley, blowing up schools and preventing girls from getting an education. Thousands of girls’ schools were destroyed and girls who attempted to study feared getting kidnapped or attacked with acid.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com