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A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out about suffering under the regime has been flown to Birmingham.
14 year old Malala Yousafzai arrived at Birmingham Airport yesterday and transferred to the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital which has a decade's experience of treating British military casualties. The teenager was shot on a bus in front of her friends last Tuesday in what Foreign Secretary William Hague described as a ``barbaric attack''.
She was saved by neurosurgeons in a Pakistani military hospital and has since been in intensive care. But doctors decided she needed ``prolonged care'' to help her recover from the physical and psychological effects of the attack. ``Malala's bravery in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all,'' said Mr Hague. ``Our thoughts remain with Malala and her family at this difficult time. The public revulsion and condemnation of this cowardly attack shows that the people of Pakistan will not be beaten by terrorists. The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism.''
Malala was shot with two classmates as they made their way home from school in Swat, in the north west of Pakistan. She was attacked by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls and criticising the militant group. In a statement, the Pakistani authorities said: ``The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury.''
Malala was accompanied by an army intensive care specialist who provided continued care during the trip. ``All expenses including transportation of Malala by specially equipped air ambulance and treatment abroad will be borne by the government of Pakistan,'' the statement added.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said all transport, migration, medical, accommodation and subsistence costs for Malala and her party were being footed by the Pakistani government.