British vigil for shot Pakistani schoolgirl Malala

British campaigners staged a vigil for Malala Yousafzai on Thursday as doctors said the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taleban remained in a stable condition.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 18 Oct 2012, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:20 PM

The teenager is being treated at a hospital in Birmingham, central England, having been flown to Britain on Monday for specialist care.

‘Malala Yousafzai’s condition remains stable. She spent a third comfortable night in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and doctors are pleased with her progress so far,’ the hospital said in a statement.

‘The various specialist consultants from both the Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children’s hospitals continue to assess her on a daily basis.’

Her family remain in Pakistan, added the hospital, which also treats British soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

Malala was shot on a school bus in the former Taleban stronghold of the Swat valley last week as a punishment for campaigning for the right of girls to an education, in an attack which outraged the world.

In Birmingham city centre, a dozen activists from Women2Gether and Amina Women’s Group staged a vigil outside the main local authority buildings.

Participants held small cardboard placards reading ‘I am Malala’, lit white candles, and laid two bunches of pink and yellow flowers on the ground.

An Amina Women’s Group member told reporters: ‘Brave Malala said what so many of us wish to say but we are too afraid.

‘A girl of 14 spoke out for the rights of women and girls in a region where fundamentalism is fighting to take hold.

‘For this she was shot in the head. Like so many around the world, we are moved and inspired by her bravery and wish her and her friends a speedy recovery.’

Birmingham has a 100,000-strong ethnic Pakistani community — a tenth of the city’s population.

The Birmingham Mail newspaper said people in Britain’s second city had offered up their homes to Malala’s family while she is being treated.

A Queen Elizabeth Hospital spokesman told the daily: ‘People are offering every kind of help that they can think of. Doctors from around the world are wanting to help medically at the hospital.

‘We have been contacted by numerous community groups, offering to set up online guestbooks and organise vigils.

‘And there have been thousands of emails and phone calls from well-wishers. Many of them want to give Malala gifts and cards.’

Messages of support have been left on the hospital’s website, most lauding her campaigning and praying for her recovery.

Donations towards her care, which is being funded by the Pakistani government, are being received by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s charity.

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