Last updated: 14 October, 2012

UAE ready to fly out Malala

The United Arab Emirates is ready to evacuate a Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for further medical treatment, a top official said on Sunday.

“There is an Emirati plane ready to evacuate” 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the plane would be ready to fly out of the UAE once “final preparations are complete.”

Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE, Jamil Ahmed Khan, told a private Pakistani television network that the young child rights activist would be flown to the Gulf state for further treatment.

Malala was shot in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat last Tuesday in retaliation for her campaign for the right to education.

She was airlifted to Pakistan’s top military hospital on Thursday for specialist treatment.

On Sunday, the military said the teenager was making “slow and steady progress” in her recovery.

The Pakistani Taliban said on Tuesday that it carried out the shooting. Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP that the group had repeatedly warned her to stop speaking out against it.

The attempted murder has sickened Pakistan, where Malala came to prominence with a blog for the BBC highlighting atrocities by the Taliban when it controlled much of the Swat valley between 2007 and 2009.