- Malala Yousafzai will continue rehab at family’s temporary home nearby
- She will later undergo major reconstructive surgery in next few weeks
- She was shot as she sat on her school bus in Pakistan in October
- Would-be assassins couldn’t tolerate her campaign for women’s rights
The Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban and treated in Birmingham walked out of hospital today – three months after she was gunned down at point blank range for standing up for women’s rights.
Looking frail but firm on her feet, Malala Yousafzai, 15, hugged and waved goodbye to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she has undergone months of life-saving surgery to remove the assassin’s bullet from her brain.
She will continue her rehabilitation at the family’s temporary home in the West Midlands before undergoing major reconstructive surgery in a few weeks.
Malala’s bravery has moved the world in the months since she was targeted by the Taliban in Pakistan for heroically speaking out for women’s rights and freedom of access to education in the country.
In October last year a Taliban hitman burst onto her school bus in Swat, northern Pakistan, and shot her at point-blank range.
The bullet entered just above her left eye and ran along her jaw, ‘grazing’ her brain.
It was later removed by surgeons in Pakistan before she was flown to the UK for specialist treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The Taliban have vowed to target her again.
Medics said that Malala will be re-admitted later this month or early February to undergo reconstructive surgery on her skull.
She will visit the hospital every week to attend out-patient clinical appointments where doctors will assess her progress.
Medical Director Dr Dave Rosser said: ‘Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery.
‘Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers.
Brave: Malala was targeted by the Taliban in Pakistan for her work campaigning for women’s rights and freedom of access to education in the country
‘She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.
‘Over the past couple of weeks Malala has been leaving the hospital on a regular basis on ‘home leave’ to spend time with her father Ziauddin, mother Toorpekai and younger brothers, Khushal and Atul.
‘During those visits assessments have been carried out by her medical team to ensure she can continue to make good progress outside the hospital.’
Meanwhile, Malala is now likely to secure permanent residence in the UK after her father was granted a job with the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham.
Since Malala was shot there have been a number of candlelit vigils in Birmingham and across the world to pray for her recovery.
Celebrities including Madonna and Angelina Jolie have joined millions of people across the world to support Malala.
There are growing calls for her to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since her arrival in Britain there have been concerns for the teenager’s safety.
Just a day after she was admitted, well-wishers had to be turned away from the hospital after they turned up claiming to be family members.
And in November the shooting, banned hate preacher Sheikh Omar Bakri sparked global outrage when he threatened to issue a fatwa – a death sentence – against Malala – when he branded her “a traitor to Islam.”
Honoured: A Pakistani police officer stands guard outside the college which was named after Malala, in Swat, Pakistan. The Taliban have vowed to target her again.
Ziauddin Yousafzai has been appointed education attache for three years, with the option of an extension for a further two years afterwards.
Both he and his daughter have had threats made against their lives by the Taliban since the shooting.
Malala’s British doctors have been delighted with her ongoing recovery.
Dr Rosser said: ‘Malala has continued to make great progress in her treatment.
‘A number of QEHB’s multi-specialist doctors have been working alongside colleagues from Birmingham Children’s Hospital to treat her.’