Malala's condition stable; many try to get into hospital



London: Doctors at the hospital in Britain where Pakistani teenaged rights activist Malala Yousafzai is being treated said they were hopeful she can recover, even as several people tried to get to her ward by falsely claiming they were family members.

The 14-year-old girl, who arrived in Birmingham Monday, had a bullet removed from her skull last week.

David Rosser, hospital medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, told BBC that some British colleagues who had been in Pakistan believed Malala had "a chance of making a good recovery".

"Clearly it would be inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all of this if there was no hope of decent recovery," he said.

Malala was flown from Pakistan, via the United Arab Emirates in an air ambulance, a week after she and two other schoolgirls were attacked as they returned home from school in Mingora in the Swat valley.

She became widely known as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan after writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban, when they banned girls from attending school.

Rosser said specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital were "in a good position to treat her" because they had 10 years of experience in treating military casualties.

Once Malala recovers sufficiently, she will also need neurological help as well as treatment to repair or replace damaged bones in her skull.

However, many people have tried to get to the ward housing Malala by falsely claiming they were family members, the Daily Mail reported.

Management at the hospital said police stopped the people getting near the 14-year-old Monday night.

"We do not think that there is a threat to her personal safety. We believe that it is a case of people being curious," Rosser told the Daily Mail.

However, police said there had not been any arrests.

"Two well-wishers arrived overnight wishing to see Malala Yousafzai. They were stopped in a public area of the hospital and questioned by police, who recorded their details and advised the pair that they would not be allowed to see her. No arrests were made and at no point was there any threat to Malala," a police spokesman said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Malala's bravery "in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all".

Around 50 clerics in Pakistan issued a "fatwa" (religious edict) against the attempt on her life, and declared it "un-Islamic".

"Islam doesn't prohibit women from getting education. The attackers transgressed the Islamic Hudood (principles)," said the clerics from the Sunni Ittehad Council.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who is UN Special Envoy for Global Education, said he would visit Pakistan next month to talk with President Asif Ali Zardari about Malala's cause of girls' education.

Brown launched the www.educationenvoy.org petition under the headline "I am Malala" in support of what Malala fought for.

IANS