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Pakistani politicians eager to visit Malala turned away from Birmingham hospital

London, Wed, 31 Oct 2012 ANI

London, Oct. 31 (ANI): The hospital treating Pakistani teen education campaigner Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban, had to turn away quite a number of Pakistani VIPs keen on spending time at her bedside, according to hospital staff.

Malala, 15, who earned international fame for raising voice against Taliban oppression and advocating girls' right to education in Swat valley, was shot in the neck and head and two other girls sustained injuries when the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) opened fire on their school van on October 9.

Malala was flown to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on October 15 for specialized treatment

Back in Pakistan, critics are of the view that Malala's high profile has turned her into a political photo opportunity for politicians with an eye on elections next year, at a time when she needs rest and a chance to recover, reports The Nation.

Last week, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Farooq Sattar, had visited the hospital. Since then visitors have included Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, the daughter of late Benazir Bhutto, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Haider Ali, a politician from Swat. On Monday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, visited the hospital along with William Hague and a minister from the United Arab Emirates.

None were able to meet Malala but were briefed by medical staff and spent time with her family instead.

A hospital spokeswoman said that only immediate family members were allowed to visit Malala for limited amounts of time and other requests were being refused.

Sana Saleem, a campaigner for women's rights, said the government of Pakistan had played its part in helping Malala but should now let her recover in peace.

"There's no need for ministers going to see her now. The government has supported her and taken her to Britain, but this is not going to help now," Saleem said. (ANI)



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