LONDON: A Pakistani schoolgirl injured in the Taliban attack against Malala Yousafzai last year has been granted a British student visa after receiving death threats in her home country, it emerged on Monday.
Shazia Ramzan, 15, had a joyful reunion with her friend Malala when she flew into Birmingham airport in central England on Saturday night, their first meeting since they were shot on their school bus on October 9.
Both girls are being supported by the office of Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister who now serves as United Nations special envoy for global education.
In a brutal attack condemned the world over, Taliban gunmen shot Malala at point-blank range as the bus travelled through northwest Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
She was targeted because of her work promoting girls’ education, but two other girls were also injured, including Shazia, who suffered wounds to the neck and shoulder.
Malala was flown to Britain for surgery on her head injuries and returned to school in Birmingham in March.
Her friend will now have a chance to complete her studies at an undisclosed school thanks to a scholarship and support from charities including Brown’s A World At School initiative.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to study here and try to become a doctor,” Shazia said in a statement issued by A World At School. “I wanted so much to stay in Pakistan and complete my education but constant threats made this impossible.”
Malala has become a global symbol of the campaign for the right of girls to an education and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.