Pakistan's Zardari in UK, meets girl shot by Taliban

BIRMINGHAM, England Sun Dec 9, 2012 8:59am IST

Pakistan's President Asif Zardari meets with schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai (R) during his visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Handout

Pakistan's President Asif Zardari meets with schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai (R) during his visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England December 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Handout

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Pakistan's President Asif Zardari held a private meeting on Saturday with Malala Yousufzai, the teenage Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban after advocating education for girls, at the British hospital where she is being treated.

Yousufzai, who was shot in the head at close range by the Pakistan Taliban in October as she left school in the Swat valley, was flown for specialist treatment at the hospital which has treated hundreds of British soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

World leaders have since pledged to support her campaign and more than 250,000 people have signed online petitions calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.

Yousufzai was a "remarkable girl and a credit to Pakistan", Zardari said in a brief statement issued by the hospital, after he and his daughter Asifa Bhutto held a five minute meeting with the teenager, her father and two brothers.

During his visit to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham in the English midlands, Zardari was briefed on Yousufzai's condition. He left without speaking to media.

The hospital said on Saturday she was "well". It has previously said she was recovering after suffering fractures to her skull and jawbone, but would need reconstructive surgery.

(Writing by Tim Castle; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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