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Pakistani president visits Malala in British hospital

By David Ariosto, CNN
updated 3:47 PM EST, Sat December 8, 2012
15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai
15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malala Yousufzai is being treated in the United Kingdom at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari went "to see for himself the health condition of Ms. Malala"
  • The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting

(CNN) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday visited Malala Yousufzai -- a 15-year-old schoolgirl and girls' education advocate who was targeted by Taliban militants in Pakistan's restive Swat Valley.

Yousufzai is currently being treated in the United Kingdom at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, after she was shot in the head by gunmen in October in retaliation for her advocacy.

Zardari went "to see for himself the health condition ... and also to pay tributes to her for her courage and steadfastness," his office said in a written statement.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, though may not have anticipated the level of condemnation the attack would provoke as outcry spread across Pakistan's political spectrum.

Malala initially gained international attention in 2009, as the Taliban gained a foothold in her home region of Swat, a Taliban redoubt in northwest Pakistan near neighboring Afghanistan.

On her blog, the schoolmaster's daughter wrote about her life in the region, a center of militant activity where girls' schools were shuttered and strict Islamist rules imposed.

In her writings, which earned her Pakistan's first National Peace Prize, Malala encouraged young people to resist the Taliban, and was later featured in two documentaries.

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