LONDON: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in London on Friday evening to travel today (Saturday) to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to meet Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban.
The News has learnt that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will also accompany President Zardari to Birmingham.
“Arrangements have been made for the president’s visit to Birmingham along with other dignitaries. We have informed the hospital and the Yousafzai family,” a source at the Pakistan High Commission said.
He added that Ziauddin Yousafzai will also be present on this occasion. A spokesman at the hospital refused to speak officially but a source confirmed that security arrangements were being made at the hospital for the president’s visit. There is already very high level of security at the hospital after Malala arrived here for treatment.
“The president’s meeting with Malala was set a log time ago but it was a matter of finding the right time,” said the source, who added that the president will be staying at the Churchill Hotel in Central London.
The president will fly to Paris tomorrow (Sunday) to attend a high-profile global event “Stand Up for Malala: Girls’ right to education”.The event is being organised jointly by Unesco and the Government of Pakistan, coinciding with International Human Rights Day.
Gordon Brown and several other high-profile world leaders will also speak at the conference where support will be sought for girls’ education globally. A spokesman at Pakistan High Commission said that chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme will also attend the conference.