Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot in an assassination attempt by the Taliban for promoting education, met her family Friday in a British hospital. Her father, who has vowed to go back to his country with his daughter, said the family had prepared for her funeral.
"My daughter is my companion," Ziauddin Yousufzai, the father of the activist girl from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told ABC News.
The father, who traveled from Pakistan to England with the girl's mother and two brothers, met Malala Yousafzai for the first time at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, since she was shot in the head and neck in Pakistan on Oct. 9.
"I love her. ... There were tears in our eyes when we first saw her. It was tears of happiness," Ziauddin Yousufzai said. He choked up as he said the family had prepared for her funeral. He called her survival a "miracle."
Malala Yousafzai was shot point blank by a gunman as she rode a school bus home. The shooting also injured two other girls.
Malala Yousafzai was promoting education and women's rights in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school and launched acid attacks for defying the ban. She had been interviewed by the foreign media, nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu, and won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize.
Her father said he was thankful that the world supported "the cause for which she stands: peace and education." He added that the shooter was "an agent of Satan -- but I found angels on my side."
"When she fell, Pakistan stood. And this is a turning point," he said. "She will rise again, she will stand again. She can stand now." The doctors have assured of her full recovery.
Ziauddin Yousufzai earlier said the Taliban "cannot stop all independent voices through the force of bullets." The Taliban has threatened to kill Malala Yousafzai and her father.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the assassination attempt. In a statement following the shooting, the White House called the incident "reprehensible, disgusting and tragic." Clinton said it was a reminder of the "challenges that girls face" just for speaking out.
According to local newspaper The Express Tribune, the shooting involved 12 people, out of whom six have been arrested. Attaullah Khan, the main suspect who is still at large, allegedly conspired with Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah, a.k.a. Mullah Radio, to attack Malala Yousafzai.