Malala: Shot Pakistan Girl Thanks Supporters

The schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan has thanked people around the world for their support - as thousands call for her to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yusufzai, 15, was flown to Birmingham for specialist treatment after she was shot in the head at point-blank range on a school bus on October 9.

Speaking on behalf of his daughter, Ziauddin Yusufzai said she wanted to thank well-wishers for their humbling support to help her "survive and stay strong".

"She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her well-being," he said in a statement, issued by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust .

"We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, colour and creed.

"I am awfully thankful to all the peace-loving well-wishers who strongly condemn the assassination attempt on Malala, who pray for her health and support the grand cause of peace, education, freedom of thought and freedom of expression."

Mr Yusufzai, his wife and their two sons flew to the UK last month to be with Malala, who is being treated in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. 

The schoolgirl has received thousands of gifts, cards and messages of support since arriving in Birmingham on October 15.

New pictures have also been released showing Malala sitting up reading a book and looking through cards sent to her.

Malala's statement comes as more than 60,000 people signed a petition to nominate her for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

The global petition to have Malala nominated, on , was started in Canada by Tarek Fatah, a writer and broadcaster.

It has already achieved support from Canada's four largest political parties and has been replicated by supporters in other countries, including France and Spain.

In the UK, Shahida Choudhary is campaigning for the Prime Minister and prominent politicians to write to the Nobel committee to recommend Malala.

Ms Choudhary said: "Malala doesn't just represent one young woman, she speaks out for all those who are denied an education purely on the basis of their gender."

This Saturday is Malala Day, a global day of action marking one month since she was shot.

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown declared the day in his role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

Malala Day also coincides with Mr Brown's trip to Pakistan to deliver a petition containing more than a million signatures to President Asif Ali Zardari, urging him to make education a reality for all Pakistani children, irrespective of gender.

Malala, who is widely known as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan, was attacked with two other schoolgirls travelling home from school in the Swat Valley.

The gunman who boarded the van in which she was travelling asked for her by name before firing three shots at her.

In early 2009, she wrote an anonymous blog about life under the Taliban, who had banned all girls in her area from attending school.