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Published: Fri, March 30, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan six years after Taliban attack

Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan six years after Taliban attack

Malala Yousafzai, the 20-year Nobel Peace Prize victor, returned to her homeland for her first visit since an attack on her school bus in 2012 left the student from Swat Valley fighting for her life.

The education activist held meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other high-profile figures.

After the attack, the Taliban, which has condemned female education, vowed to kill Yousafzai if she ever returned to Pakistan.

The shooting drew widespread global condemnation and she was subsequently sent to Britain for treatment.

Malala also underlined the importance of girl's education, calling it a "social movement" and vowed that she would continue to advocate it in her home country. "I was proud to give my Nobel Prize money to help build this school for girls in my home Community", Malala said in a Twitter post recently.

A new school financed by the Malala Fund is to be inaugurated in the area, and there have been questions whether she would visit Mingora, but security officials and residents say it's unlikely. "But she was not given permission due to security concerns", said one relative, who declined to be identified.

The activist, who was treated in Birmingham following the 2012 shooting, was the youngest ever victor of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and now studies at Oxford University.

Abbasi told the Nobel laureate that Pakistan defeated militants after a hard war since her departure.

"Malala is Pakistan's representative to the world. Malala Fund has already spent more than six million dollars in Pakistan for the education of girls", she said regarding the non-profit group she had co-founded with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. "And then seeing how many difficulties women and girls face in our society, and how we can fight against those challenges", she said.

"It is just so hard if you haven't seen your home, your relatives, your friends", she said, adding she wanted her feet to "touch that land".

Malala continued to stay in the United Kingdom and is now studying at the Oxford University.

At Abassi's residence in Islamabad, she spoke in a mix of Urdu and English, saying she had "always dreamed of returning to Pakistan and living here in peace and without any fear".

"I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the fearless and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country", wrote politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi.

Malala lamented how so much had changed in her life in so little time.

Many Pakistanis on Twitter were pleased that the campaigner had returned for the visit, despite ongoing security fears.

While skeptics in her own country have suspected that Malala's shooting was staged, the latter has always shown great love for her country. "Pakistan's future is with young generation and education".

Since her recovery, Ms Yousafzai has continued to speak up for children's education and rights around the world.

As an 11-year-old, Yousufzai started an anonymous diary describing a girl's thirst for education. "When I travel to cities like London or NY I always imagined that I am driving in Islamabad or Karachi", she said.

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