5 and a half years later after the brutal attempt on her life by the Taliban, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai returns Pakistan for the first time. Malala was shot in the in the head by Taliban militants in 2012, to shut down her campaign for the education of girls.
Although the details of the visit have been kept under wraps for security reasons, local news reports suggest that she is being accompanied by officials from the Malala Fund Group during the four-day trip.
“Always it has been my dream that I should go to Pakistan and there, in peace and without any fear, I can move on streets, I can meet people, I can talk to people,..” “And I think that it’s my old home again… so it is actually happening, and I am grateful to all of you.” she said in a televised address from the Prime Minister’s house in Islamabad.
Malala Yousafzai is a vocal human rights activist. At just 11, she had written for BBC Urdu about her life under the Taliban rule. Subsequently, she was attacked on a school bus at the age of 15 for speaking out about female education and military suppression.
Oh Brave Brave @Malala You made us cry. 😢
You are Pride of Pakistan 🇵🇰and your cause is bigger. Your country, your people are with you.
Stay Blessed #MalalaYousafzai @MalalaFund @ZiauddinY pic.twitter.com/iu3y1H1ruH
— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) March 29, 2018
After an emergency treatment, Malala was air-lifted to the United Kingdom for further treatment and to recover in Birmingham, where she lives with her family.
The Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the shooting her because she was “pro-West” and “promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas”.
Despite recent security measures, the Pakistani Taliban has remained active. They have been blamed for a number of deadly attacks on schools and colleges that have killed hundreds.
Malala Yousafzai was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2014) for children’s rights. She is presently pursuing her education at the Oxford University. She is very vocal on issues of female education and children’s rights across the world.
She never gave up on her dream to promote female education and set up the Malala Fund with her father Ziauddin, with the goal of “working for a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear”
Over the years she has repeatedly expressed her wishes to return to Pakistan, describing her hometown of Swat as “a paradise on earth”. Alas, there are no indications yet that she will visit her hometown during the visit.
In her speech, she expressed her emotions on her homecoming in Pashto stating “Today is the happiest day of my life because I have returned to my country, I have stepped foot on my nation’s soil again and am among my own people.”
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who also addressed the gathering after Malala, said he was happy that a daughter of the nation has returned to her homeland.
We join the Prime Mister in saying to Malala “Welcome home”, at last, and hope that the people of Pakistan continue to stand with her.
Snigdha is a 'closet' writer with unapologetic opinions on life and people around her. She supports the cause of protecting endangered civil rights like free speech, equity, equality, and most importantly common sense.