Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, today arrived in her Swat Valley hometown in Pakistan for the first time after she was shot in the head by Taliban militants for advocating girls education more than five years ago. Amid tight security, she along with her parents arrived in Swat district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on a day-long visit, sources said. She has been put up in Circuit House.
The venue had been surrounded by the law enforcers. She will be visiting her ancestral home in Makan Bagh in Mingora, her school besides inaugurating a girls school in Shangla district, the sources added. In an interview to Geo News yesterday, Malala said that she plans to return to Pakistan permanently once her studies are completed.
“My plan is to return to Pakistan as this is my country. I have the same right on the country as any another Pakistani,” Malala said. She reiterated her joy of being in Pakistan and her mission of providing education to children. “We want to work for the education of children and make it possible that every girl in Pakistan receives a high-level education and she can fulfill her dreams and become a part of society.” Malala, now 20, was shot by a gunman for campaigning for female education in 2012 in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
Severely wounded, Malala was taken by helicopter from one military hospital in Pakistan to another, where doctors placed her in a medically induced coma so an air ambulance could fly her to Great Britain for treatment. After she was attacked, the Taliban released a statement saying that they would target her again if she survived. At age 17, Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her education advocacy.
She shared the coveted prize with India’s social activist Kailash Satyarthi. Unable to return to Pakistan after her recovery, Malala moved to Britain, setting up the Malala Fund and supporting local education advocacy groups with a focus on Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya. She is currently studying at Oxford University.
Malala began her campaign aged just 11, when she started writing a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service in 2009 about life under the Taliban in Swat, where they were banning girls’ education. In 2007, the Islamist militants had taken over the area and imposed a brutal rule. Opponents were murdered, people were publicly flogged for supposed breaches of sharia law, women were banned from going to market, and girls were stopped from going to school. The Taliban, who are opposed to the education of girls, have destroyed hundreds of schools in Pakistan.