NOBEL Peace Prize winner and international education activist Malala Yousafzai returned to Pakistan on Thursday for the time since she was shot in the head by a Taliban soldier for her advocacy for schooling for girls.
Malala left Pakistan six years ago when she was transferred to a British hospital after the shooting. The Taliban threatened the Oxford student with death if she ever returned to Pakistan.
Pakistani station Geo TV showed footage of Yousafzai at Islamabad’s international airport walking to a car escorted by a security convoy.
The 20-year-old has often expressed a desire to return to her homeland. In the documentary, He Named Me Malala, she spoke of how she missed her friends and her village in the Swat Valley and how she dreamt of returning to her childhood house just one more time.
On National Pakistan Day on March 23, she echoed this sentiment on Twitter, reflecting on “fond memories.”
“On this day, I cherish fond memories of home, of playing cricket on rooftops and singing the national anthem in school. Happy Pakistan Day!”, she wrote.
On this day, I cherish fond memories of home, of playing cricket on rooftops and singing the national anthem in school. Happy Pakistan Day! 🇵🇰❤️
— Malala (@Malala) March 23, 2018
The Pakistani Taliban claimed the 2012 attack on the then-school girl was in response to her blog for the BBC Urdu service advocating girls’ education. While in control of Malala’s village, the hardline Islamist movement blew up girls’ schools and imposed a strict interpretation of sharia law. Name’s of those who had violated the laws were listed after evening prayers, making them targets for vigilante attacks.
Malala advocated widely for the furtherment of girl’s schooling, including appearing on national television. Since the attack, she has become a global symbol for human rights but remains a polarising figure back home.
She is frequently attacked by conservative Pakistanis as portraying her country in a bad light and seeking her own fame.
Malala’s trip is expected to last four days and include a meeting with the prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.