'Malala hopes to visit Swat too'

02 April, 2018, 11:19 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Security high in Pakistan's Swat but Nobelist's visit uncertain

In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin who had jumped inside her school van and yelled, "Who is Malala?".

Yousafzai shot to global prominence in 2012 following the incident and she has since become a strong advocate for women's education.

While in the region, Ms Yousafzai visited her childhood home with her mother, father and two brothers.

Malala was accompanied by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, family members and State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb among others as she travelled from Islamabad to Swat via helicopter after a security clearance was issued.

In an interview to Geo TV, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize victor and education activist said that she planned on a permanent return to Pakistan after completing her education. In 2014, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai has visited her hometown in Pakistan for the first time since she was shot by Taliban militants in 2012.

While the operation was successful in reinforcing the writ of Pakistan's government over the valley, sporadic attacks against Taliban opponents continued for several years after it was completed, including the one against Malala.

Roads were blocked off in the town of Mingora as Yousafzai, known universally by her first name, flew in by military helicopter with her parents and brother.

Youzafsai later returned to Islamabad, where she met with human rights activists.

Her family also told AFP of their joy in coming home.

"I still remember each and every moment, right from the fear while sleeping at night that you might not be alive the next day", Yousafzai said.

"We welcome Malala and the slogan that she has raised - one pen, one teacher".

A hospital, being built by Malala Fund, will enable women in her hometown to get treatment in their locality instead of travelling outside the village, she said.

The 20-year-old had asked the authorities to allow her the visit to Shangla village in Swat where a school now operates under the Malala Fund. She then went to Khushal School.

She said Yousafzai told her that she wanted to travel to Swat to see friends and relatives.

Ms Yousafzai is widely respected internationally, but opinion is divided in Pakistan, where some conservatives view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country.

In 2007, The Pakistani Taliban took over much of the valley and banned girls' education, killed people, and flogged women to enforce their harsh interpretation of Islamic law before the Pakistani army drove them out in 2009.

Swat emerged as a success-story of Pakistan's fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants. "And I think that it's my old home again.so it is actually happening, and I am grateful to all of you", an emotional Yousafzai said on her return.

However she has also been met with pockets of intense criticism.


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