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Malala Returns to Pakistan for First Time Since Being Shot by Taliban

Malala Returns to Pakistan for First Time Since Being Shot by Taliban

While she is arguably the most recognisable Pakistani in the world, Yousafzai - known nearly universally as Malala - is a polarising figure at home. All the time I was in cars and planes across the world, I used to tell myself that I am back home in Pakistan.

"We are fighting a war against terror", he said. While no one said whether she or Abbasi initiated her brief return, the government touted it as a sign the violent militancy has been defeated in the Islamic nation.

"We have awesome women", she told them in comments broadcast on state television, pushing for more education and critical thinking.

It was not clear whether Malala and her family would visit Swat during their visit, something that would require extraordinary security clearance measures, officials said.

"I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the fearless and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country", politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi wrote on Twitter, one of many Pakistanis expressing joy at her return, despite ongoing security fears. Stringent security measures were taken at Benazir International Airport here on arrival of the Nobel peace laureate.

However, she will not travel to the Swat Valley in the north of the country, where the shooting occurred.

"We won't ask men to change the world, we're going to do it ourselves", Malala said.

The 20-year-old university student was greeted by a heavy security presence when she landed in Pakistan.

She was just 15 when she was targeted by the Taliban for her outspoken campaigning over girls' rights to an education.

During her emotional speech on Thursday, Yousafzai celebrated the fact that "more than $6 million" has been put toward education in Pakistan in the years since her attack. She is here on a four-day visit, Dawn online reported.

Malala Returns to Pakistan for First Time Since Being Shot by Taliban
Malala Returns to Pakistan for First Time Since Being Shot by Taliban

Malala, now 20, was shot in the head at point blank range by a Taliban gunman on October 9, 2012 while returning home from a school run by her family.

"Whether I was in a plane or driving in a auto in streets of London, I dreamed of being in Islamabad and Karachi but it was not true".

They also blew up many girls' schools and imposed their strict version of Islamic law until they were finally driven out.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai says she will continue to campaign for the education of girls in Pakistan.

At home in Pakistan, however, she has been condemned by some as a Western mouthpiece with some even suggesting on social media that the shooting was staged.

"But it was always my dream that I return to Pakistan", she added. "She is a source of inspiration for girls in Swat", he said, noting the new school in Shangla in the Swat region.

Politicians, journalists and celebrities were among those welcoming her back.

Some in Pakistan, especially religious conservatives, have been critical, calling her a polarizing figure who portrays her country in a negative way to seek fame overseas.

Often when she has spoken in public she has championed her home country and spoken in her native Pashto language, always promising to return.

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