ISLAMABAD: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Nobel laureate and education activist who made a surprise return to Pakistan earlier on Thursday, said she still cannot believe she is back home.
Addressing a gathering at the PM House, where she held a meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier, Malala shared that she had thought a lot about returning to her native land in the last five years.
“I am very happy and still can’t believe that this is happening…In the past five years I had always dreamt of stepping foot in my country,” Malala said as she slightly broke down speaking about her return.
The Nobel laureate and young activist advocated that investment must be made in children’s education, adding that the Malala Fund has invested $6 million for girls education in Pakistan.
“The coming generations are the future of Pakistan.”
Malala remarked that unity is the need of the hour. “All political forces should unite. There should be no politics when it comes to education, health and economy.”
Later, PM Abbasi addressed the gathering, saying to Malala that “Pakistan is your home and you are welcome to come anytime you please”.
The PM said that Malala is the most famous personality of Pakistan.
“The world has given her respect, Pakistan will as well.”
Malala, others call on PM
Earlier in the day, Malala held a meeting with Abbasi. State minister for information Marriyum Aurangzeb, Senator Mussadiq Malik, Anusha Rehman and Marvi Memon also attended the meeting, Geo News reported.
The social activist is also expected to meet Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa later in the day.
The 20-year-old will also participate in the ‘Meet the Malala’ programme during her four-day stay in Pakistan, details of which have been kept secret.
Yousafzai arrived in Pakistan early Thursday morning, nearly six years after she left the country following an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012.
Her parents are accompanying her on the trip.
In October 2012, Yousafzai — then 15 years old — was shot in the head at point-blank range by Taliban gunmen as she was returning from her school in Swat valley.
She suffered bullet injuries and was admitted to the military hospital Peshawar but was later flown to London for further treatment.
The shooting drew widespread international condemnation.
She has become an internationally recognised symbol of resistance to the Taliban’s efforts of denying women education and other rights.
In 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 in recognition of her efforts for children’s rights.