Nobel laureate Malala arrives Islamabad since Taliban attack
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on Thursday arrived in Islamabad, in her first visit since she was shot by a Taliban gunman six years ago.
During her four-day visit, Malala is expected to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but further details have been “kept secret in view of the sensitivity surrounding the visit.”
Accompanied by her parents, the 20-year-old Nobel laureate was escorted through Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport under tight security.
Malala became a global symbol for human rights after a gunman boarded her school bus in the Swat valley on October 9, 2012, asked “Who is Malala?” and shot her. She was treated for her injuries in the British city of Birmingham, where she also completed her schooling.
The youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she has continued to be a vocal advocate for girls’ education while pursuing her studies at Oxford University.
Many Pakistanis took to Twitter to express delight that the campaigner had returned for the visit, despite ongoing security fears. “I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the brave and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country,” politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi wrote.
One leading Pakistani journalist, Hamid Mir, issued a plea for opposition politicians and commentators to exercise restraint when talking about the visit. “International media is highly focused on her return and this (bad language) will damage Pakistan’s image,” he said.
Malala began her campaign aged just 11, when she started writing a blog – under a pseudonym – for the BBC’s Urdu service in 2009 about life under the Taliban in Swat, where they were banning girls’ education.
In 2007 the militants had taken over the area, which Malala affectionately called “My Swat”, and imposed a brutal, bloody rule.
Opponents were murdered, people were publicly flogged for supposed breaches of law, women were banned from going to market, and girls were stopped from going to school. But it was only after the shooting, and a subsequent near-miraculous recovery, that she became a truly global figure.