Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai broke down in tears during an emotional return to her native Pakistan on Thursday for the first time following a Taliban attack in Swat in 2012.
“I have dreamed of returning to Pakistan for the past five years,” said a teary Yousafzai in a homecoming speech on Thursday at a function at Prime Minister House in Islamabad.
Hours after her arrival, Yousafzai met with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, according to a government statement.
PM Abbasi, who also addressed the gathering after Yousafzai, said he is happy that a daughter of the nation has returned to her homeland.
“You were a 13-year-old girl when you left and now you are the most famous citizen of the country. The entire world gave you honour and respect and Pakistan will [also],” he said.
“It is your home. Now you are not an ordinary citizen, your security is our responsibility.”
The Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai has returned to #Pakistan after 5 years and being honoured by the Prime Minister of Pakistan at a special ceremony. MoS for MOIB @Marriyum_A was also present on the occasion along with PM’s Special advisor Mussadiq Malik.#MalalaYousafzai pic.twitter.com/uYTNSu5ipP
— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) March 29, 2018
Details of the trip have been kept secret “in view of the sensitivity”, officials say.
Pakistani television broadcast video that appeared to show her with her parents at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport under tight security.
Yousafzai returned to Pakistan on a four-day visit late Wednesday night accompanied by her father Ziauddin, Farah Mohamed and Amirobyn Thompson.
The 20-year-old Oxford University student from Swat has been living in the United Kingdom after surviving a Taliban attack which necessitated her departure abroad for medical treatment.
Malala receives warm welcome in Pakistan
As news broke about Yousafzai’s arrival to the home country, Pakistani politicians, celebrities, journalists and social activists welcomed her on social media.
Cricketer turned opposition leader Imran Khan’s party said Yousafzai’s return was a sign of the defeat of extremism in the country.
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also welcomed her.
Welcome home @Malala ! Keep making us proud. 🇵🇰
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) March 29, 2018
Actor Mahira Khan has welcomed Nobel Peace Prize laureate and social activist Malala Yousafzai, whom she described as “baby girl”.
Welcome home baby girl @Malala !
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) March 29, 2018
Welcoming tweets on social media:
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) March 29, 2018
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) March 29, 2018
We love Quaid Azam M A Jinnah but @Malala is the most recognised Pakistani by the world at large. Let’s face it: she’s living Mandela. Imagine: a Pakistani Mendela. Can you beat that! pic.twitter.com/WolvFCNXQQ
— Amir Mateen (@AmirMateen2) March 28, 2018