Monday, April 02, 2018

Visited Pakistan to tell world it is a peaceful country, says Malala

Nobel prize laureate had returned to her homeland nearly five years after assassination attempt by Taliban


ISLAMABAD: Nobel Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai after her four-day trip to Pakistan has said that the purpose of her visit was to let the world know that her country is peaceful.

“In the outside world, internationally, there are concerns that Pakistan is a terrorist country or there is no peace in Pakistan," she said. "So, my trip was important to give the message that there is peace in Pakistan and the people of Pakistan have stood against extremists,” she said in an interview with the Voice of America.

Malala, who made a surprise four-day visit to her homeland, returned back to Britain today.

The young activist and her family departed from Islamabad airport at 10am Monday morning via a private airline.

Yousafzai, who is currently studying at Oxford University, visited the PM House and her hometown in Swat during the visit. She also campaigned for Malala Fund, which is working towards educating girls in Pakistan and other countries. 

Accompanied by her parents, the young activist flew to Pakistan early Thursday morning, more than five years after she left the country following an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012.

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.

During her visit, Malala met the prime minister and a delegation of civil society and women's rights activists in Islamabad. 

Visiting the Prime Minister Office on Thursday, Malala addressed the gathering and broke down while recalling her yearning for home. 

Later, she also visited her hometown of Swat, amid tight security, along with her family, where she interacted with her friends and relatives.

Malala plans permanent return to Pakistan

On Friday, speaking on Geo News programme, Capital Talk, Malala shared her plans of a permanent return to Pakistan after completing her education.

"My plan is to return to Pakistan as this is my country. I have the same right on the country as any another Pakistani,” Malala said during the interview.

Malala reiterated her joy of being in Pakistan and her mission of providing education to children. “We want to work for the education of children and make it possible that every girl in Pakistan receives a high-level education and she can fulfill her dreams and become a part of society.”

When asked if she saw a difference in the Pakistan of 2012 and 2018, Malala said: "Certainly there is a difference and things are improving. People in our country are uniting for a better Pakistan. People are active, which is a very good thing.”

Malala said she appreciated the role of the then Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani in her treatment. “My treatment here [Pakistan] was by Army doctors and if they had not done my surgery in time I would not be here today.”

The 20-year-old also thanked the army and government for the role they played in her return to the county, adding that without them this would not have been possible.