Malala visits hometown in Swat Valley

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai visited her hometown in Swat Valley on Saturday for the first time since she was shot by Taliban gunmen as a teenager.
Malala was accompanied by State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb among others as she travelled from Islamabad to Swat via helicopter.
Roads leading to the 20-year-old education activist´s home in Mingora were blocked off early on Saturday, according to Reuters.
The 20-year-old will reportedly visit her home in the valley as well as Cadet College and Fizagat Park.
Malala has been visiting Pakistan since Thursday, her first trip home since she was shot and airlifted abroad for treatment.
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.
‘Baseless propaganda and criticism’
In the interview, she expressed concern over ‘baseless propaganda and criticism’ on her especially by ‘well-educated’ people in Pakistan.
Malala said she wanted to know who was behind the malicious campaign against her, adding that she avoids watching news on television and going through negative comments on her social media posts in order to remain ‘focused and positive.’
In the interview, Malala also mentioned her fellow students Shazia and Kainat — who were also injured when the Taliban attacked Malala in 2012. The two completed their tenth grade in Wales and now are pursuing higher education at Edinburgh University in Scotland, she said.
Malala Fund
A hospital, being built by Malala Fund, will enable women from getting treatment in their locality instead of traveling outside the village, she informed.
Responding to a question about helping the injured students of Army Public School for their medical treatment in England through the Malala Fund, the 20-year-old said, “We should help others not only by money but with our attitude and gestures.”
Role models
In response to a question about her role models, Malala said the nation had just lost one of the best role models, Asma Jahangir. “When you translate bravery into human body, you can call her Asma Jahangir.”
The 20-year-old expressed her faith in the Pakistani youth’s ability and passion to bring a change.
“They are lucky to have many role models like you [Hamid Mir] to follow,” she told the interviewer.
Future endeavors
Discussing her future endeavors, she remarked that Pakistan and Nigeria had topped the list for most numbers of girls outside schools. A school for girls, under construction in her hometown of Shangla in Swat district, will become the first secondary school in the area, Malala said.
Malala’s homecoming
Malala returned to Pakistan in a surprise visit in the early hours of Thursday. She met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and addressed a gathering at the PM House.
“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.
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.
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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.