Malala Yousafzai Makes a Visit Back to Pakistan

Victims The rapist's sister- who herself became a victim following the families meeting is also among the 12 people arrested

Victims The rapist's sister- who herself became a victim following the families meeting is also among the 12 people arrested

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai broke down in tears during an emotional return to her native Pakistan on Thursday, six years after she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for advocating greater education of girls.

In her first trip to Pakistan after being attacked by the Taliban, the famed human rights activist met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at his office along with some other officials.

"I hope we can all join our hands to ensure that all of the children get education and women can stand up on their feet", she said amid applause from the Prime Minister and the Cabinet members.

In statements released by PTV World, which is part of the state broadcaster, after the top-level meeting she also said: "I still can't believe that I have returned home".

Severely wounded, Malala was taken by helicopter from one military hospital in Pakistan to another, where doctors placed her in a medically induced coma so an air ambulance could fly her to Great Britain for treatment.

The 20-year-old was overcome with emotion as she made a televised speech from the Pakistani prime minister's house in Islamabad, wiping away tears as she spoke of the beauty of her native Swat valley.

The girls' education activist landed in Pakistan early Thursday morning with her brother and father. "We are delighted to see her back", she said.

At age 17, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her education advocacy, becoming a global icon and education champion.

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"Pakistan is her home and if she has come home we welcome her, but we think that she has come as part of worldwide agenda to malign Pakistan and we strongly condemn that", Kashif Mirza, president of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, an association representing some 200,000 schools, told AFP.

"Malala is Pakistan's representative to the world. Malala Fund has already spent more than six million dollars in Pakistan for the education of girls", she said.

Ms Memon, who is chairwoman of the Benazir Income Support Programme, tweeted "Welcome home @Malala". "Happy Pakistan Day!" she wrote on March 23.

Last week, on Twitter, Yousafzai, who lives in Britain and is studying at Oxford University, expressed a longing for her homeland.

Javeria Khan, a 12-year-old schoolgirl in Yousafzai's hometown, said she was excited about Yousafzai's return.

She praised the doctors in Pakistan and United Kingdom for saving her life, while lamenting that due to security concerns and injuries, she was forced to stay overseas for such a long period of time. "She has returned as the most prominent citizen of Pakistan".

"I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the courageous and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country", wrote politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi. Yousafzai's exact schedule is being closely guarded for security reasons and fear of another attack by the Taliban. Yousafzai has repeatedly responded to the criticism with a grace far outstripping her years, often saying that education is not just for those in the West.

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