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Security high in Pakistan's Swat but Malala visit uncertain

Security high in Pakistan's Swat but Malala visit uncertain”

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai says she has pined for her home in Pakistan's picturesque Swat Valley, even as she recalled two years living in fear under the Taliban's harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Amid tight security, Youzafzai along with her parents landed in the Swat Valley in an army helicopter. Yousafzai is expected to return to London on Monday.

Wearing a rose-printed head scarf and flowing tunic and pants - one of many outfits family and friends brought her from Pakistan to Britain, where she is studying at Oxford University - Yousafzai said she was elated at being home.

Only 14 when she was shot, Yousafzai has since delighted in telling the Taliban that instead of silencing her, they have amplified her voice.

Yousafzai returned to Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Thursday for the first time since a Taliban militant shot her in 2012. She has also written a book, spoken at the United Nations and met with refugees.

"Pakistan has not done well by its heroes", an editorial in the English-language Dawn newspaper on Ms Malala's homecoming said yesterday, noting that the country's other Nobel laureate - physicist Abdus Salam - had been widely shunned for being a member of the persecuted Ahmadi minority.

Yousafzai praised the Pakistan army in an interview on the independent Geo news channel Friday for providing her timely medical treatment, saying her surgery was done by an army surgeon at the "right time" and she later received post-trauma treatment in Britain.

Malala is widely respected internationally as a global icon for girls' education, but opinion is divided in Pakistan, where some conservatives view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country.

Women's rights activist Nighat Dad said that she and a group of other feminists from across Pakistan who were gathered on Thursday were not told they would be seeing Malala until the last moment.

Though she is perhaps the world's best-known Pakistani, Yousafzai - known nearly universally as just "Malala" - is polarizing figure at home, beloved by many but reviled by others.

Since her attack and recovery, Yousafzai has led the Malala Fund in which she said has invested US$6 million ($8.2 million) for schools and books and uniforms for schoolchildren.

The youngest-ever victor of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she has continued to be a vocal advocate for girls' education while studying at Oxford University. She said that she wanted to return but apart from security concerns, she was having a hectic time for her entry exams to Oxford, where she began studying degree in politics, philosophy and economics previous year.

Schoolgirls in Yousafzai's hometown were already jubilant over her arrival. The security was extraordinary as the Taliban had warned in the past that they would again target her again if she came back to Pakistan.



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