Malala leaves Pakistan after emotional 4-day visit

Malala leaves Pakistan after emotional 4-day visit
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD - Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on Monday (April 2) left for Britain after an emotional four-day visit to Pakistan, officials said.

Ms Yousafzai made a surprise return visit to Pakistan last week more than five years after she was shot in the head by a Taleban gunman for advocating girls' education.

"Malala Yousafzai along with her family left Islamabad," a government official told AFP. An airport official confirmed her departure.

During a reception at the Prime Minister's Office last week, she tearfully said during a televised speech that it was "a dream" to finally return home.

"Always it has been my dream that I should go to Pakistan... in peace and without any fear."

"And I think that it's my old home again... so it is actually happening, and I am grateful to all of you."

Ms Yousafzai briefly visited her native Swat valley over the weekend during her first trip back to the once militant-infested region where she was targeted.

"I left Swat with my eyes closed and now I am back with my eyes open," she said, referring to how she was airlifted out in a coma after the attack in 2012.

Pakistani students arrive at the Khpal Kor Model School, which was built using Malala Yousafzai's Nobel prize money​
Photo: AFP

"I am extremely delighted. My dream has come true. Peace has returned to Swat because of the invaluable sacrifices rendered by my brothers and sisters," she said at a school outside Mingora, the district's main town, where she was escorted by the Pakistani military.

The trip was a highly symbolic moment for Pakistan, which regularly touts Swat as a success story in its long battle with extremism as it defends itself against accusations by the US and others that its north-west remains a safe haven for militancy.

Since leaving Pakistan, the 20-year-old Ms Yousafzai has become a global symbol for human rights and a vocal campaigner for girls' education.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she has continued her campaigning while pursuing her studies at Oxford University.

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