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Strong, long-lasting democracy vital for Pakistan : Nobel laureate Malala

Lahore : Youngest Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai on Thursday said a strong and long-lasting democracy in Pakistan, was very important for its peace and prosperity.

Malala, the youngest winner of the prestigious award, speaking here at a special event by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to welcome her homecoming after five and a half years, said unity among the people of Pakistan was need of the hour to address the issues including education and health.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi presents a Souvenir to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai at Prime Minister’s Office Islamabad on March 29, 2018.

Malala said the areas of education, health and economic growth had nothing to do with political differences and thus required a collaborative effort by all, setting aside their mutual differences.

Malala Yousafzai returned home early this morning from the United Kingdom, where she was treated for her wounds after an attack by the Taliban in 2012 while she was returning home from her school in Mingora town of Swat valley.

Prime Minister Abbasi greeted the girl’s education activist saying “Welcome home Malala” and said the then 13-year old student had now returned home as an internationally acclaimed person.

Abbasi said he was very happy to see Pakistan’s internationally famed young daughter coming back home.

He said when Malala left home in 2012, terrorism was rife in the country, however the country waged a very difficult war against this menace, sacrificing its over 6,500 army men and 25,000 civilians and law enforcement personnel, to make the country peaceful.

He said Pakistan would continue to fight out terrorists till the elimination of their last remnants.

He described the young Malala a leading representative of the youth, particularly of the women and assured that the government fully stood by her vision.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said whatever impression the world had got about Pakistan, there was no other country in the world that rendered more sacrifices against terrorism.

He asked Malala to spread Pakistan’s message of peace in the world and wished her every success in her efforts and contribution for the cause of education.

Overwhelmed with emotions and outpouring of love for the homeland, Malala said she was extremely happy to return home.

She said wherever in the world she travelled, she remembered Pakistan close to her heart.  With tears in her eyes, she also spoke a few words in her native language Pushto and said she was still in a daze and it all seemed surreal. She said she always wanted to return home and recalled her home town Swat.

Malala said in 20 years of her life, she had seen a lot of ups and downs. She recalled her early life in a beautiful scenic area but regretted that it was all destroyed by the fire and fury, unleashed by the Taliban.

She said had it been her will, she would have never left her home and her country Pakistan.

Malala stressed for investing in the education, particularly of girl child. She said the Malala Education Fund was already working in his regard and its objective was to empower the women and make them self-sufficient to earn their own living.

Malala Yousafzai shared her thoughts and answered queries about the Malala Fund and its contributions towards women empowerment.

To a question, she said the objective was not only to provide books or schools for the girls, but to create an environment that encouraged their education and raise them as inspirational women.

She said there were several glowing examples of women in Pakistan that were turning tides in different fields.

The event was attended by ministers, diplomats and educationists. Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai was also present.

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