Nobel Peace Prize winner 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, Reuters reported.
Yousafzai, traveling with her father and younger brother, met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the capital, Islamabad, before giving a brief speech on national television.
“It’s the happiest day of my life. I still can’t believe it’s happening,” she said, wiping away tears.
“I don’t normally cry ... I’m still 20 years old but I’ve seen so many things in life,” added Yousafzai.
Yousafzai spoke of the importance of education and about the efforts of her charitable foundation to help girls, often switching between English and the Pashto and Urdu languages, Reuters reported.
“Welcome home,” Prime Minister Abbasi told Yousafzai.
“When she went away, she was a child of 12. She has returned as the most prominent citizen of Pakistan “
It was Yousafzai’s first visit to her homeland since she was airlifted for medical treatment in Britain in 2012.
Dawn News reported that due to security reasons, her visit and her entire itinerary was being kept secret.
In April 2017, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres selected Yousafzai to be a UN messenger of peace, the highest honor bestowed by the UN chief on a global citizen.