Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan for the first time after 2012 assault

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Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai yesterday returned to Pakistan, saying tearfully that it was "a dream" to be home for the first time since she was airlifted to Britain after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman more than five years ago.

The 20-year-old's unannounced arrival with her parents under tight security at Islamabad's global airport overnight has been met with a tsunami of social media reaction, with many Pakistanis hailing her bravery but others accusing her of a conspiracy to foment dissent. At the Prime Minister's office, Malala, a 20-year-old now, said it was her dream to come home without any fear.

It was Yousafzai's first visit to her homeland since she was shot in late 2012 and airlifted overseas for medical treatment. She is the co-founder of the Malala Fund helping girls receive secondary education in conflict-hit countries, including Syria, Kenya, Nigeria, Jordan and Pakistan.

The outlawed Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for plotting the attack and vowed to target her again. "We will provide you all the security you need", he said.

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work promoting children's rights. Her four-day itinerary has her staying mostly in Islamabad and meeting Pakistani officials, media representatives and social activists, as well as relatives.

He tweeted: "We have fought hard to eradicate terrorism & we will continue to fight extremism & defeat it @Malala this is your home & we are glad you are home".

Ms. Yousufzai, along with her friends, was attacked in the Swat Valley in 2012. "Happy Pakistan Day!" she wrote on 23 March.

However, other users responded that the image was of another Pakistani victim of violence, Waleed Khan, who was studying at the University of Birmingham school and had stood for the UK Youth Parliament as a champion of courage in the face of intimidation.

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Prime Minister Abbasi said he was extremely happy to welcome a daughter of the Pakistan nation who has earned massive fame and respect from the entire world, has come back home.

For much of Pakistan, waking up to Malala's return Thursday felt like the homecoming of a champion.

Since her recovery, Ms Yousafzai has continued to speak up for children's education and rights around the world.

"No one hates Malala We hate the mindset working behind her". Yousafzai's exact schedule is being closely guarded for security reasons and fear of another attack by the Taliban.

Once known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, Swat was under the Taliban's harsh rule between 2007 and 2009, during which they banned music and tried to halt female education.

"I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the courageous and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country", wrote politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi.

"[She] has brought pride to Pakistan", agreed shopkeeper Ahmed Malik, though he added more needed to be done for women in Pakistan: "We accept that what happened to her was unjust but there is not a single Malala, there are others as well".

As an 11-year-old, Yousufzai started an anonymous diary describing a girl's thirst for education.