Yousafzai’s visit comes as students at her former school join a strike over a rise in violence in her hometown of Mingora in the Swat Valley. – AFP pic
KARACHI, Oct 11 – Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai today arrived in her native Pakistan to visit flood victims, 10 years after a Taliban assassination attempt against her.
Yousafzai was just 15 years old when militants from the Pakistani Taliban – an independent group that shares a common ideology with the Afghan Taliban – shot her in the head over her campaign for girls’ education.
She was flown to Britain for life-saving treatment and went on to become a global education advocate and the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Two days after the 10th anniversary of the attack, she landed in the southern city of Karachi – only her second visit since the shooting – from where she will travel to areas devastated by unprecedented monsoon flooding.
Her visit aims “to help keep international attention focused on the impact of floods in Pakistan and reinforce the need for critical humanitarian aid”, her organisation Malala Fund said in a statement.
Catastrophic flooding put a third of Pakistan under water, displaced eight million people – who are now facing a health crisis – and caused an estimated US$28 billion (RM130.8 billion) in damages.
Yousafzai’s visit comes as students at her former school join a strike over a rise in violence in her hometown of Mingora in the Swat Valley.
The Pakistani Taliban waged a years-long insurgency in Swat until a major military crackdown in the northwest of the country in 2014 restored security in the area.
But it has seen a resurgence of militancy since the Taliban returned to power across the border in Afghanistan last year.
There has been a spike in attacks in recent weeks, targeting mostly security forces.
Yesterday, a driver was shot dead and a child wounded in an attack on a school bus, prompting up to 2,000 students and teachers to walk out of classes.
Locals blamed the Pakistani Taliban, but the group has denied responsibility.
Students and teachers again walked out today calling for peace in the region.
“People are angry,” principal Ahmad Shah told AFP yesterday. “Students from all the private schools came out to protest.” – AFP