Malala Yousafzai meets Pakistani PM Abbasi; itinerary kept secret

Malala was assured by the Prime Minister of government’s complete support for educational projects being pursued by her.

Malala Yousafzai meets Pakistani PM Abbasi; itinerary kept secret

Nobel peace award winner Malala Yousafzai, who returned to Pakistan six years after she was attacked by Taliban, met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad on Thursday. She was received by Abbasi himself.

According to Pakistan-based Dawn News, Malala was assured by the Prime Minister of government’s complete support for educational projects being pursued by her. Malala was also assured full security if she wanted to visit any part of the country.

A special function has been organised later on Thursday to felicitate Malala for her achievements as an activist for education of girls, reported Dawn News. The meeting between Malala and Abbasi was attended by other ministers as well.

Malala is on a four-day visit to Pakistan and her itinerary have been kept secret in the wake of security situations.

Accompanied by her parents, the 20-year-old student was escorted through Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport under tight security, according to still photographs broadcast on local television. Malala has become a global symbol for human rights and a vocal campaigner for girls' education since a gunman boarded her school bus in the Swat valley on October 9, 2012, asked "Who is Malala?" and shot her. 

She was treated for her injuries in the British city of Birmingham, where she completed her schooling. 

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

Many Pakistanis on Twitter were pleased that the campaigner had returned for the visit, despite ongoing security fears. "I welcome #MalalaYousafzai the brave and resilient daughter of Pakistan back to her country," politician Syed Ali Raza Abidi wrote on Twitter.

But she remains controversial among some conservatives at home, who view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country. One leading Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir issued a plea for opposition politicians and commentators not to use bad language when talking about the visit. "International media is highly focused on her return and this (bad language) will damage Pakistan's image," he said.

Malala began her campaigning career aged just 11, when she started writing a blog -- under a pseudonym -- for the BBC's Urdu service in 2009 about life under the Taliban in Swat, where they were banning girls' education.