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Malala Broke Down In Tears After She Returned Home To Pakistan For The First Time Since She Was Shot

It was the first time the Nobel Prize winner had returned to the country since moving to the UK.

Posted on March 29, 2018, at 8:51 a.m. ET

Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai returned to Pakistan this week for the first time since she was attacked there in 2012.

Edgard Garrido / Reuters

Yousafzai was attacked by Taliban militants trying to stop her from attending school. Her attempted murder propelled her to worldwide recognition. Afterward, she and her family eventually settled in the UK, where she completed her secondary education, and won a place at Oxford.

The 20-year-old's visit has been wrapped in secrecy over fears for her safety. But images and clips emerged Friday of her meeting with Pakistan's prime minister and her speech afterward.

Still can’t believe to be back in Pakistan, #Malala breaks down in tears in homecoming speech #MalalaYousafzai #MalalaInPakistan #MalalaComesHome

“I still can’t believe that it is actually happening,” she said in her speech. “In the last five years, I have always dreamed of coming back to my country.”

When the crowd burst into spontaneous applause, Yousafzai began to cry.

“I don’t normally cry… I’m still 20 years old, but I’ve seen so many things in life,” she told the crowd.

Oh Brave Brave @Malala You made us cry. 😢 You are Pride of Pakistan 🇵🇰and your cause is bigger. Your country, your people are with you. Stay Blessed #MalalaYousafzai @MalalaFund @ZiauddinY

She continued, switching between Urdu and Pashto, "If it was my call, I would never have left my country. The doctors performed surgery on me and saved my life. But then for further treatment I had to go out and continue my education there."

"But it was always my dream that I return to Pakistan," she said. "And I want to be able to move freely in the streets and meet and talk to people peacefully, without any fear. And [I hope that] it will be like my old home ─ just as it was."

"So it's actually heartening, and I am grateful to all of you," she said, according to one of Pakistan's largest newspapers, Dawn.

"I still can't believe I am here. Perhaps if I spend more time here [it will sink in]... It is literally a dream," she said.

This made me cry so so much! @Malala you are the most incredible, so strong! Your humility is so infectious. #Pakistan is so lucky, to have a lover like you.

Oh God, this made me cry! So much love and respect for @Malala! #MalalaComesHome

Oh I am about to cry. This girl has gone through so much pain. Malala we are proud of you. 😘

Watching Malala wipe away tears made me cry 😭 ♥ ♥ ♥ #MalalaYousafzai

People loved having her back in Pakistan, and celebrated with the hashtag #MalalaComesHome.

I hope that my baby girl learns to be as articulate, as courageous as @Malala So glad she’s back home where she belongs #MalalaYousafzai #Malalacomeshome

Welcome home our @Malala ❤️❤️ and @ZiauddinY Your courage, your heart, your work is much bigger than your haters. Pakistan owns you we own you. Pakistan’s military providing you security and civil government honouring you, you deserve this our hero 👍 #MalalaComesHome

I dare you to watch this till the end with dry eyes😭 #MalalaComesHome #MalalaInPakistan #MalalaYousafzai #WelcomeMalala @BakhtawarBZ @AseefaBZ @NDaultana

Welcome home daughter of Pakistan #MalalaComesHome

Not everyone has been positive about Yousafzai's return. She is a controversial figure in Pakistan.

The most disgusting and sad part of my job. And the flood seems to keep coming from the same sources in same tone and using same language. Mostly out of ignorance.

Her family's decision to move to Britain following the attempted assassination has been criticized by some.

Yousafzai's warm reception over the years by many in the West — she's met with US presidents, and most recently been interviewed by David Letterman on his new Netflix show — is another point of suspicion for some in Pakistan, who claim she is a CIA plant.

But for the most part, people were overwhelmed that she had managed to finally come home.

Today Malala haters can burn. Our girl has come home. #MalalaComesHome

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.