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Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan for first time since 2012 attack

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Updated at 3:40 a.m. ET

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since Taliban militants shot her in 2012 for her advocacy of girls' education.

Malala, who is now 20, was 15 when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus in northwest Pakistan, singled her out, and shot her in the head. She was transported to the U.K. for treatment, and joined by her family, has lived there since then.

In Pakistan on Thursday, television boradcasts showed Malala and her father arriving in the lounge at Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

She left the airport in a convoy of vehicles and armed guards. She is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. She was expected to "attend a special function to mark her achievements as an activist for girls' education," Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports.

She also plans to visit Peshawar during her four-day trip.

A government official was quoted by The Telegraph as saying that her exact itinerary would be "kept secret in view of the sensitivity surrounding the visit."

At the age of 11, Malala began an anonymous blog for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban domination in her home, Swat Valley. Since her recovery, she has continued to advocate publicly for the rights of children.

In 2013, in a speech before the United Nations, she received a standing ovation.

"The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions," she said, "but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."

The following year she became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing the award with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner against exploitation of children.

Although this marks her first visit to Pakistan since she left more than five years ago, Malala has frequently championed her home country and addressed the people of her homeland in her native Pashto language, and Urdu.

Even so, as NPR's Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad, "... in Pakistan many don't like her. They accuse her of becoming famous by telling negative stories about her country. Her safety is still in question, too - she arrived in secrecy and is under heavy guard."