When Malala Yousafzai first came to Pakistan five years ago after being shot dead by the Taliban, emotions returned – and tears as well.
The 20-year-old Nobel laureate returned Thursday for a four-day visit. She told an audience at the Prime Minister's office how she longed to be back in Islamabad or Karachi while promoting her message of educating girls around the world.
"I've always dreamed for the past five years. I can come to my country whenever I travel abroad," she said, applauding. "Finally I am here."
When reality arrived for Yousafzai, her normally self-assured serenity vanished. Her lip trembled and she put her hands over her face to hide the tears.
But the dust that defined Yousafzai soon returned. She took a deep breath, wiping away her tears and continuing to speak.
Accompanied by her parents, Yousafzai landed in Pakistan shortly before sunrise, flanked by heavy security. Her arrival was accompanied by secrecy and details of her visit, which is expected to take until Monday.
In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin who jumped into her school bus and shouted, "Who is? Malala?" She was targeted in the home of Mingora in the Swat Valley.
Since their assault and recovery, Yousafzai has led the Malala Fund, which has invested $ 6 million in schools and provided books and uniforms for school children. She became the youngest person to receive the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Her first meeting in Pakistan was with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. While no one said whether she or Abbasi initiated her brief return, the government extolled her as a sign that the violent militancy was being defeated in the Islamic nation.
Abbasi praised Yousafzai for her victims and her activism. He said he was happy to welcome home, where he said, "Terrorism has been eliminated," a line repeated by Islamabad despite stubborn militant attacks in the country.
Yousafzai's native Swat Valley still sees occasional attacks, although the military has largely recovered peace since the reconquest of the area. In February, a suicide bombing killed 11 soldiers and underscored the remaining threat.
A new school, funded by the Malala Fund, is scheduled to be inaugurated in the area, and there were questions about whether to visit Mingora, but security officials and residents say it is unlikely.
When the news of Yousafzai's arrival in Islamabad came, many Pakistanis said they would welcome them.
Mohammad Hassan, one of her cousins in Mingora, said this was one of the happiest days of his life. He said the school children in the city cheered and wanted to greet them.
Javeria Khan, a 12-year-old from Mingora, said she wished she could see her in Swat.
"I wish she had come here, but we welcome her," she said.
Marvi Memon, a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Party, described her return as a "proud day" for the country.
"What an incredible surprise I woke up this morning" knowing that Yousafzai is back with her parents, "Memon said.
Social media contributions greeted them, many took advantage of the affectionate" child, "when She referred to Yousafzai, who is now a student in Oxford.
Yousafzai was only 14 when she was shot but was already known for promoting education, and two of her classmates were also injured The garrison town of Rawalpindi was flown before being flown to Birmingham in England.
Pakistani authorities say they have captured several suspects in the attack, but the head of the Taliban in Pakistan, Mullah Fazlullah, is still on the  Yousafzai has always been pleased to tell the Taliban that they have reinforced their voices around the world instead of silencing them.
After Since then, Yousafzai has written a book. She was spoken to the United Nations, met with refugees and enchanted the world with her eloquence and her tireless support for education for girls.
When she was awarded the Nobel Prize together with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, she said, "Education is one of the blessings of life and one of its necessities."
However, she has drawn criticism from some in Pakistan as a Western mouthpiece, with some even hinted that her horns were being staged. Yousafzai has repeatedly responded to the criticism with a grace that far surpasses their years and often says that education is not just for the Westerners.
Yousafzai campaigned for Pakistan and often spoke in her mother tongue Pashto and promised to return home again and again.
On March 23, when her homeland celebrated Pakistan Day, Yousafzai tweeted, "I have fond memories of being at home, playing cricket on rooftops, singing the national anthem at school, Happy Pakistan Day!"