Friends and family of Malala Yousafzai expressed pride and jubilation Friday after she was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – but some in conservative Pakistan still view the campaigning teenager with suspicion. There were celebrations on the streets of her home town of Mingora, where she was shot by the Taliban in 2012, with residents greeting each other and distributing candies. "We are so proud," said Ahmad Shah, principal of the local Sarosh Academy. “I was across the street when she was shot. And I now I see this day. What a day."
Malala's father, Ziauddin, said the award would “boost the courage” of the 17-year-old and “enhance her capability to work for the cause of girls' education.” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam said: "She's the youngest recipient ever of the prize and makes us proud. Her hard work is resonant of her Pakistani roots and her selfless dedication."
Still, Malala's success as a symbol of defiance against militants who oppose education and rights for women have convinced some Pakistanis she is a Western agent intent on damaging the country’s reputation. She remains effectively exiled in Britain, unable to return to her homeland because of Taliban death threats. On Facebook, “We Hate Malala” pages have garnered thousands of likes. “It's ironic, really,” said Mehar Bokhari, 30, one of Pakistan's leading female news anchors. “She is such an inspiration for the rest of the world, yet we fail to gain any inspiration from her as a people and a nation.”
- Wajahat S. Khan and Alastair Jamieson