SWAT - There was a predominant sense of celebration and pride in this picturesque valley that was home to Malala Yousafzai before the assassination attempt that almost took her life almost two years ago.

The region of Swat was wrested out of militants control after the military launched a military offensive in 2009, which forced the militants to flee. But terror still lurked in some corners of the valley and raised its spectre on October 9, 2012 when two armed gunmen shot Malala after she was returning home from her school.

The shooting sent shivers across the globe and was widely condemned in the country. There were, however, some voices in disagreement and last year when Malala was nominated for the peace prize, some people in the valley questioned her nomination.

But on Friday as the news of her co-winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize reverberated through the valley, most of the people expressed joy and pride, hailing the girl as the pride of the region. 

It was a day to once again own Malala Yousafzai.

The elders of the valley said, "Malala Yousafzai has proved that the people of Swat valley are peace lovers and want education, peace and they hate terrorism". Many people distributed sweets among the kids and the schools children. "It is a matter of great honour both for Swat and of course for Pakistan that Malala has become the first ever Pakistani and Pukhtun girl who has been adjudged for such a prestigious award," one elder in Swat said. Nobel Peace Prize is the latest addition to the trove of awards the young activist has collected as a result of her brave struggle for girls' education. She has been honored with a number of important prizes - the EU's Sarkharov human rights prize, the Amnesty International Ambassador of Consciousness award, the Anna Politkowvkaya award and the Pride of Britain award. The last one was given to her by David Beckham, the legendary former British football player.

People here still remember how most of the streets of the Mingora City used to be thronged with beheaded bodies during Taliban rule. Dead bodies of innocent citizens hanging with the electricity poles every day was a common sight during those days of terror. "Even the media had opted to seal its lips over this ugly situation due to the fear of the Taliban life threats", said Usman Khan, an elder of the area.

In such a grim situation, Malala raised her voice for the cause of the Swatis and she championed the cause of education by writing a diary for the BBC under the pseudonym of Gul Makai where she bravely narrated the blood-soaked saga of heinous deeds of the Taliban.

Terming Malala as 'Princess of Swat', Dost Muhammad Khan, a notable of the valley, said: "She has made us proud by winning the Noble Peace prize in a worldwide competition."

The class fellows and the schoolmates of Malala Yousafzai were also delighted on hearing the news of her winning the award and termed it pride as she belongs to their school.

"Malala not only won Peace Award but she also won hearts of millions of Pakistanis," said one of her schoolfellows. The lawyers of the valley also congratulated Malala on her achievement, terming it unparalleled and unequalled.

Swat Qaumi Jirga spokesperson, Ahmad Shah, told The Nation, "It is a great honour for Swat."

"Our Pakhtoon girl has proved at globe that the people of Swat are peace lovers and want education to serve for the nation. The entire world has also recognized this fact that the sacrifice of Swat for peace is memorable", he asserted.

Murad Saeed, the MNA form Swat, also congratulated Malala and said, "this is indeed a proud moment for my area and I feel that her recognition at globe level would encourage many other Pakistani to defy extremist mindset."