Malala Yousafzai has managed to achieve global recognition due to her tireless efforts to end the struggle of young women. She now travels around the world speaking out to different audiences, highlighting the need for female education, female emancipation and dignity. On one of her most recent journeys, she flew to Nigeria where she met with the families of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, following her pledge to devote her efforts towards their rescue. As photographs of Malala meeting with Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, flash across the nation’s newspapers and ignite the admiration of the Pakistani social media, perhaps it is important to remember who she really is to Pakistan. Despite her overwhelming patriotism and loyalty to the country to which she belongs, can we really lay a claim to the accomplishments of this extraordinary child? During her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, she was shunned, laden with accusations and conspiracy theories that painted her in one clean stroke as an “agent of the West,” a foreign pawn, and a theatrical tool for garnering sympathy.

It is important to draw the distinction between Malala the national symbol, and Malala the international humanist. Pakistan belongs to her, and to the countless courageous young people like her who will inherit this land. But we can lay no claim to the development of this truly global hero, because we disowned her in spirit. Her work transcends the topicalities of any one nation, any one war or any one injustice. In many ways, the national disownment freed her from Pakistan’s unforgiving gaze and judgment. As she travels to spread her international message of peace with the grace of an adult thrice her age, her country can only observe with pride and amazement, the seventeen year old girl who has survived in the throes of its deepest evil and emerged victorious. But no more, can we claim ownership of this free child of the world.