Woman Rising Up

Apr 2013

English | اردو

Badam ZariWomen in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas have been inspired by Badam Zari, the female candidate from FATA who is poised to contest elections, marking a potential sea change for women in this region. Zari, who is standing for elections from Bajaur Agency is admired for her courage, spirit and strength. Some are coming to regard her as an invigorating character in the battle for women’s rights.

A student at the University of Peshawar, Madiha Afridi, who is also part of the FATA Youth Assembly, an organization of young Pakistanis from the Tribal Areas, considers Zari’s entry into politics as opening up prospects for women. Given the worsening security situation in FATA, the participation and campaigning by a female candidate is no small task—and one that’s likely to inspire other women.

Afridi also observed that as a female, Zari was far better placed to understand the health and education issues plaguing women in the area. She hoped that Zari would be able to enter the political arena and resolve such issues.

Another activist for women’s rights in the area, Sana Ijaz, welcomed Zari’s candidacy, saying that she hoped it would show how capable women are and their ability to work for the welfare of the people and deliver revolutionary policies for the progress and prosperity of the Tribal Areas.

While speaking to the media, Zari said that her first priority is to enforce the rights of the women from FATA and to resolve their problems which include proper drinking water, basic health services and most importantly, the extension of education to women. Zari, who til now, was a housewife, only has a secondary education, and her husband is a teacher at a local school.

One of Zari’s principle critics is former MNA, Akhwanzada Chitaan, against whom she will be contesting. Chitaan has declared that Zari’s entry into the political sphere violates tribal traditions in an underhanded attempt to decrease Zari’s fame and vote bank.

Although such detractors exist, most people from her area appear to be happy with her decision and are cooperating with her.

(Initial translation by Anum Naz.)

Rahat Shinwari is a journalist based in Khyber Agency.

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One Response to Woman Rising Up

  1. Faiz Khalil on Apr 2013 at 2:44 AM

    Very good article…Rahat Shinwari has described the election of Ms. Zari in an eloquent manner. Ms. Zari ‘s entry into politics in this traditionally very conservative area is a sign of how women are now increasingly feel that their due rights have been neglected for so long and now it is time to initiate struggle for such due rights…

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