PESHAWAR: Eminent tribal political and social activist Sakina Rehman, hailing from Baizai area of Mohmand Agency, says she came from a place which has no girls school even in the 21st century.
In an interview with TNN, Sakina Rehman said like other villages in Fata, the male members go for work and the females stay inside home.
“My father also used to work in Peshawar, but he was an educated person and had vast thinking, therefore, he not only educated his daughters, but sisters and female cousins as well,” Sakina said.
She said she was taken to Peshawar by her father due to lack of any girls’ school in her village in Mohmand Agency.
“Many people ditched my father for bringing me to Peshawar and educating me despite a very conservative environment back in our village. It is only because of my father that I managed to complete my education,” she said.
Sakina said her father used to take her to village during vacations. She said she got a diploma of medical technician after completing intermediate education. She said it was a difficult time for the Fata people as law and order situation was not good due to militancy and many people were shifting to Peshawar.
“It was again my father who helped me step into political arena. I contested election for general councillor seat in 2003 and remained successful. I initiated efforts for girls’ schools and basic health centres in my area, but could not achieve success due to lack of funds. I am an ordinary activist of Bacha Khan’s party and I take pride in being a Khudai Khidmatgar,” she said.
Sakina said she arranged over 400 Jirgas under ‘Aitbar’ programme with the help of male organisers. Besides, she also arranged over 40 Jirgas on her own. As result of these jirga, he said the girls expelled from their homes or those who faced threats of divorce have been sent back to their homes amicably with the help of the Jirgas. The story did not end there, as Sakina is now associated with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) ‘Qabaili Khor’ as general secretary. Whenever there is any discussion about the rights of Fata people, Sakina makes her presence felt.
Like most of the Fata people, Sakina also supports merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She believes that the merger will pave the way for tribal men and women to come to the legislative assemblies and work for development of their areas.
She said the well off people utilise the education and health facilities in Peshawar, but the poor people had no options. “The children of the poor people spend the day while working in the fields or playing here and there and their future prospects are not very encouraging,” she said and demanded of the government to build government schools and health centres in Baizai.