File Photo: Swat's activist Tabassum Adnan at Award Ceremony. Photo by Shiasta Hakim

Miss Gul Rukh

8th March is always celebrated in honour of women all over the world as a recognition of their contributions to society and is observed as a national holiday in many parts of the world.

The empowerment of women is pivotal to bring forth the hidden talent which always remains unserved because of the patriarchal society we live in.

Especially in a province like KP, where, even today, women are not allowed to study let alone have a voice of their own.

But as the clock of time is ticking by, slowly and gradually things have been changing, for the good, as women of KP are now emerging in almost every field to showcase their skills and have a recognition of their own.

This has also set the trend of women’s politics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Today we will celebrate the achievements of a couple of Pakistani females from KP, who have accomplished much to make Pakistan proud.

The names that appear are not the only ones that deserve a mention, those that have been left out are just as worthy of our admiration. In All women of Pakistan deserve recognition for their contribution to making this country and world a better place.

Among these amazing women is Sabia, a cyclist from Haripur, Hazara Division, who started training on her maternal uncle’s old bicycle inside her home as she couldn’t ride the bike outside the house because of the fear of society.


File Photo of Cyclist Miss Sabia.

In 2013, she won the National Cycling Championship surprising people including her family.

Upon seeing her determination, the Cycling Federation supported her in terms of training and Sabia is a member of the national, provincial and Army team.

Sabia not just has the support of her family now but also of her husband who support her dearly in pursuing her dreams. She has taken part in international cycling events too.

The second of these two amazing women is Tabassum Adnan, from Swat Valley, who is an activist and a humanitarian. This courageous lady did something amazing no woman has ever done in the history of the patriarchal society such as Swat.

She became the voice of the oppressed women by forming a Jirga (Council) of her own where she would solve the problems of the women who in the traditional society don’t have a say even about the matters of their own lives.

Normally women and children are never allowed in jirgas that are led by men but she broke that taboo and formed a council of her own where the unheard voices would find a way to be heard and solved.

Because of this bold step, she got many life threats from extremist forces to which she paid a deaf ear and continued serving the women in Swat.

She is famous in Pakistan as well as abroad by the name of ‘da Khwendo Jirga Mashra’ (Leader of the Women Jirga Council).

Her most striking achievement, the Women Jirga has emerged as a necessity due to the continuous violence against women in Pashtun society.

Her achievements were acknowledged by the ‘Grand Male Jirga’ and she was invited to attend the male-led jirga sessions which is a great milestone for any woman in the history of Pakistan, ever.

Apart from this, she has also raised her voice for the minorities i-e Hindus and Christians, advocating the idea of the nonviolent relationship between people from different faiths resulting in getting life threats from extremist forces. But nothing could waver her courage and faith as she continued serving women. She, indeed, is one gem of a person and the pride of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Of course, there are a lot of women whose struggles and achievements don’t get to the media as their success stories are infinite.

So salute to all those women who face all the hurdles of their lives gracefully and with a strong determination of not putting their guard down in the face of many challenges they have to encounter daily.  More power to them.

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Journalist, trainer and a media development specialist with wide experience in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province including former FATA. Areas of expertise include digital news reporting and editing,media and communications strategies, and online safety and security. Twitter: @tayyebafridi


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