Most of the news coming out of Tribal Pakistan is usually pretty sad and negative. Sometimes, one needs to also acknowledge news which shows these guys as “somewhat” normal people. Badam Zari is a lady from Bajur, part of Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The area is populated by the Pashtun tribesmen. Conservative and medieval in their mindset.
It is not far from this area that Malala was “put in place” by the Taliban. Now, Zari, a 40-year old housewife is becoming the first woman to run for the Member of the country’s parliament from that region – northwest tribal region,
In the end, it probably doesn’t matter if she wins or not. That she is indeed standing up in the elections is a BIG feat in this area where people are really living in 6th century AD. Women are mostly uneducated and confined to house chores. So in that backdrop, it is very nice to see that she is educated to High School, at least, and is stepping out of the house as well as being supported by her husband.
Zari, who finished high school and does not have any children, said she filed the paperwork necessary to run for office on Sunday in Khar, the main town in Bajur. She was accompanied by her husband, who she said fully backed her decision to run for a seat in the National Assembly.
“This was a difficult decision, but now I am determined and hopeful society will support me,” Zari said.
At least the decision to come out like this will motivate and inspire other women to stand up as well. This is a culture where women don’t usually vote. But Badam Zari is determined to change that.
Zari said she hopes she can convince women to go out to vote. Out of the roughly 186,000 registered voters in her constituency, about 67,000 are women, according to government records.
Let us see if she is able to make any dent and long term change in this one of most backward of cultures in the world.