KARACHI: The first Afro-Pakistani lawmaker has urged parents to ensure their daughters get an education, saying that without educated girls there can be no progress.
“Please educate your daughters: This is my message to parents,” Tanzeela Qambrani, told Arab News. “There is no progress without education and empowering women, who make up more than 50 percent of the population.”
Qambrani, a resident of Matli in Badin district in Sindh province, who is also known as Tanzeela Sheedi, has been elected as member of the provincial assembly Sindh on the reserved seats of Pakistan People’s Party. She will be sworn in on Monday during the first session of new assembly.
After obtaining a master’s degree in computer sciences from University of Sindh, Jamshoro, she joined the Pakistan People’s Party in 2010.
“I have been involved in social and community work for the past 12 years,” she said. “Until and unless the women are made economically independent, strong and empowered, and they start contributing to the family finances, they will not be part of the decision-making,” Qambrani said, vowing that she will strive for the economic independence for Sindh and Sheedi women.
“It’s my responsibility to create the space for other women which I am now enjoying. It’s my firm belief that there are more educated and competent women than me, but since they couldn’t get the space to grow, they lagged behind.” She said that these women will need to be mainstreamed through education and skill development programs.
“Since the party has given me this platform, I will use it for making women aware and skillful more effectively so that their economic dependency on others may end,” she said.
“I will also serve my Sheedi community to bring them on a par with other prosperous communities,” she pledged.
Sheedis attach hopes
Around 50,000 members of the Afro-Pakistani community live in Pakistan, majority in Sindh province. They are famous worldwide for the rituals they perform during the famous Sheedi festival at the shrine of Manghopir in Karachi.
Members of the community welcomed the news that the first woman from the Sheedi community has become a legislator.
“We have got our voice which will be heard at the legislature,” said Ghulam Abbas Sheedi, a community leader from Manghopir. “We will go to Matli to felicitate our daughter, who has made us proud,” she said.
“Our community is spread in parts of Sindh and Balochistan, however our sister from Badin made us proud by getting an important position,” said Majid Sheedi. “We will be heard and our issues will be resolved,” he added.