Power of good: Pakistani father trains daughters to be electricians in Karachi

Javeriah Jamal at work in their father Naseeb Jamal’s shop in Qasba colony, Karachi. (AP)
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Updated 01 October 2020

Power of good: Pakistani father trains daughters to be electricians in Karachi

  • Naseeb Jamal: If girls are to believe in themselves, they should not be confined to the home

KARACHI: At a small shop in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, two young girls are bent over a workstation, repairing wires and battery chargers.

Despite all odds, Naseeb Jamal, an electrician for 20 years, has taught six of his eight daughters his craft to help them become self-reliant in the future.  

“When I had four daughters, it came to my mind: Why shouldn’t I give them an education?” Jamal, who moved to Karachi from the Tor Ghar area in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told Arab News. 

“I couldn’t give them that chance due to a shortage of financial resources, but I thought at least I could teach them skills.”

While two of Jamal’s younger daughters are still learning, four are already adept electricians and their father’s pride. 

“My daughters are making a name for themselves in society and for women in Pakistan,” he said. 

Jamal lives with his family near the spot where gunmen killed Abdul Waheed Khan, a social worker who ran a coeducational school in Qasba Colony, in 2013. Khan dreamed of bringing modern education to the slums of Karachi, whose many inhabitants, like Jamal, migrated there from northern Pakistan to escape militant violence and look for better job opportunities.

Those who challenge social taboos face opposition and receive little support, Jamal said. “Waheed Khan sacrificed his life for the sake of educating our children.”

Conservative neighbors and family members have opposed his attempts to empower his daughters.

“When you give your child a skill or education, some people in the family will oppose it. But you don’t need to give heed to them,” he said.

As a father, Jamal wants to at least give his daughters the chance to stand on their own feet, he said. 

Two of them are already married and happy, he said, which he attributes in part to their empowering upbringing. “I will oversee the future of my children. I will give them skills and make them useful for the country and for themselves. It will give them confidence and make them stronger.”

The girls, who attended regular school before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic shut down campuses across Pakistan, also help Jamal run his business.

“I do solar lamp installations, and when I am out of home or out of city, I don’t have to worry about the shop,” he said. “After coming back from school, they open the shop and even if I am away for three days, they take care of it, as well as the home.”

One of Jamal’s younger daughters, 10-year-old Javeriah, said she found the work “a little difficult” at first but has since gotten the hang of it. 

“I learned it from my father,” she said with a smile as she handed a repaired battery charger to a customer. “I fix lights, I fix speakers, and I can fix battery chargers.”

Jamal believes that girls should not be kept confined to their homes: “If you want girls to trust and believe in themselves, you have to bring them out of the home. And you have to trust them.”


Russia proposes new missile verification regime with US after demise of treaty

Updated 26 min 16 sec ago

Russia proposes new missile verification regime with US after demise of treaty

  • The United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Monday proposed that Russia and the United States agree not to deploy certain land-based missiles in Europe and introduce mutual verification measures to build trust following the demise of the INF nuclear arms control treaty.
The United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge denied by the Kremlin.
Global nuclear arms control architecture has come under further strain since then as the former Cold War foes have been unable to agree on a replacement to New START, another major arms control pact that is due to expire in February 2021.
On Monday, the Kremlin suggested “de-escalation” measures, such as allowing Russia to conduct checks on the US Aegis Ashore system in Europe, and the United States to check Russia’s 9M729 missiles in facilities in the exclave of Kaliningrad.
“We propose all interested sides to consider concrete options for mutual verification measures to remove existing concerns,” the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.
The INF pact had prohibited land-based missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.