Center for Research and Security Studies
Series: Da Aman Awaz
Topic: politics and Pashtoon women
Guest Tabassum younas Katozai, MPA and writer
Field story #1: Inam Ullah Khan
Field story #2: Afzal khan Mohmand.
Anchor Person: Shazma Haleem.
“it is certainly a wrong notion that women in Pashtoon society are backward and face discrimination. In fact they receive enormous respect from the people and draw special concessions. It is the need of the time that they receive education at par with the males to become successful members of our society like Tabassum Younas katozai. Political field is wide open for women and they can serve their people well. The secret to success is not gender but sheer hard work and strong determination. The enemies of Pashtoons have tried hard to push us further back but the Pashtoons will rise again and our women have a vital role to play in this renaissance.”
Shazma Halem : A very warm welcome dear listeners. As you know we invite worthy and successful local people in this segment. In our society young Pashtoons ladies are doing wonder in many fields. Today we have invited a very talented, pragmatic and educated political personality. We hope to get inspiration for our young Pashtoon ladies from her life and experience. So please first of all tell us about your life so far.
Tabassum : I was born in a political family. I belong to a feudal family and my forefathers had been in active politics since long. So I inherited politics. I was mostly inspired by my father and his all out efforts round the clock to serve his people. I belong to a backward area but fortunately the people were good enough to encourage girls’ education.
Shazma Haleem : it means that you had no restrictions to get education?
Tabassum : I got married at an early age when I was just in second year of intermediate. But again I was lucky to find a husband who was pragmatic and really helped me get further education. So I got regular higher education after wedding.
Shazma Haleem : Most of our people show narrow mindedness when we talk about women. You belong to a backward area as well. How were you able to lead such a successful life?
Tabassum : for all these achievements I am really thankful to my native people who always extended great support to me. It is right that my people were backward but they were not narrow minded. Our society at large gives tremendous respect to women. In every office and field we are given priority. We are never forced to stand in long queues. We are not abused and molested in public. So it is good to live among the Pashtoons as a woman. To lead a successful life, the first requisite is firm commitment. Support of one’s family is also very much essential. But above all it is the strong determination which can make you a successful woman.
Shazma Haleem : We are reserved people as for as participation of women is concerned in politics. But fortunately there are strong women like you in politics now. Do you think that in the next election many more young females will participate in the elections?
Tabassum : Luckily I belong to a political party which is a strong supporter of women participation. Our great leader Bacha Khan baba made no distinction in the education and participation of males or females. He gave equal education to his Daughters. Similarly Begum Naseem Wali Khan joined active politics when male politician dared not to come to the field. There is great opportunity for female participation in ANP. I myself was surprised to find out that too many of women activists have applied for party tickets for the coming elections.
Shazma Haleem : every day we witness so much pain and destruction being committed against our people. Girl schools are demolished and blown. How much pain do you feel?
Tabassum : other nations in the world perceive us as backward and retarded. But I want to remind all of them that a nation raises like a sphinx after such hard times and I am sure we will rise again as a successful nation. The recent example of Malala Yousafzai is before us who stood against the evil forces for female education. Many more like her are on the rise and we are now united like a nation. Our miseries have brought us together. All humans have to face death one day so why fear death then. One’s own cause and commitment is important. Our leaders have shown us the path. The age of darkness will end and light is coming.
Shazma Haleem: You might have also observed that the behavior of our youth has not changed for good. They are not serving the aspirations of our nation. What do you think?
Tabassum : a very good question indeed. I want to remind them that as a nation we have suffered a lot but our enemies have not succeeded in their vicious design. Now we have a great opportunity after the promulgation of 18th amendment. Our province will develop now. We have started mega projects in the field of education. We are self reliance now. We have abundance of natural resources and it’s time to utilize all these resources for the good of our people. I am very much optimistic about the future. The day is not far away when this reign of violence and terror will end.
Shazma Haleem: You are right that there are excess of our youth who have risen in life through sheer hard work and determination. We have a report about such a person who rose to the status of district president of a party from being a poor tailor.
REPORT; Inam Ullah Khan, kohat.
Humayun Pehlawan is a tailor by profession in Kohat. He is a very famous person now and has been elected as the District president of a famous political party. He expressed his views about himself as ….. “I didn’t know that I will become so influential one day as to compete with a rival who is a billionaire as compared to me. My friends and co workers have compelled me to contest and they fully support me.”Humayun belongs to a poor family. He was spirited from childhood for social works and latter on joined politics. He has become the president through sheer hard work and commitment. He explains his future plans in these words… “If money is not the foundation for elections, I can compete and win against any rival. I am accustomed to hard work and can move by leaps and bounds. I cannot contest elections all by myself but if the party grants me the ticket then I will work for my people.” Humayun had three little kids and leads a hard life like other poor people in our country. He told us about his career…. “ I had only preliminary education in my village school and wanted to get technical education but my elder brother brought me to the market and enrolled me as an apprentice to a tailor. I used to take part in wrestling in my village and was always ready to join hands with the oppressed. I had gathered a group of youngsters with me and would often raised voice against all oppression. I became very popular as a social worker because I was ever ready to help the needy despite the fact that I was a poor man and had to sacrifice my money and time. Now I have become the voice of the poor and depressed of this district. The fight of my party is against the outdated system. I appeal to all the people to join hands with Pakistan Tehrek e Insaf in the fight against this depleted system and to bring peace, harmony and justice to our beloved country.”
Caller : : Amjid Khan from Kohat; I just want to ask the worthy guest that as common people we are away from politics and do not know much about it. You are a part of the political system. Can you tell us as if there are any problems for female politicians in our male dominated political system?
Tabassum : we are lucky that there are no wings for male and female in our party. We have several female MPs like Khursheed Begum from Kohat. She has faced real life threats and also came under firing. But she is not deterred and has again applied for party ticket. So I want to assure all my listeners that there is so much respect in politics.
Shazma Haleem : At present ANP is targeted the most. Do you feel any fear to move around or take part in active politics?
Tabassum : Politics is not a business but a commitment. If one has the determination to work according to his vision then he needs not fear anything. I lead a normal life and had never feared while moving around. I take great inspiration from my party leaders who have shown great resilience against all opposition. We have lost a leader like Basheer Bilour and several others but it has not deterred us. In fact we are now more resolute to work for our people and motherland. I personally consider it a great pride to lay your life for your motherland and we have numerous such sacrifices at our credit.
Shazma Haleem: one feels great pity when schools for girls are destroyed to push them further backward. How much have done for the uplift of women in your constituency?
Tabassum: As I told you earlier that there is no discrimination of males and females in our party. So no special funds are available on the basis of gender of an MP. Our province has not enough monitory resources but even then out of the available resources I have tried my best to do much for the women in my area. I have set up several handicrafts centers in Katozia area for women. We have also established Bach Khan Vocational Center there. Our government had also decided to establish seven special centers for developing skills and vocational carters in the province. One such center is being established in my area. It is the most beneficial center for women in our province. These centers will provide transport facility to the trainees and important skills are inculcated. It even provides hostel facility to those women who come from far flung areas. All this is free of cast and will greatly work for the uplift of women.
Shazma Haleem: Poverty is the primary concern of our masses. People need to be provided with free education and necessary skills. What has your government done for this?
Tabassum; You know our present state of affairs. There is widespread violence and meager resources in our province. But in spite of all this our government has done much to provide free education to our children. Of course we could not do it for all of our people but in several places we have even extended monthly support to the poor children beside free education.
Shazma Haleem : our youth is not behind any nation in respect of talent and deeds. We have a wonderful report about a young poet who has shown his extraordinary talent at a very early age when he got published his poetry book. Let us learn more about him in this report.
REPORT ; Afzal khan Mohmand :
“The Pashtoons will rise once again if only they overcome their prejudices and differences. If ignorance and misunderstanding is removed from their society, the Pashtoons will once again be the proud Pashtoon of 25 years back “These thoughtful expressions were uttered by a young Pashtoon lad of just 16 years of age and who is an excellent poet from Mardan. His name is Hassan Khilji. He was born in 1997 and is a metric class student at present. A few days ago his collection of poetics works was inaugurated in the town hall of mardan with the title “Ware Salgai” when asked about such a naïve title he said… “There are several reasons for it. As everyone can see, the Pashtoons are hard pressed from all directions. And as you know when man is in great pains he either chooses to shed tears or express his pain in poetry. So I have chosen to express my deep sorrow at the plight of my nation in the form of poetry.” He is not of age yet and faces several problems and restrictions from his family. He said about this fact… “I do face opposition from my parents because they don’t allow me to attend gathering of older people but I had to express my feeling one way or the other. The pain and sorrow is burning inside me and can only be felt by a poet only. So I wanted to convey my message so I chose poetry.”
It is well said that poets are not made but are born. Hussain Ahmad Sadiq, a poet, says about this young poet that ‘he possesses the beauty of youth and maturity in his poetry. He is a young lad with great fire inside him. He is so fluent and his poetry has lucidity of thought and smooth flow of powerful emotions. He has sublimity of thought and good selection of diction.’ Some of his verses seem above his age like when he says “Pashtoons are downcast and mutilated, they need reawakening and resurrection.” The famous Pashto poet Humayun Huma says about him that ‘he will get polished and refined with the passage of time. He possesses all the necessary skills and requisites of a poet.’ Hassan Khalji expressed his contentions in these words. :” I want to bring revolution for Pashtoons through my words. In history revolutions are caused either by word or rhetoric and I want to do the same for my people.”
Shazma Haleem : you heard the report about Hassan Khilji. What is your opinion?
Tabassum : A wonderful talent is there in our youth. Our youth has matured before their time because of special circumstances. Our youth is so emotional and need to be directed in the proper direction to utilize their great talent.
Shazma Haleem : in the present day atmosphere of violence and terror, is your family worried when you go out of your home?
Tabassum : all of my family members are like me. If I am fearless then they are as well. It is our land and we have to serve it in every situation. Once I was advised not to send my two kids to a public school because of security reason but I declined on the ground that if other kids can go mine can go as well.
Caller : I am mukamil Shah from Peshawar. I want to share my views about the great Pashto traditions. Our parents used to tell us stories about our relatives and ancestors. Now Pashto, being neglected in education system, our children are also forgetting about such wonderful relations. Our parental relations are weakened by this. What is your government doing for the revival of Pashto?
Tabassum : I really want to assure you that the present government is of Pashtoon and for the Pashtoons. Recently our government has declared that education should be imparted in mother tongue. It is a vital step for the revival of Pashto culture. We have done more than enough for what you are referring to.
Shazma Haleem : it is well said that united we stand, divided we fall. We can be successful if we are united and go hand in hand towards our destination. What message would you like to convey to our listeners?
Tabassum : I just want to share my view that look , our enemy has tried hard to weaken us from every possible quarters. They have destroyed our schools and institutions to discourage our women. But we have shown adamant resolution to come out of this present situation. Our leaders are leading us fearlessly and have shown us the path. I request all mothers to please send your daughters to schools. Nobody can weaken us we are a strong nation.
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