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First African woman to become MPA in Pakistan

24th Aug 2018
First African woman to become MPA in Pakistan

Aqila Mumthaz

The Pakistani ethnic African community, also known as the Sheedis or Sidis, celebrated the first-ever nomination of an African woman to have a seat at in a regional parliament in Pakistan.

The newly appointed Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA), Tanzeela Qambrani, 39, is a mother of three, from Badin, Sindh, and has already had experience in political office as a local councillor.

Qambrani, nominated by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was overwhelmed at the ceremony. She said she felt an emotional connection with Nelson Mandela. She feels “highly responsible, especially for women and my community, at large. I feel happy about this achievement but responsible at the same time.”

She hopes to further women empowerment while working for the educational sector, as well as provide access to clean drinking water. “My vision, my ideology rests in working to provide educational opportunities to women as well as children who cannot afford it”, she said.

Qambrani, whose ancestors came to Sindh from Tanzania, believes the PPP gives the opportunity to minorities, women and the oppressed. Her nomination puts the Sidis back on the map; the almost forgotten minority was brought to Pakistan by the Portuguese and Arab slavers and faced prejudice and discrimination due to differences in physical and cultural differences.

Being the first Sindi to be sworn in creates high expectations of her and what comes with this is a heightened sense of responsibility. Qambrani hopes as a lawmaker she will bring more respect to her community.

[Pakistan map from the CIA fact book/Public Domain]

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