Maria Toorpakai, Icon of Peace

imagesBy Jamshed Khan

BANNU: Maria Toorpakai Wazir was born in South Waziristan, Fata the so called “No Go Areas”, in a Pashtun family. Now days she is Pakistan’s top squash player ranked number 1 in Pakistan and 62nd at world level. She has recently defeated World Number 34, South Africa’s Siyoli Waters, to lift the trophy at the second Bahria Town International Women’s Squash Championship. But the journey to the top was not easy for Maria, who had to disguise herself as a boy to be able to play sports in conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

During her career she has received threats from the Taliban and for some times she stopped playing but later moved to Peshawar the Provincial capital of KPK. Despite such hurdles she has achieved great victories but she has never been encouraged by the government of Pakistan. In an interview to Dawn she has lamented “I have won laurels for my country but the government has never celebrated my achievements. People from the tribal areas are denied rights and only talked about in the context of militancy. When there is a positive story from these areas, it is just forgotten about”.

THE PASHTUN TIMES MONITORING

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