Tribal women under the banner of Takra Qabaili Khwendey (TQK) (Brave Tribal Women) have launched a struggle for the rights of neglected tribal women. They want immediate merger of the federally administered tribal areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a say of tribal women in the decision-making process.
Samina Afridi is among the founding members of the TQK, a newly formed organisation. She speaks to TNS about the aims and objectives of the body.
She says, the TQK was formed with the aim to provide a joint platform to tribal women to raise a collective voice for their rights in an effective manner, and provide representation to tribal women.
“Most men in the tribal areas are unable to enjoy basic human and fundamental rights but the condition of women is worse.” Tribal women are not considered and treated as humans”.
Samina hails from Khyber Agency and is the elected member of the steering committee of the organisation. She was one of the six founding members who had gathered to form the organisation for tribal women.
She is a lecturer in the Philosophy Department of the Peshawar University and an active member of the Shaheed Bhutto Foundation. She had earlier formed Fata Women Reforms Council. She had, for the first time, raised the slogan that the mainstreaming of Fata should not be confined to men only, women should also be given due share in the process.
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“Our voice may not be very strong but we have launched the movement and will continue our efforts for Fata merger with KP, reforms in the tribal areas, and creating awareness among tribal women for their rights,” she says.
“The organisation has now been extended to every agency and the frontier region and women from all the agencies are becoming its members,” she informed.
Samina recalls that they were only six women when they established a platform for women with the cooperation of the chairperson of Khwendo Kor, Maryam Bibi in 2012. It was an effort to launch a movement for tribal women.
“Now we have succeeded to elect a tribal woman as focal person at every tribal agency. We want to work at the grassroot level and bring forward true representatives of the community where women are not given basic rights. The basic purpose of the TQK is to give voice to the voiceless women,” she adds.
She has been representing tribal women at many platforms, including Parliament’s Human Rights committees and raised problems of the women who became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Samina says her organisation also supports and works for tribal men and participates in every protest processions and conferences.
Recently, a six-member steering committee, comprising Maryam Bibi, Aaisha Hasan, Muntazir Afridi, Samina Afridi, Safia Orakzai and Rakhshanda Naz, has been elected.
Aaisha Hasan, who comes from Mohmand Agency, says that working for tribal women is an extremely difficult job but now the TQK has 350 members in every tribal agency. She says women will not allow anyone to usurp their rights.