Maria Toorpakai Wazir, 25, belongs to Waziristan, an ultra-conservative tribe in Pakistan, where girls are always expected to stay indoors.
Currently at the 49th position in the World Squash Championship, she aspires to break into the top ten sometime in this year.
Her innate resolute countenance can be seen by that fact that when she was only 4 and a half years old, she rebelled by not wearing the all-covering girl’s clothes and used to fight with the boys who dare to bully her little brother and achieving in the process lots of black eyes and stitches. Her father, soon realized her combative nature and decided to advocate for Women’s rights and encouraged her to join sports. He even went as far as to tell the society that she was actually a boy and called her Chengiz Khan.
But this façade soon was revealed when she joined a sports academy in Peshawar. Not surprisingly just in 3 years she became Pakistan’s top female Squash champion and the 3rd ranked Junior in the world.
Though, she had to face uncertainties regarding her career when she started receiving death threats from the Taliban militants who propagated that it is unIslamic for girls to play sports.
Maria says that since it was becoming more difficult for her to stay in Pakistan, she had to email various Squash clubs around the world seeking asylum.
Miraculously, it was Jonathan Power, a Squash legend who first replied to her mail and invited her to come and resettle in Canada and also offered to become her coach.
She now lives and train in Toronto but has refused the offers from both Canada and Kuwait to play for their national Squash teams. Maria cites that she wants to play for her native country and inspire other women to come forward and contribute more to Pakistan’s development.
With the fiery confidence, Maria told that she and all other women has enough determination and strength to achieve their goals. She hopes to become the World Squash champion in the next two years.
Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.
The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.
The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.
The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.
No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.
The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.
“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.
The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.
A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.
The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.
Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.