Tanzeela Qambrani: First Sheedi woman to become member of Sindh Assembly
KARACHI: The elections 2018 concluded with some historic representations from minority groups in the assemblies. In one such case, a woman belonging to Sheedi ethnic group has become first such female to make her way into the Sindh Assembly.
Tanzeela Qambrani belongs to Pakistan People’s Party and has been elected on reserved seat for women on the PPP ticket.
The PPP had previously nominated her to head the municipal committee in Matli in Badin district, which, was opposed by some influential group in the district. A PPP member with a clout in the area went against the party decision and competed for the chairman’s post as an independent member. He got support of some other members and got elected eventually.
Tanzeela’s father was a lawyer and mother got retired as a school headmistress.
In an interview with a local daily, Tanzeela said getting a Sheedi elected was a bold step that required courage and praised Bilawal Bhutto, the son of late Benazir Bhutto for taking such a ‘courageous step’.
Sheedis are the descendants of Africans who brought to the shores of the subcontinent centuries ago. They rose to lofty positions as generals and leaders during the Mughal Empire, which ruled swathes of South Asia.
But, actively discriminated against during British rule, their traditions began to fade, and they found themselves wholly shunned when Pakistan was created in 1947, absent from the country’s elite political circles.
AFP reports that the figures are scant but it is generally accepted that Pakistan holds the highest number of Sheedis on the subcontinent, upwards of around 50,000 people.
But their history has been scantily written, making it difficult if not impossible for Sheedis — including even those like Akbar whose ancestors arrived in Pakistan relatively recently — to trace their antecedents.