Muniba Mazari is lovingly referred to as the Iron Lady of Pakistan. And for all the right reasons. Taking to social media, Noreen Shams (Pakistani squash athlete) wrote, “I am 20 years old today. So were you yesterday. Your life changed a year after 20 and my life changed when I was just 11. Though I never knew you while growing up. When I started knowing you I saw my older self in you. Chasing my dreams and making my ways through every possible way I could. I saw it in you and I could feel that energy. “DAMN THAT IS SOME,” said I every time I saw you. You do not drag yourself only but others too on the road to success. You were boundless. You reminded me of my eldest sister who broke all the norms and made ways riding in her wheelchair and making ways for others. “DAMN SHE IS SO LIKE SAIRA,” said I every time I saw you doing that.”
“Today you reminded me of the biggest inspiration I have in my life. My mother! How? 38 and became a widow. Offered to remarry but never did because of her kids. Who never went to school yet stood up to tackle the whole business of my late father. Bashed every man who came up in her way. She did stand up for her kids. Fed poor equally with her kids. Educated herself and her kids. She was called names for doing so. She is the strongest lady I have ever seen. Today when I saw you standing up with so much patience and courage against these mocking people I actually said: “DAMN THAT IS SO LIKE AMMI”. Muniba Baji you are three women in one body. The strength of four women equally. You think you will surrender? At least I believe those three women within you will never let you down. STAY THE STRONGEST BECAUSE YOU ARE!”
She went on to add, “This society is so brave and intelligent to detect who is lying BUT yet so coward not to stand up when a woman is paraded naked in the bazaar for one hour. They are so brave to use their power of words against the innocent man you didn’t mention the name of yet so silent when kids are raped in masoor. They didn’t leave Bibi Ayesha then what are you and what am I to then.”
Pakistan’s ‘ Iron Lady ’ Muniba Mazari writes a touching Facebook post replying to criticism
“To all of my followers, critics and supporters alike, If you’re reading this and you are married and happy, I wish nothing but a blissful happily ever after for you. Remember that every marriage goes through its ups and down, but as long as you hold on to respect each other, no mountain is too high and no storm is too great. May your beautiful relationship continue to shade each other and all the loved ones around you.
“If you’re reading this and you are married but unhappy and struggling, then know that I am sending all of my love and prayers your way. Remember that you are not alone, that this too is only a phase of your life and like all other phases, this too shall pass. 5 years ago, I was where you are today. My PTV interview circulating around social media is from that time. It is emotionally exhausting to try and make a marriage work, to make sure you don’t wash your dirty laundry in public, to do the best in your power for your child, struggle with the insecurities of what the future may hold all the while maintaining the façade of a perfect marriage. I pray that when this phase is over for you, you too are judged, but unlike me, you are judged for all the right reasons. You are judged for being gracious, for giving your utmost to make the marriage work, and for putting your best foot forward despite screaming in agony on the inside. The relationship of marriage is worth the struggle and I pray yours is rewarded with nothing but positivity. No matter what the outcome, always remember that in this time of struggle, you are not alone.”
She went on to add, “If you’re reading this and you are divorced and a single parent, then know that it may seem bleak and impossible to comprehend right now, but the worst is over. You cannot start healing until the problem festering in your heart is dealt with. And though divorce is perhaps the most painful way to handle the problems of your heart (or your life), it in no way means you have failed your children, your family and most importantly, yourself. Perhaps your win will come in the form that you will not be going through the day in day out the anguish of feeling disrespected. Your win will come through knowing that you can now live your dreams without an anchor weighing you down. Your win will come through when see your children grow up in a house with one parent, but double the love, triple the respect and four times the happiness of not waking up in a hostile environment on a daily basis. Know that you are not alone, that I and countless others like me share your story. It’s going to be a rocky road of financial insecurities; perhaps you will suffer through custody cases of your child, just like I have been enduring for many years, having multiple people talk behind your back and label you are a disappointment, but remember that those people don’t even have the slightest idea of what this struggle is like. As hard as it may be, do not listen to them. They have not walked in your shoes. I have. And I want to tell you that it may seem impossible but yes, yes, yes, it does get better. That is my promise to you.”
Lastly, she wrote, “If you are reading this and you are divorced, a single parent, but also differently abled while being in the public eye – then please come have tea with me! I would love to meet someone who can help me understand how a paraplegic can be condemned as promiscuous, or keeping your ex-anonymous can be labeled as defamation. Life is interesting, and with every stage and every phase you learn more and evolve more. To me, this change is not hypocrisy rather it is proof of a healthy progression in life. Imagine for a moment, being stuck in your present state of mind, and present state of life for all of eternity. What a frightening thought indeed!
None of us is entitled to the intricate details of marital struggles of our cousins, our friends, our neighbors, the girl at our office, the daughter of our maid, the teacher at our school. If we cannot offer them, love, then the least we should offer is the freedom to maintain their privacy in this very personal matter. Let us be kind to one another, starting with being kind to ourselves.”
Muniba Mazari you are our pride and we will always support you. Just remember “Truth is mighty and will always prevail”. More power to you, our Iron Lady!