Being one of the finest examples of empowered women in Pakistan, Rawalpindi’s Zahida Kazmi is a role model for all women around the world. Hailed as Pakistan’s first female taxi driver and a local legend, Kazmi, 60, has seen her four daughters doing graduation in different disciplines.
After her husband had died, Kazmi decided in 1992 to take her fate into her own hands by hitting the roads of the city. Then, she bought a yellow cab on easy installment through a government’s initiated employment scheme of 1987. Now, she drives her cab from the crowded markets of Islamabad to the remote tribal areas.
Twice widowed and having jumped onto the roads to earn livelihood for her family, the 33-year-old widow knew it was a male-dominated society. Initially, she wore a burqa and carried a gun while taking her passengers to their destinations. However, with the passage of time, her fears wore off and she gradually grew feisty and street-wise.
Her passengers always accorded her great courtesy during the commute. As she proved herself, the yellow cab association picked her as their chairperson. Faced with physical and age limitations and suffering from diabetes, she has limited her driving activity to schoolchildren transport.
Trying to improve her financial condition, Kazmi has proved that woman can do anything she sets her mind to regardless of how bad the situation might be or how discouraging the society might appear.
The local people and traffic police call’ Madam Kazmi’, and Kazmi is all praise for the people. Having shouldered the responsibilities of all She has only one daughter – class 9 student – Zahra, for whom she needs to earn at least 9,000 every month.
But, it seems the elderly ‘Madam Kazmi’ is losing her hope and courage bit by bit grappling with diabetes. The government needs to help her financially and support the family so that her dreams for her youngest daughter come true.