The strength of Maheen Taseer



PHOTO: MAHEEN TASEER TWITTERThe writer is an Islamabad based reporter for The Express Tribune who is passionate about women empowerment and gender equality

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day and the achievements of strong women who give us hope for a better future, I cannot help but think of your strength! I cannot help but imagine what you’ve gone through in the past four and a half years. I cannot help but envision what nine Eids and four wedding anniversaries have been like without your better half. I cannot help but be completely in awe of your hope and resilience.

In the past years, you have showcased an epitome of strength, optimism and courage! The way you gathered yourself and focused your energies towards spreading positivity in a country that took away your most precious possession, is remarkable to say the least. The way you stood strong in the face of adversity and believed in Shahbaz’s return has been inspiring. The way you have used your smile to hide your pain, hugs to mask your heartache and your laughter to cover your tears over the past 237 long weeks gives strength to other women in the country.

Shahbaz Taseer reunites with family

You, Maheen Taseer, are a hero! You have shown women across the globe how they can use their weakness to become great entrepreneurs and humanitarians, creating employment and changing the lives of the underprivileged, forever. Despite going through such turmoil, you used your education to counsel those who need help, and that in itself is a prime example of your strength and conviction. This nation and its rulers failed you time and again but your belief in justice prevailed.

You have been an example of loyalty for women; loyalty towards the husband who was kidnapped and yet you waited for him every hour of the day for 1,700 painful days. Loyalty to the family that your husband belonged to. Loyalty and commitment towards the nation that you only gave back to when it took so much away from you.

You have shown the world the power of strong belief; the power of believing in the Almighty and His justice. When the world doubted if Shahbaz is even alive, you were confident about his return and you continued to ask the Almighty to return him back to where he belongs — with you, with the mother who passed every hour in the hope to see his child one day, with the sister who waited too long to hug her brother once again.

Shahbaz Taseer recovered from Balochistan after five years in captivity

At the same time, I apologise to you on behalf of this nation. I apologise for the fact that this nation’s lack of control has taken away four and a half precious years of your and Shahbaz’s life. I apologise that our government could do nothing to bring him back for 237 excruciatingly long weeks but I hope and pray that his return back home makes up for everything life has taken away from you.

Congratulations, Maheen Taseer. You won the battle with extremism. Your resilience and hope won. Your belief in God won! Your love for your husband won against hatred, terrorism and injustice. Pakistan needs more women like you who believe in themselves, are hopeful and give back to the nation.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2016.