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First Pakistani tribal woman to run for parliament

Badam Zari, a Pakistani housewife, has made history by becoming the first woman to announce she is running for parliament in a male dominated tribal society.

She has filed nomination papers to stand for NA-44 constituency, falling in Bajur Agency.

Zari, from the north-eastern district of Bajur, said she will focus on women's issues in the election on 11 May.

In the area dominated by conservative Pashtun tribesmen, women rarely work outside the home. Zari's father originally sent her to a school in the village, but relatives objected and said it was inappropriate for a young girl to walk through the market to school. She was made to stay at home.

Zari’s husband, Mohammad Sultan, has a master’s degree in international relations but didn't educate his wife - she can only write her name and can't read a newspaper.

Although Zari has never been threatened, she can't campaign in public so goes door to door among women’s residences, hoping to convince them to come out to vote. Men in Bajur have generally discouraged women to vote, arguing they should remain at home. Far fewer women vote than men in other parts of Pakistan too and women remain under-represented in the country's politics.

Further coverage on the Express Tribune

Further coverage on PRI's The World

Further coverage on Dawn.com

Further coverage on the Nation

Further coverage on ABC News