Pakistan's Hazara women strike back with martial arts - GulfToday

Pakistan's Hazara women strike back with martial arts


Martial arts student Fatima Batool of the Hazara community practises Shaolin Kung Fu.

Gulf Today Report


Hundreds of women  from the Pakistani Hazara community are coming forward to learn martial arts so they can deliver side kicks and elbow blows when they are struck with a calamity.


Martial arts booms within the Hazara community slowly and steadily.


Women usually deal with humiliation and harassment from men, with groping commonplace in crowded markets or public transport.


Self-defence of any kind will help women from all walks of life feel secure and confident to deal with the complications they have to face to survive this world.


" With self-defence, I have learnt to feel confident," 20-year-old Nargis Batool told AFP.


hazara2 Mubarak Ali Shan (R), a martial arts instructor trains female students of the Hazara community.


"Everyone here knows that I am going to the club. Nobody dares say anything to me while I am out."


Up to 4,000 people are attending regular classes in more than 25 clubs in Balochistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, according to Ishaq Ali, head of the Balochistan Wushu Kung Fu Association, which oversees the sport.


The city's two largest academies, which train around 250 people each, told AFP the majority of their students were young Hazara women.


hazara3 Syeda Qubra, a student of the Hazara community gives an interview.


Many of them go on to earn money from the sport, taking part in frequent competitions.


It is still unusual for women to play sport in deeply conservative Pakistan where families often forbid it, but martial arts teacher Fida Hussain Kazmi says exceptions are being made.


The uptake is also credited to national champions Nargis Hazara and Kulsoom Hazara, who have won medals in international competitions.


hazara4 Students of the Hazara community take part in a martial arts training class at the Kazmi International Wushu Academy.


Kazmi says he has trained hundreds of women over the years, after learning the sport from a Chinese master in the eastern city of Lahore.


"The Hazara community is facing many problems... but with karate we can begin to feel safe," said 18-year-old student Syeda Qubra, whose brother was killed in a bomb blast in 2013.

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