View Full Version : Pakistan's Child Poet for Girls Education

05-27-2009, 04:53 PM
ISLAMABAD ó Tuba Sahaab may be only 11 but she has a cause and she is determined to plead it one poem at a time.
"I am in Islamabad and I can go to school. But I feel very sad about my sisters who can't go to school in Swat," Sahaab, who lives on the outskirts of the capital, told IslamOnline.net.

Tuba, a six grader, believes she is on a battle, and her mighty weapons are her words.

She writes poems on the pain and suffering of girls who have been deprived of education and have been forced out of schools in the troubled northern Swat valley.

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"I want to tell my sisters that they are not alone.
"I will continue my mission until they go back to their schools."

Tuba says her motivation to defend girls' right of education was a visit to Swat she made with her parents three years ago.

"When I went to Swat, the lush green esplanades, glistening waters, snow-capped mountains and the lovely people, simply mesmerized me," she recalls.

"But the most fascinating thing was the beautiful girls wearing white and blue uniform, and covering their heads with white Dupatta (sheet to cover head) who were going to school in small and big groups," adds Tuba.

"When I think about that now my heart cries."

Tehrik-e-Taliban Swat (TTP), a Taliban faction led by Maulvi Fazlullah, has banned Swat girls from attending schools.

However, other larger Taliban factions based in the troubled northern tribal belt have dismissed the decision un-Islamic.

Several girls' schools have been set ablaze in the North Western Frontier province (NWFP) and Waziristan in the past few months.

The government and security forces blame Taliban for the schools burning.

Rights Defender

Being as young as she is, Tuba has strong and well-founded opinions about a number of issues.

She says the TTSís self-styled Shari`ah propelled her to rise and defend the true teachings of her religion.

"Shari`ah doesnít restrict women from acquiring education. In fact, it binds men and women to get education," insists Tuba.

"I want to tell them (Taliban), please let the girls acquire education. Education is the real weapon of any Muslim. Donít snatch our weapons from us."

Over the past few months, the child poet has shot to fame.

She now regularly appears in the local media, and has also been interviewed by the American all-news CNN.

She recently visited Britain with her family to show her work at different colleges and universities.

Using her strong power of imagination, Tuba also writes short stories and some of them were already published in a book titled "My Golden Dreams" last year.

In her poetry, the young girl usually imagines a society free of poverty, injustices, prejudices and wars.

She is very optimistic about a recent deal between Taliban and the government to enforce shari`ah in Swat.

"I never supported the use of force, whether it is by or against Taliban," she says.

"In my opinion, every matter can be settled through dialogue."

Tuba has one message to the government.

"Please hold talks with Taliban. They are our brothers. We are not against them."