KARACHI: With strong love and affection towards arts and culture since childhood, Maria Soomro daughter of Shams Uddin Soomro was born in Karachi. Maria’s father owns his own business of real estate and and remained President of Oil Tankers Association, Faisalabad while her mother is an government teacher. She has five siblings.
Maria received her education from the National High School, Karachi. She remained extraordinary and meritorious students throughout her studies and clinched top positions. She clinched A1 grade in her matriculation from the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) in year 2004. She did her intermediate in Pre-Engineering from the Board of Intermediate Education (BIEK) in year 2006 with flying colours.
Being crazy for management and accountancy, Maria Soomro changed her field and got admission in four years Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance in Liaquat College of Science and Management and completed it in year 2010.
Soon after completing her BBA, Maria Soomro got a government job in the Sindh Bank and worked there for some eight years from OG-3 to OG-1. In the meantime, during her job, Maria also completed her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management from Iqra University’s main campus. She also attempted twice in the most competitive examinations called CSS however could not qualify.
In year 2016, Maria arranged her first travelling trip to Tharparkar, Mithi and Nagarparkar whose natural beauty and colours of life admired her a lot.
“I am an avid traveler, mountain lover and adventurer by passion. After years of banking experience, I came to know that I am passionate about and what my calling is. I am traveling since seven years and started with short trips alone or joining a group of random travelers”, Maria Soomro recalled her travelling journey while talking to Sindhnews.
“I believe traveling itself is an experience which is difficult to be described in words. However, solo traveling is a life changing experience which makes you discover who you really are. I write about my travel experiences and stories on my Instagram blog, Facebook blog, Twitter and share videos on YouTube channel known as Maria Soomro. My aim is to encourage and motivate girls, especially Sindhi girls to travel as it is still considered to be a stereotype in Sindhi community and I am a Sindhi so I know how hard it was for me to start traveling.”
Maria adds: “I want to share how I survived in 2020 that changed my life. My story is interesting because I wanted to make it happen as it is. I am blessed million times that universe chooses me to test my limits. Have you ever heard about the privilege of risk? Yes, only the privileged can take risks and only risk is rewarded.
I truly believe in the law of attraction; I have seen it working. I had complete faith in myself and I believe when universe is ready for you to move, it makes your situation uncomfortable or so easy. Same happened with me. I always wanted to fly, I took charge of my dreams and flew to places I have never been to.”
“I hitchhiked all across Pakistan and traveled six months, stayed with locals and spent nights in undiscovered valleys. I have met more than 300 different people from different parts of this country and shared stories, memories and love. I have done Rakaposhi Basecamp, Nanga Parabat Basecamp , Spinkhor Lake Trek, Chukail Banda, Miranjani, Muskpuri, Shipishun, Yazghil Glacier etc.”, she said. She recently arranged trips to Achro Thar which was also largely joined by foreign tourists from Belgium and the United States of America.
Apart from Pakistan, Maria Soomro also hitchhiked in North and South of Turkey in year 2021 for some six months where she explored unexplored valleys and places. She learnt Turkish language while hitchhiking and staying with locals in Turkey.
Presently, Maria Soomro is organizing trips all across Pakistan for foreigners and local people and become travel guide for the international visitors, girls, couples and families. The people can join her tour by contacting her on social media handles where she announces public and private tours. She is going to hitchhike from Turkey to Iran and Iran to Pakistan by land-borders by the end of April 2022.
Aseefa Bhutto – A reflection of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto
KARACHI: This story reminds us of our school days when we read an article published by a prominent newspaper in Sindh about a girl who came back from Dubai and met her incarcerated father in the Central Jail of Karachi.
A few days later, a photograph emerged capturing this heartwarming moment, featuring a young girl with an adorable baby haircut embracing her father. Overwhelmed with joy, she couldn’t contain her emotions. That girl was Aseefa Bhutto, who was embracing her imprisoned father, Asif Ali Zardari.
The joy of their reunion was palpable, evident on their faces. As the time progressed, the dynamics shifted, and that once-imprisoned individual assumed the role of the President of Pakistan. The world witnessed the transformation of the young girl, now a grown-up, concealing the grief of her mother’s martyrdom within her, while radiating a smile in the halls of the President’s House. As they entered, her father offered support by placing his hand on her shoulder, capturing a photograph of their arrival, both wearing smiles that convey the message that democracy is the best revenge.
Again, there is a conspiracy to weaken Pakistan. The stability of Pakistan’s democracy cannot be tolerated by enemies. PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is once again being targeted due to personal grudge. The accusation is the same as the old one that has neither head nor foot. In this difficult time, the girl again appears in public and hugs her father while he was being arrested, gives him encouragement and then she holds her father’s hand. From getting out of the armored car to climbing the courtroom stairs, she is seen holding her father’s hand in every appearance.
She possesses a unique demeanor. She tends to emerge when faced with difficult circumstances, while maintaining a quiet presence in tranquil times, often found engrossed in books in an inconspicuous corner. The composition of her character remains a mystery, leaving one curious about her nature and resilience.
She appears resolute and consistently retreats into the background after achieving success. Whenever the topic of democracy arises, she emerges as the revered hero of Sindh, known as “Bhagal Bai”, and stands by her brother, offering support for the strength and stability of Pakistan. At times, she faces unwarranted criticism, as she willingly endures the path she has chosen, adhering to the belief that criticism comes with the territory. Undeterred, she remains focused on her work, as success perpetually accompanies her journey.
In recent days, Pakistan found itself on the brink of a financial crisis due to the stubbornness and obstinacy of an egotistical individual. Once again, discussions about the threat to democracy surfaced, with a potential for violence. However, standing together like Fatima Jinnah, a significant and peaceful long march took place, marking a historic moment in Pakistan’s history. This collective effort resulted in dispelling the dark clouds that loomed over democracy, and once again the proponents of democracy emerged victorious.
It is important to note that this victory came at a cost, including the sacrifice of Aseefa Bhutto, who sustained severe injuries from a drone strike but bravely rejoined the convoy, her injured eye a testament to her resilience. Her countenance on this occasion reflected a radiant glow, evoking a sense of maternal warmth and generating an inspiring energy.
Aseefa, whom Asif Zardari once mentioned in an interview stating that he was initially alone but now has two lions, Bilawal and Aseefa. Aseefa, the beloved princess of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, has indeed demonstrated President Zardari’s words to be true, in her own unique style. She carries forward the legacy with grace and determination.
It is often said that the youngest children receive the most love and affection, and Aseefa, being the apple of many eyes due to her young age, is no exception. However, this abundant pampering and love have not spoiled her; instead, they have contributed to her maturity and growth.
A precious princess entered the world on February 3, 1993, in the household of Shaheed Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. It is a testament to the depth of Bibi’s affection for Asif Ali Zardari that she chose to name their daughter Aseefa. Aseefa, being the daughter of Bibi and Asif Zardari, carries the legacy of Benazir within her. She is the granddaughter of the late Shaheed Zulfiqar Bhutto and the great-granddaughter of Hakim Ali Zardari, known for his principled politics in Pakistan.
Additionally, her lineage can be traced back to Hasan Ali Effendi, the visionary behind Sindh Madrasatul Islam, a pioneering institution that revolutionized education in Sindh. With such a distinguished lineage of respected and highly educated individuals, it is no wonder that Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has grown up to assume important responsibilities, such as overseeing esteemed educational institutions like SZABIST in Sindh.
Aseefa Bhutto, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics from Oxford University, has also obtained a master’s degree in Global Health from University College London.
Aseefa Bhutto grew up in the shadow of the late Ms. Benazir Bhutto, who played a significant role in starting the polio immunization program in Pakistan. In response to baseless debates and fatwas claiming the harm and illegality of polio drops, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto took a powerful step. She inaugurated the immunization program by personally administering polio drops to her own daughter, Aseefa Bhutto, at the Prime Minister’s House. This act effectively countered the opponents and debunked the rumors surrounding the safety of polio drops. Aseefa Bhutto, deeply influenced by her mother’s mission, resolved to carry it forward and dedicated herself to the fight against polio in Pakistan.
As the Ambassador of the United Nations campaign for polio eradication, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari undertook comprehensive measures to eliminate this potentially fatal and contagious disease from the country, ultimately striving for a polio-free Pakistan. In pursuit of this cause, she pursued her master’s degree to strengthen her knowledge and ability to work towards improving healthcare, particularly in the context of polio eradication in Pakistan.
She is the second Pakistani lady, following in the footsteps of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, to address the Oxford Union at Oxford University. In her address, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari acknowledged the sacrifices made by her grandfather and emphasized the importance of stability. She shared a poignant anecdote about her grandfather, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who wrote to her mother from his prison cell, asking what gift he could send her. He replied, “Yes, I hand you over to the people. You are the custodian of the world’s greatest civilization, and it is your duty to strengthen it.”
Difficult circumstances compelled Shaheed Benazir Bhutto to enter politics after her father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was unjustly removed from power, imprisoned, and executed. She emerged as the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which was established by her father, and went on to become the first female head of government in a Muslim-majority country.
On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Aseefa Bhutto paid tribute to her and recognized her exceptional leadership during challenging times. She emphasized that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto led Pakistan through difficult and trying moments, and highlighted that her legacy can serve as a guiding light to navigate the current darkness.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari displayed confidence from a young age. During her time in exile, she was interviewed by senior journalist Sohail Waraich. When asked about what she liked most about Pakistan, Aseefa Bhutto responded in a confident tone, expressing her belief in the country’s potential for greatness. She continued to work diligently for a better Pakistan, particularly in the healthcare sector, alongside her brother Bilawal, even though she prefers not to seek personal recognition for her efforts. Her quiet dedication and achievements speak for themselves.
Aseefa was just 14 years old when her mother, Benazir Bhutto, was martyred in 2007. Their lives have been intertwined with the politics of their parents, both in life and in death. They lead extraordinary lives, facing the challenges and uncertainties with the hope and courage that tomorrow will bring a brighter day.
As siblings, they carry the weight of the political legacy passed down from their parents, Benazir Bhutto and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The party leadership firmly believes in the importance of a robust democracy, recognizing that it cannot thrive without ensuring the well-being and empowerment of the less privileged members of society.
[ The writer is Deputy Director, Information and Archives Department, Government of Sindh. He regularly contributes articles in regional and national dailies ]
Maheen Hisbani – Sindh-lover, a poet, an intellectual, singer
KARACHI: With the God gifted sweat voice and sensitive nature, Maheen Hisbani daughter of Ghulam Murtaza Hisbani was born on April 1, 1976 at Tharu Shah, a town of district Naushehro Feroz, Sindh. Her father was a landlord of the area. She has four sisters and two brothers.
Maheen Hisbani received her early education from Government Primary School Tharu Shah however she passed her matriculation from the Government High Secondary School, Bhirya Road with flying colors in 1991.
While doing her matriculation, Maheen’s family moved to Hyderabad, the second largest city of Sindh province, where she passed intermediate examination from the Government Zubaida College, affiliated with the Board of Intermediate Education Hyderabad in 1996. She secured good grades in intermediate.
Maheen was an extraordinary student in her studies who always actively participated in debate competition, essay writing, comparing etc.
With a vision to do something distinctive in life, Maheen completed her Bachelors of Public Administration (BPA) and Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the most prestigious education institution – University of Sindh – Jamshoro in 2001 by clinching the first division.
In her university life, Maheen participated in many programs including hosting events, doing comparing, reciting poetry and verses, heading literary events etc. She also recited ghazals and wayes.
She also did voice over on Sindh Languaphone, a project of the Sindhi Language Authority aimed at teaching Sindhi language to non-Sindhis. She received much appreciation for her soft and clear voice, perfect pronunciation.
In 2000, Maheen’s family shifted to Karachi where she got admission in the University of Karachi. She completed another degree Masters of Arts (MA) in Sindhi Literature. She used to recite poetry of prominent poets Parveen Shakir and Ahmed Faraz, Ustad Bukhari and Shaikh Ayaz.
While accidently visiting the PTV Karachi Center during those days, Maheen Hisbani was introduced as new talent by Iqbal Saeed Ansari, a prominent producer. Her voice inspired a number of people and hence she became newscaster at PTV Karachi. She became the ‘Voice of Sindh’. She officially joined the PTV as Group-V officer which is equivalent to BS-17. She also produced famous show called “Parkh”.
After quite some time, a Sindhi new channel namely – KTN – was launched and Maheen was offered a senior position which she accepted and joined the channel. She was tasked to direct an independent program in the KTN besides she also directed many other programs.
While introducing a new trend in the media, Maheen Hisbani started a literary program namely ‘Sher Sitara ( شعرستارہ ) which touched the highest peak of popularity in very short span of time. Then, she became Director of the KTN’s Music Department where she directed dozens of world-famous Sindhi songs which are still famous amongst masses.
After few years, Maheen Hisbani joined another Sindhi channel namely – Mehran TV – based in Hyderabad however she could not work for a longer period in district Hyderabad. She, then, returned back to Karachi and joined Awaz TV.
Maheen Hisbani has worked on and produced many documentaries prominent among them were documentary on life of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and Mehtab Akbar Rashidi. She has received a number of awards for her literary contributions and the prominent amongst them was Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Award in 2016.
Maheen Hisbani moved to Canada in the recent past and living a happy life with her husband Altaf Memon and most intelligent son Sindhyaar and cute daughters Soneti Memon and Suhasini Memon.
Shehryar Channa – de youngest property expert in Bahria Town Karachi
KARACHI: Some people are born-genius who outshines in every field whether it be education, technology, business etc.
Shehryar Ali is one of them who showed extraordinary performance in property business in Bahria Town Karachi – Pakistan’s most luxurious gated community -. He has achieved success and good reputation and referred as ‘the youngest property expert’ with his understanding of pros and cons of the real estate industry.
Shehryar Ali son of Ali Nawaz was born on September 30, 2006 in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area. His father was a government teacher with Sindh government who retired from his service in 2015.
Shehryar Ali is the youngest child of the family and has one elder brother and four elder sisters. His area of expertise is mathematics.
Mr Shehryar received his early education from the well-reputed school – Aitchison Model School – in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi, affiliated with the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK). He clinched A+1 grade (84 percent) in the matriculation examination in 2021. Presently, Shehryar Ali is doing his intermediate in pre-engineering.
In the meantime, Shehryar’s family moved to Bahria Town Karachi on permanent basis which motivated him to do property business there. Within a short period of time, Shehryar matured a number of property deals with his fair dealings and benefits to his investors.
Being the soft-spoken and down-to-earth personality, Shehryar Ali has strong grip of the real estate market of Bahria Town Karachi and established with his friends.
“The Bahria Town Karachi is the place where one can enjoy a healthy, safe and secure life. The vision of Chairman Bahria Town Malik Riaz and CEO Ali Riaz is just to ensure best living standards to people of the Pakistan”, Shehryar Ali told while talking to this scribe.
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