SWAT: There was a time when militants in Swat district restricted women to their houses and banned them from formal education.
However, after the security forces eliminated militancy, many local women chose various career paths in line with their skills and interests. They took up legal profession, became women’s right activists, and joined NGOs.
However, a woman has opened a restaurant, the first of its kind in the region.
Noora Ihsas, a poetess and a social media celebrity, established the Chai Saaz in Mingora in partnership with two other literary people.
She told Dawn that she knew the reaction of the conservative people to her initiative but it was her passion to open a restaurant and show the people that women of the region could do every job decently.
“I want to make other women realise that they can do business and earn a livelihood in a respectable manner. If a woman dares open a business, she will never be at the mercy of men and will earn with respect,” she told Dawn.
The woman said every woman should realise that she had the power of doing every job.
She said she faced many difficulties from the patriarchal society as many men said she won’t be able to open the restaurant as it was not a woman’s job.
“Today, I showed everyone that a woman can do [everything] if she has the courage,” she said, adding that women had the right to do business or job.
“When people criticise me, I do not get disheartened and instead, the criticism gives me more courage,” she said.
Noora Ihsas has hired cooks for the restaurant but she also works in the kitchen. She also welcomes guests and serves them food.
She said many men appreciated and encouraged her for taking initiative, including Riaz Ahmad Hairan and Shahab Shaheen, both literary men in Swat.
Several members of the civil society participated in the restaurant opening ceremony and lauded her.
Haji Zahid Khan, president of the Swat Hotel Association, said he was really happy to see youth come forward and do business.
“Today, it is also a very good development that a young woman has showed courage to open a restaurant. The involvement of youth in business activities will not only prevent them from negative activities but will earn them a handsome money as well,” said