The story of Zahida Kazimi, 57 year old, will inspire the women around the world. Imagine yourself being a woman taxi driver in New York, London or other major cities of the world, you have to deal with all sorts of people. Now imagine you are a woman and you are working as a taxi driver in Pakistan, a country which has a male dominated society with conservative mindset. People are still not used to the idea of women leaving the four walls of the her house and work. Then you see Zahida Kazimi a brave woman who challenged the social norms of the society by working as a taxi driver for the last 20 years to support her six children.
Widowed at the age of 33, she started working as a maid in a house in Karachi.In the early 1990s she moved to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and bought a new taxi on installments under the yellow cab scheme offered by the government. Zahida saw her children and wanted to give them a good life.
“I saw my children and decided that I have to give my children a better life and good education. “
Zahida family were against her decision of becoming a taxi driver but she had no other choice. She has worked as a helper in some houses but that would not earn her enough to survive. She was not scared of becoming a taxi driver, she always kept a gun with her for her safety and wore a burka for the first few months as a taxi driver(a long dress that covers the face and the entire body). But later she realized that the people she is dealing with are normal people and they respected her being a taxi driver and providing for her family.
Later she decided to wear normal cloths because wearing a burka would actually scare the customers. Later she started wearing a scarf on her head. Kazmi recalls that she would hear stories about women taxi drivers in Canada, United States and United Kingdom being harassed by drunk and violent passengers but she never had any such incidents while being a taxi driver for the last 20 years. The only problem she encountered was from a Imam of Islamabad named, Abdul Aziz Ghazi, who issued a fatwa against Zahida. The conservative Imam calling for Muslims to kill Zahida who is breaking the laws of Islam by being in the presence of male strangers. Thanks God nothing ever happened.
Now Zahida Kazmi is admired and respected by the other taxi drivers in Islamabad. Her mother who banished her for being a taxi driver recently accepted her when the media gave her positive coverage and showed her interview on a news channel. She now serves as a chairwoman of the Yellow cab association. Now her family members have started to contact her.
“Now when i am famous they want to have contact with me, but now i have disowned them”