Dear Members of the Committee,I have been asked to write a recommendation letter for Ms. Tabassum Adnan; it’s a great honor for me and I have accepted immediately to draft it.I think that the work accomplished by Ms. Adnan is really outstanding.You can understand that a simple letter is not enough to write down all her achievements and fights she has pursued during her life.I will notably remind that she is famous in Pakistan and abroad as the Khwedo Jirga Mashra(Leader of the Women Jirga/Council), the first ever Women Jirga.Born in a patriarchal society where the voice of women is not considered, she was married at the age of In addition to the trauma of being married as a child, her husband tortured her mentally and physically.Her story in the Swat valley of Pakistan is unfortunately not uncommon.However, Ms. Adnan considered that those injustices and sufferings were not a fatality and she decided to devote her life to lighten the burden and sufferings imposed to women and minorities by the Pashtun society.Her most striking achievement, the Women Jirga has emerged as a necessity due to the continuous violence against women in Pashtun society. She is the only woman that has stood against the patriarchal societal structure to defend women rights and took the historical step of forming the first ever women Jirga in the history of Pakistan.For the first time the voice of the despised Pashtun women were listened. In the darkness, Ms. Adnan has lightened a small light that keeps growing since then.The Grand Male Jirga recognized her courage and she was invited to attend its sessions. It was a milestone in the history of Pashtun culture; for the first time in history, a woman could attend a male Jirga. Later on, she was the first Pashtun woman to take place in government district dispute resolution council All those incursions into what is still considered as male territory were considered as impossible before Ms.Adnan.It should be also noted that she is not imposing changes from outside and making a clean break of the traditions. On the contrary, as a member of Pashtun community, she is trying to be the spokesman of the women and oppressed minorities and start to change the situation from inside, using the traditional institutions (cf. the Jirga).She has caused a breach into traditions into which the oppressed women can now step into. Ms.Adnan has opened the way for millions of women.Through her action in the Women Jirga, Ms. Adnan was the first nail in the coffin of the unjust patriarchal traditions that are depriving women of their rights in the Pashtun society.In addition to fighting for women, she has also raised the voice for religious minorities, Christian and Hindus, and advocate in favor of peaceful and nonviolent relationships between the different faiths.Ms. Adnan believes that all humans are equal and must be treated in the same manner. When the suicide attack on a Christian church in Peshawar occurred, she was the first Muslim woman who along with an organization protested against such brutality by organizing a protest walk.Recently, she has opened the debate of transgender rights in Pakistan. Once again she hasn’t hesitated to be criticized and defend the most vulnerable members of society.Those actions are not without consequences on her physical integrity. She is regularly threatened to death, not only by Taliban but also by other conservative people who cannot accept the changes she is slowly making in society.She is putting her life in danger to serve the cause of others. Ms. Adnan is a wonderful example of commitment and courage.She has accomplished more than any others for the rights of Pakistani women as well as the rights of minorities. For those who are fighting for women and minority rights, her achievements make her not only an exceptional person but also a source of inspiration as well as a model to follow., I am able to see how Ms. Adnan is working and was deeply impressed.For many women and minorities, she is the last chance to receive Justice and be treated fairly that is denied by state and society.It is a privilege for me to know this brilliant and dedicated activist and humanitarian. Tabassum Adnan, as she is involved in sensitive issues because talking and working on women freedom for education is highly risky job.For her actively working for the rights of women she is on direct target of extremist forces. She has received threat letters from extremist twice during the last 12 months warning her to refrain from her cause otherwise she would face grim consequences.She has received several anonymous calls warning her to be aside from the anti-Islamic activities.Sensing threats around her the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have already provided her 24-hour police guards. I warmly recommend her and sincerely hope she will receive the attention from the committee that she deserves. I’m at the disposal of the committee should you need any additional information I am able to see how Ms. Adnan is working and was deeply impressed.For many women and minorities, she is the last chance to receive Justice and be treated fairly that is denied by state and society.It is a privilege for me to know this brilliant and dedicated activist and humanitarian. Tabassum Adnan, as she is involved in sensitive issues because talking and working on women freedom for education is highly risky job.For her actively working for the rights of women she is on direct target of extremist forces. She has received threat letters from extremist twice during the last 12 months warning her to refrain from her cause otherwise she would face grim consequences.She has received several anonymous calls warning her to be aside from the anti-Islamic activities.Sensing threats around her the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have already provided her 24-hour police guards. The nominee donate most of her time, she is doing her job completely voluntarily, She never ask for money in any of her case as she think it is a peace process to resolve the conflict between two persons/families/community she is working actively to bring peace as her work is totally for peace and to resolve conflict between persons .by this initiative many women and girls joining her Jirga (council) most of women who willing to join is the victim of cases which she handles .this is a huge impact of her work that the women of rigid and conservative society like pushtoon came out from home and raise voice for their rights .recently she solved a case of a girl victim of attempt of murder ,her father in law sexually abused her some of other leader women brought her on a charpoy as she even couldn’t move in charpoy too ,he attacked her 52 knife attacks from head to toe she was completely injured Tabassum adnan took a strong action and gave her all that which she need like free legal aid medical aid and as well justice . and send the culprits behind the bar ,later on the family tried to settled the dispute by a men’s Jirga(council) with 2 lacks rupees as the culprits were her own paternal uncle and it was sure too her that one day they will settle the dispute without giving justice to the girl victim so they came to tabassum adnan so many time to settle the dispute by their own conditions tabassum adnan took a stand against them and asked them to settle the dispute by her and her women jirga’s (council) conditions. They agreed with her decisions as on any cost they want to take out their uncle from jail (womens Jirga put a pressure on them but it was done that they will settle the dispute someday that is why she took the advantage of their greenness , as she know the taboos of her area she knows better that how to deal ,talk and work with the community and males ,she put her conditions to them which was harsh for them and much more then imprisonment as she do not want to encourage other people to do such a crucial act .she put some conditions and they fulfil the conditions. conditions were as following1:your son have to divorce the girl as he couldn’t protect her .2:you must have to give her dowry (haqmeher) which is 40 gm gold 3:5 lacks rupees for her all expenses which she could spend on her medical and legal process 4:you have to give her blood money (khoonbaha , fidya,diyat which is in our constitution and religion ) which will be 35 lacks rupees or land you have of worth rupees 35 lacks .5:you have to put all her next marriage expenses 5:the culprits have to leave the area we do not want to see him here in our area as this will encourage other people and will discourage innocent girls and women who face such brutality .They agreed and now the girl is walking freely in her area she is now independent and have an aim to give courage to other girls and women to raise their voice as we all are with them .there are many more examples you can find in her daily motion khwendo Jirga site .she worked for little innocent girls which given in swara /vani (giving a girl of age 6 to 14 to other family in compensation in crime committed by men) she brought that girls back and put the culprits and many of men’sJirga members behind the bars .now the little girls are going to schools snd getting their education .she worked for early age marriage too once she brought back the two orphan girls which was age of 13 and 11 they approached tabassum adnan to save them and told her the whole story that her parent died and their uncle wants to marry them of with his son age of 30 and 28 ,Tabassum adnan took a bold step and put them up from the marriage ceremony (nikah) and cut fir against them as early age marriage is consider a crime in constitution . we gave the girls authority to her elder sister which was married and had no courage to speak against her uncle now they are living happily and getting their education . later on she wentto their uncle and advocate him that what else he was going to do is prohibited in islam too if a girl is not willing you cannot marry her of with out her willingness and in our constitutions there is proper punishment and money fine .he agreed with her and by this the huge dispute and violation of rights become a peaceful matter .now the both girls says that they wants to become brave and power full like tabassum adnan . As swat is pro talibanization hit area in such area even thinking about woman leader ship is difficult and such leader ship like tabassum adnan have is impossible.she challenged our whole culture and history ,she changed the concept and perception of men that women cannot be a part of any Jirga(council )or of any decision making process this is a great impact of her work that our men Jirga invite her to their Jirga (council) she is the only women in history of Pakistan who is leading a female Jirga and participated in male jirgas and also an only woman to participate in government district dispute resolution council .it is realized to our rigid society that their should be a woman in such decision making process like jirgas and other process .
This story was submitted in response to #SpiritAwards.