Muniba Mazari chases her dreams on a wheelchair

Muniba Mazari
Photos: Facebook
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An ambulance, with sirens blaring, sped into a private hospital at Baluchistan. A team of doctors rushed into the examination room.

The car of Khurram Shahzad, a pilot with the Pakistan Air Force, and his wife had met with an accident. Khurram managed to escape from the car that fell into a gorge. However, his wife Muniba Mazari fell into the deep gorge.

After checking the patient, the doctors told the relatives. "Muniba's hands, shoulders, and rib cage have all broken. There are also serious injuries to the liver and lungs," the doctors explained.

Her relatives listened in stunned silence. But Muniba merely smiled from her hospital bed.

One day, the doctor turned up by her bedside with some bad news.

"I came to know that you wanted to be an artist. However, you can never ever become one. Your hands do not even have the power to lift a pen," he said.

Muniba shut her eyes and smiled. The doctor continued to speak.

"As your spine has suffered serious damages, you would not be even able to get up and walk," he added.

The smile did not fade from Muniba's face.

"You will never be able to become a mother!"

Muniba was shattered. Her whole body shrivelled up and she wept uncontrollably.

Her woes did not end there. Her husband abandoned her.

She hated the drab white walls of the hospital. Her dream of becoming an artist haunted her, even in her sleep.

Muniba was born in Baluchistan, Pakistan on March 3, 1987, into a typical family, where women seldom stood up to men. She was married off at the age of 18. The accident happened two years after that.

One day, Muniba asked her mother to give her a canvas and some paint. Her arms nearly killed her with the pain but she held on to the brush and painted a picture that she had in her mind.

That was her first strike back at her fate. More than the medicines, colours gave her the impetus to live. Even after reaching home from the hospital, her body failed her many times. She came down with infections and allergy.

She was virtually chained to her bed for two years. Though nearly everyone had written her off, Muniba slowly got into a wheel chair and started controlling her own mobility.

She looked at herself in the mirror at her home one day. She got dressed up and wore lipstick.

What would the society say about a woman, stuck on a wheelchair, getting dressed up. This thought was restraining her.

However, she wore the lipstick again. This time, she wore it for herself. From then on, Muniba started fighting her own fear and insecurities. She started stepping out into public spaces. She painted pictures and posted them on her blog 'Muniba's Canvas.' She became famous and people started coming in search of her pictures.

However, even while standing at the pinnacle of popularity, Muniba was haunted by the doctor's words that she would never become a mother. She then decided to adopt a child.

One day, she got a call from an orphanage. She found her son and named him Nile. Muniba said that the day she found him, she came to realise the pangs of labour.

Muniba slowly forayed into modelling and acting spheres. She also became the first wheelchair-bound anchor and model. She is also a known motivational speaker.

The United Nations appointed Muniba as the first woman goodwill ambassador of Pakistan. She was also among the BBC's 100 most influential women in 2015.

The world calls Muniba Mazari the iron lady of Pakistan.

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