Tanzeela Qambrani, a resident of Matli in Badin district, who is also known as Tanzeela Sheedi, is the first Pakistani with African roots to become a lawmaker in Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Tanzeela Qambrani)
KARACHI: Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on Thursday appointed Tanzeela Qambrani, a female lawmaker of African descent, to its cabinet, making her the first member of the country s tiny African-Pakistani community to hold a government portfolio.
A resident of Matli in Badin district, Qambrani belongs to the Sheedi community and joined Sindh’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after securing a master’s degree in computer sciences from a local university in 2010.
She was elected as a provincial legislator in Sindh on women’s reserved seat in August 2018.
Qambrani on Thursday was notified as special assistant to the province’s chief minister, a post equal in status to a provincial minister. She will head the important information technology department.
“[Pakistan’s founding father] Muhammad Ali Jinnah said all citizens of this country are equal. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the country a constitution, which provides everyone equal rights. My [PPP] chairman [Bilawal Bhutto Zardari] practically showed it [by appointing me to the provincial cabinet],” Qambrani told Arab News, adding that she wanted to empower Pakistani women and youth with the opportunities created by information technology.
“Information technology is my subject which is used in almost every field,” she said. “I want to use it to ensure the progress of our women and youth, including those belonging to my own community.”
While there are various accounts of the arrival of the Sheedi community in the region, it is widely believed that its members have their roots in Africa and their forefathers accompanied famous Arab military commander Muhammad bin Qasim to South Asia.
Estimates suggest that the total size of the community is about 250,000 people.