Cutting Free: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Pakistani Woman
155 pages
English

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155 pages
English

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Description

Beginning with a privileged childhood in an elite family of pre-partition India, to a troubled youth in Pakistan, this is the inspiring story of Salma Ahmed - a woman who surmounted formidable odds to achieve extraordinary success in business and politics. In this strikingly honest and candid account, Salma talks of her three marriages - to a naval officer, a scion of a leading feudal family, and a cricketing star; her conflicts as a mother as she makes the agonising decision to give up two of her six children; and her efforts to build a career as an entrepreneur and political figure in an emerging Pakistan. As she recounts the events of a life filled with dramatic highs and equally painful lows, she does not spare herself any more than she does other players in her story.

This is a book that unabashedly reveals many of the hidden taboos of contemporary Pakistani society, bringing into question customs that are an integral, if unpleasant, part of subcontinental culture. Salma Ahmed's gripping narration of her political career is fast-paced and often amusing. The book relates events of the 1985 Assembly, which no other author has yet commented on. Her interaction with the late President Zia-ul-Haq and Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, MQM leader Altaf Hussain, the charismatic Pir Sahib Pagaro, and several others, gave her a unique opportunity to witness first-hand the intrigue, power plays and unfolding drama of Pakistani politics. Her frequent visits to India brought her into contact with Indira Gandhi, her son Rajiv, and many other leading figures of the sub-continent. This is the absorbing tale of a woman who was a pampered child, an unhappy wife, a repentant mother - but one who emerged triumphant as a woman of substance, in business and politics.

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Publié par
Date de parution 31 mai 2007
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9789351940616
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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About the book
Beginning with a privileged childhood in an elite family of pre-partition India, to a troubled youth in Pakistan, this is the inspiring story of Salma Ahmed - a woman who surmounted formidable odds to achieve extraordinary success in business and politics. In this strikingly honest and candid account, Salma talks of her three marriages - to a naval officer, a scion of a leading feudal family, and a cricketing star; her conflicts as a mother as she makes the agonizing decision to give up two of her six children; and her efforts to build a career as an entrepreneur and political figure in an emerging Pakistan. As she recounts the events of a life filled with dramatic highs and equally painful lows, she does not spare herself any more than she does other players in her story.
This is a book that unabashedly reveals many of the hidden taboos of contemporary Pakistani society, bringing into question customs that are an integral, if unpleasant, part of sub-continental culture. Salma Ahmed's gripping narration of her political career is fast-paced and often amusing. The book relates events of the 1985 Assembly, which no other author has yet commented on. Her interaction with the late President Zia-ul-Haq and Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, MQM leader Altaf Hussain, the charismatic Pir Sahib Pagaro, and several others, gave her a unique opportunity to witness first-hand the intrigue, power plays and unfolding drama of Pakistani politics. Her frequent visits to India brought her into contact with Indira Gandhi, her son Rajiv, and many other leading figures of the sub-continent. This is the absorbing tale of a woman who was a pampered child, an unhappy wife, a repentant mother - but one who emerged triumphant as a woman of substance, in business and politics.
C U T T I N G F R E E
Salma Ahmed–Eny to family and friends–was born Indira Salma Husain in Cambridge, UK. Her father, Syed Akhtar Husain, was then in the elite pre-Partition Indian Civil Service. After opting for Pakistan, Akhtar Husain transferred to the foreign service, and following a distinguished career spanning over two decades, retired as one of Pakistan's senior-most diplomats. Her mother, Zakia Husain, belongs to an eminent landed family of UP (India) that traces its lineage back several hundred years.
Salma started her business career as a relatively young woman, and set up her first industry in 1967. She followed this up by starting two more industries, but the high point of her career was the remarkable success she achieved in ship-breaking. It remains her proud achievement to have been the first woman ever to have done this.
Winner of the prestigious Priyadarshini award for being Pakistan's most successful woman entrepreneur in the fifty years since Independence (1947-1997), Salma is the founder-president of the Pakistan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (PAWE) and was the first president of the International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (IFWE). She is also the president of the Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI) in Pakistan. To enable economic empowerment of women in Pakistan continues to be her greatest passion.
Salma started public service in the 1970s when she worked with selfless zeal for the rehabilitation of displaced Pakistanis from Bangladesh. She later entered politics, and joined the All- Pakistan Muslim League in 1977. She was appointed member of the party's Central Working Committee, and was MNA from 1985 to 1988. Today, she continues to be an active member of the Pakistan Muslim League.

ROLI BOOKS
This digital edition published in 2014
First published in Pakistan in 2007 by Sama Editorial & Publishing Services 4th Floor Imperial Court, P.O. Box 12447, Karachi
Published in India in by The Lotus Collection An Imprint of Roli Books Pvt. Ltd M-75, Greater Kailash- II Market New Delhi 110 048 Phone: ++91 (011) 40682000 Email: info@rolibooks.com Website: www.rolibooks.com
Copyright © Salma Ahmed, 2007
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, print reproduction, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Roli Books. Any unauthorized distribution of this e-book may be considered a direct infringement of copyright and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
eISBN: 978-93-5194-061-6
Cover Design: Nitisha Mehta
All rights reserved. This e-book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated, without the publisher’s prior consent, in any form or cover other than that in which it is published.
In loving memory of my beloved daughter Bina
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies: And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her eyes: Thus mellow’d to that tender light Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
— Lord Byron
Contents
Acknowledgments
Preface
From India to Pakistan
Early Years
Italia Bella
Trapped into Marriage
Decadent Living
To Moscow via London
Apaji—My Mother-in-Law
Auld Lang Syne
Tehran
Stirrings of Motherhood
Test Cricket Down Under
The Entrepreneur
In Algiers
An Unhappy Wife
Dabbling in Politics
Yahya Takes Over
Mecca
Debarred from Cricket
Turbulent Years
Political Shenanigans
Elections 1977
The Lady Ship-breaker
Silent Tears
Meeting Indira Gandhi
In the Spotlight
In Parliament
Twice Bitten
Strange Bedfellows
On the International Stage
Dismissal of the Assembly
First President of IFWE
Interregnum
A Mother Mourns
New Players, Unchanged Politics
Afghanistan: The New Challenge
Unfinished Agenda
Epilogue
Acknowledgements
M y mother, for her unconditional love and unstinted support. My father, for being my greatest source of inspiration, and for retaining faith in me despite everything. My brother Akku, for always being there for me. My aunt Razia and uncle Shahzad, for not letting me stumble in some of my darkest hours. My beloved children—daughters Fawzia and Sehba, and sons Chou Chou, Bunty and Farru Baba—for not judging me harshly despite the fact that I gave them ample reason to do so.
Ahmed Altaf, for a friendship that has lasted a lifetime, and his support even in the most trying circumstances.
Jamil Nishtar, for his extraordinary help and encouragement. He was my guardian angel, and a pillar of strength.
Syed Saeed Jafri, my father’s dear friend, without whose kindness I might never have launched my business career.
Pir Iqbal Nizami of Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, for being my duagoh.
Pir Sahib Pagara, to whom I owe my political career.
Yunus Sahib, for his long and loyal service, and Mahmud Mian, for his patient and tireless effort in typing the script.
And finally, all my friends and colleagues for their support, in particular Hasan Pervez, who edited this book with diligence and empathy, and made it more readable.
Preface
I t didn’t occur to me that one day I would write a book. The four-year process started in 1999, after my world came crashing down on me when I lost my eldest daughter, Bina.
To begin with, the attempt at writing was slow and hesitant. It was only when the story started gradually to emerge, that it became clear to me that this was something which needed to be done.
The reader will discover that it required courage to candidly narrate the story of my life. However, having received much unfair and hurtful criticism over many years, I became convinced that to recount my side of the tale was a duty I owed to myself and those whom I love.
This book might never have been written had it not been for my daughter Bina—the girl who warned me, ‘Mummy, if you don’t write about yourself, I shall.’ My child didn’t live long enough to savour the joy of seeing her wish fulfilled, but this book and the tears that I have shed in writing it, is dedicated to her with all my love.
On 5 February 2005, Hamida Khuhro, a childhood friend and Sindh minister of education, launched Cutting Free in Karachi. There was little premonition that fateful day of the bitter harvest I was to reap soon thereafter.
Barely a month after the launch, a bizarre series of events started to unfold leaving me dumbfounded with shock. All I could do was helplessly watch in silent horror as my world crashed around me. These dreadful events will form part of a sequel to my autobiography which is now underway. What I can say for the moment is: Muqabilla tau dile natawan ne khub kiya (Mir Taqi Mir).
It is a matter of deep personal satisfaction that my autobiography is to be published in India. Because of the great similarity in the social and cultural milieu of the South Asian sub-continent, there is much in common in the attitudes and behavioural patterns of women of the region. Cutting across boundaries of politics and religion, women of the region stand on a common platform because they share the same aspirations and encounter similar difficulties. It is therefore my hope that this autobiography might provide some guidance to those women who intend to venture into a life of business and politics.
Finally, my greatest reward in writing this book would be if it were to give courage and hope to the countless women of Pakistan who are faced with challenges similar to those I had to encounter. If the story of my life can inspire even one single woman, I would consider my life’s work accomplished.
Karachi Salma Ahmed December, 2006
1
From India to Pakistan
I was born Indira Salma Husain, at 4.30 a.m. on Friday, 10 September at Granchester Hospital, Granchester Meadows, Cambridge. Saturn was falling retrograde in my Seventh House, meaning that for Virgos no partnerships, including marriage, would be successful in the long term. What a portentous beginning!
My father, Akhtar Husain, had taken my mother to Cambridge to learn English while he

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