Meet Tanzeela Qambrani, Pakistan’s First MPA Of African Descent

Tanzeela Qambrani
Source: Sindh Post

In the 2018 elections, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) politician, Tanzeela Qambrani made history by becoming the first African descent national to become a member of the provincial assembly of Sindh. She was elected as a MPA on PPP’s quota of reserve seats for women from Southern Sindh.

Who is Tanzeela Qambrani?

Qambrani hails from the district of Badin and belongs to the Sheedi tribe that comprises of descendants from East Africa.

As per the MPA, her great-grandparents were brought to this region about a hundred years ago from Tanzania. Although brought to Asia and subjected to a life of slavery, Tanzeela’s grandfather was set free by his “masters” who felt he was too silent a man for their liking.

This allowed her grandfather the opportunity to raise his children as free citizens, enabling him to provide them with an education that later played a key role in Tanzeela Qambrani’s rise as a politician.

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Today, she belongs to a family of well-educated individuals with her father being a lawyer and her mother, a retired headmistress of a local school in Badin.

Tanzeela Qambrani herself is a mother of three. One of her sisters is married off in Tazania.

How did Tanzeela foray into politics?

Being the youngest among her six siblings, Tanzeela wanted to do something in her life that would make her elder siblings see her as someone other than their “baby” sister.

Right after university, along with some of her friends, Tanzeela joined Pakistan Peoples Party and also began supporting various social causes.

Impressed by her dedication and hard work, PPP’s local leadership encouraged her to contest for the local councilor’s elections, which she won.

The MPA shared during a recent talk that when the elections for the Chairperson of the local municipality drew near, it was alleged through a malicious social media campaign that Tanzeela’s vote would go to the richest candidate. Her African-origin roots and her family’s history of slavery were cited as “justifications” for these allegations.

“I hadn’t even had the time to respond to these petty allegations when the Party nominated me for the Chairperson’s position itself,” shared Tanzeela. “The moment my name was nominated, pressure from the more affluent segments began piling up so I would myself relinquish the nomination.”

With her family’s support firmly behind her, Tanzeela continued to work hard as a party worker, soon being selected as the President of PPP’s Women Wing in Badin district.

During the 2018 elections, she was nominated for women’s reserved seat from Southern Sindh and she currently serves as the first Sheedi woman to find a place in the country’s legislature.