Remember the time when the Taliban ‘ruled’ Swat and wouldn’t let women go out of their homes – not even to school? Well, that has changed now that the security forces have driven the millitants out and peace has restored in the region.
Many local women are stepping forward to contribute to society. Be it being a lawyer, women’s right activist or a journalist, women from Swat are second to none.
However, the bar has been set too high this time as a woman from Swat has opened her own restaurant, the first of its kind in the region.
Belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat valley, Noora Ihsas is a name that is familiar to almost every Pashtun in the region. Well, for starters, she is a poetess and a social media celebrity.
Noora Ihsas is often in the headlines for her rather controversial poetry style. However, this time she is in the news again and – this time – for all the right reasons.
Noora Ihsas has opened her own restaurant in Swat
Dawn reported that Pashto poetess Noora Ihsas has established her own restaurant, named Chai Saaz, in Mingora. the restaurant has been opened in a partnership with other two individuals who are also related to the literature niche.
Noora told Dawn that despite an expected reaction from the conservative locals, was her passion for this initiative. Many men in her area believed she won’t be able to run a successful business as it was not a woman’s job.
To prove them wrong, Noora wanted to open her own restaurant and show them that women could also do every job they want to do. She wants women to realize they have the power to do anything.
“I want to make other women realize that they can do business and earn a livelihood in a respectable manner. If a woman dares open a business, she will never be at the mercy of men and will earn with respect,” she said.
Adding that women have the right to operate their own businesses, she shared how she proved all the naysayers wrong.
“Today, I showed everyone that a woman can do [everything] if she has the courage, when people criticize me, I do not get disheartened and instead, the criticism gives me more courage,” she said.
Aside from flexing her own culinary skills, Noora Ihsas has also hired other cooks for her restaurant business. She even steps in as a hostess and server, as she welcomes guests and serves them food.
Her two partners in this business, Shahab Shaheen and Riaz Ahmad Hairan, are among the many men that appreciated her decision and encouraged her. Several members of the civil society were also there for Chai Saaz’s launch and lauded Noora.
President of the Swat Hotel Association, Haji Zahid Khan said he was really happy to see youth come forward and do business.
“Today, it is also a very good development that a young woman has shown the courage to open a restaurant. The involvement of youth in business activities will not only prevent them from negative activities but will earn them handsome money as well,” said