Muniba Mazari Baloch was born in March 1987 in the house of Rahim Yar Khan which is in southern Punjab province, Pakistan. January 1988 Ethnicity Muniba Mazari is from a Baloch background, belonging to the tribe of Mazari. She was raised in a conservative and deep-rooted cultural family.
February 1988 Parents Muniba’s father was an artist and her mother was a strong woman with the responsibility of their house. She had a distant relationship with her father, while on the contrary, her mother was an important figure in her life, especially post-accident.
Muniba Mazari Biography
January 2001 Early Life Muniba went to the Army Public School in Peshawar and later attended college in her native hometown for a Bachelors’ in Fine Arts. She was a bright girl and keen on Arts & Painting.
November 2005 Marriage At the early age of 18, before she could complete her studies, she was married to a pilot in the Pakistani Air Force, Khurram Shahzad, because of her conservative Baloch family.
February 2008 The Setback At the age of 21, Muniba and her husband met with a terrible car accident while traveling from Quetta to Rahim Yar Khan.
She sustained major spine injuries and several others, due to which her entire lower body was paralyzed and left her paraplegic.
She told that, Just about after 2 years of getting married, about 9 years ago, I met a car accident. Somehow my husband fell asleep and the car fell into the ditch. He managed to jump out, saved himself.
I am happy for him. But I stayed inside the car and I sustain a lot of injuries. My right arm was fractured, whist was fractured, shoulder bone and collarbone were fractured.
And because of the rib cage injury, lungs and liver were badly injured. I couldn’t breathe. I lost urine control. That’s why I have to wear the bag where ever I go. But that injuries changed me and my life completely.
As a person, my perception towards living my life was the spine injury. My backbone was completely crushed. And I got paralyzed for the rest of my life. So this accident took place in a far-flung area of Balochistan where there was no first aid, no hospital, no ambulance. I was in the middle of nowhere.
Many people came to the rescue. They drag me out of the car. While they were dragging me out I got the complete transaction of my spinal cord. And now there was this debate going on, should we keep it here, she is going to die, or where should we go.
There was no ambulance. There was one four-wheeler jeep standing in the corner of the street. They said, put her in the back of the jeep and take her to the hospital which is 3 hours away from this place.
And I still remember that bumpy ride. I was all broken. They threw me in the back of the jeep and they rushed me to the hospital. That is where I realized that my half body was paralyzed and half body was fractured.
I finally ended up in a hospital where I stayed for two and a half months. I underwent multiple surgeries. Doctors have put a lot of titanium in my arms and there was a lot of titanium on my back to fix my back. That’s why, In Pakistan, people called me the ‘Iron Lady’ of Pakistan.
Finding Hope While lying on a hospital bed with a broken body, Mazari began to paint in order to distract herself. She started painting to “add some colors” to the “sad, dull moments.” It was a painting that kept her alive.
Fighting Life Being bedridden for 2.3 years, she moved to a wheelchair with help of treatment and physiotherapy.
Her mother motivated her through the dark saying: ‘This too shall pass. God has a greater plan for you. I don’t know what it is, but He surely has.’
Motherhood Four years after the accident, Muniba adopted her son, Nael, giving her a strong reason to live. After experiencing motherhood, she became a social activist working for children’s rights and education, and women empowerment.
Drifting Relationships Her husband divorced her because of her disability and she was left alone with her adopted son.
Not only her husband, but her Father also left the family in such pain. Though, she considers her pain “beautiful” since it allows her to connect with others also in pain.
The Iron Lady of Pakistan Mazari’s motivational speech at a TEDx event organized in Islamabad propelled her into the public eye.
She urged people not to give up on life and talked of the need to eliminate gender inequality and discrimination.
Working in Media PTV’s director found her through Islamabad Ted Talk and offered her a job in the network.
She worked in the program ‘Clown Town’ that dealt with children and old people. Muniba also became a National anchorperson and hosted the ‘Mai Nahi Hum’ inspirational program on Hum News.
Spreading Wings Muniba became the National Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan after being shortlisted in the 100 Inspirational Women of 2015 by BBC. She also made it to the Forbes 30 under 30 lists for 2016.
Muniba as Artist She became an established painter. With the slogan, Let Your Walls Wear Colours, she created her art brand called Muniba’s Canvas. She presented her art and paintings in several national and international exhibitions.
Legal Battle Her ex-husband Khurram Shahzad sued Muniba in court for defaming him, demanding 10,000,000 Pakistani Rupees (USD 65,000.00). However, the court dismissed the case in January 2018.
First Wheelchair Model Muniba became a model, fighting her fear of hiding from people. She was chosen by Ponds as the Pond’s Miracle Woman.
She was also chosen by the international hairdressing salon, Toni & Guy, to become the first-ever wheelchair-using model in Asia.
Social Empowerment Dedicated to Social Work, Muniba participated in several social campaigns in Pakistan such as ‘Dheeray Bolo’, ‘Dil Say Pakistan’, spreading awareness for Education and Patriotism & Unity. She is also appointed to Pakistan’s first-ever National Youth Council.
Activism Muniba has conducted numerous TV programs, events, speeches for Acid attack victims, Gender Issues, Girls Education, Physically disabled, Sexually abused victims, and Transgender Issues.
Motivational Speaker With her powerful, inspiring story, and charismatic personality, she has participated as a motivational speaker on various fronts, with her first break being TED Talks, Islamabad.
Looking at Future Mazari’s life-changing experience has turned her into an activist, encouraging women and girls that have experienced discrimination or violence to not fear or fight the pain.
She is inspiring people through her art and is working for society. She says, “You are the hero of your own life story and heroes Never Give Up.” I always say that people are so lucky that don’t even realize, you must be thinking, okay, you are lucky in what sense? Well, the breath that you just took was a blessing.
Embrace it! There are so many people in the world who are dreaming to live a life that you are living right now. You have no idea. Embrace each and every breath that you are taking. Celebrate your life. Live it. Don’t die before your death. We all die.