Story of a brave single mother who dresses up as a man to provide for her daughter

Farheen Ishtiaq, a 41-year-old single mother, dresses up like a man to run a small corner shop in Lahore.

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Farheen Ishtiaq, a 41-year-old single mother, dresses up like a man to run a small corner shop in Lahore.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ishtiaq said that she hails from Karachi and has no family except for a 9-year-old daughter.

Ishtiaq said, “In 2010, she decided to get married to someone who was not the same ethnicity as she and her parents did not agree to it. “

Things got more complicated when Ishtiaq’s husband left her while she was pregnant.

Ishtiaq further added that she gave birth to her daughter without any family support.

To earn a living, Ishtiaq started selling snacks like samosas and chips on busy streets but was constant victim of harassment.

lahore

Ishtiaq said, “Women working in male-centered fields are invariably harassed with stares, catcalls and in more extreme cases, physical and sexual abuse. In a conservative country like Pakistan, a woman cannot do anything in peace.”

Disguise as a man

lahore

To avoid unwanted stares, Ishtiaq decided to dress like a man.

Speaking about how people perceived her, She said, “People couldn’t figure out that she was a woman apart from those who knew her.”

After making some money, Ishtiaq opened a tuck shop where her daughter Zahra could be by her side. Zahra joins her mother at the shop to help with the business after coming back from school.

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