Pakistan’s Thar – Where Brave Women Drive Big Trucks

As Pakistan explored cheap coal in the Thar desert to resolve energy crisis, brave women eyed the truck driving jobs.


Where cultural and patriarchal barriers hold women inside four walls, these brave ladies from Pakistan’s Thar are breaking stereotypes, driving big trucks. As Pakistan explored cheap coal in the Thar desert to resolve the energy crisis, these women eyed an opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.

In the country’s largest open-pit mine, where sand dunes cover estimated coal reserves of 175 billion tonnes, these gigantic yellow dumper trucks are a frequent sight. These 60-tonne trucks initially scared women like Gulaban and Nusrat, but now they have befriended them.

Gulaban was initially among the 30 women who received training to be a truck driver by a local firm digging up low-grade coal under the rolling Thar sand dunes, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). She saw this opportunity as golden, showing hope that it will help lift more women from poverty and help them break patriarchal shackles.

“At the beginning, I was a bit nervous but now it’s normal to drive this dumper,”said then 25 years old Gulaban, speaking to a local reporting source. 

However, one thing that set Gulaban apart is that unlike her rest of the fellows, she already knew how to drive a car before coming for truck driving classes. She is truly an inspiration for women stuck in poverty-stricken areas. Drivers can earn up to Rs 40,000 a month.

“If Gulaban can drive a dump truck then why not we? All we need to do is learn and drive quickly like her,” said 29 years old mother of six Ramu. 

The Heroes:

Nusrat Taj from Thar drives a massive 60-tonnes truck:

Nusrat is brave, bold and fearless. With making her and her family’s ends meet, she is also challenging the worn-out traditions. As there isn’t running water in her village, Nusrat wakes up early first to fetch water, walking quite a distance.

Performing her role as a mother, wife, daughter and even the cleaning and cooking along with her challenging work. Despite the workload, Nusrat says her new job has given her unmatched confidence. She is definitely a woman to be celebrated and take inspiration from.

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