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KARACHI: Sharing important moments of their lives spent in this city, six ‘Wonder Women’ of Karachi inspired a jam-packed audience on the IBA’s City Campus on Friday as a part of the I Am Karachi (IAK) Talks.

Actress and model Nadia Hussain, model and artist Sarwat Gilani, photojournalist Khaula Jamil, actress/model Sanam Saeed, banker Sima Kamil and TV network owner Sultana Siddiqui struck a chord with the audience as they spoke about their goals and struggles.

Nadia Hussain, besides being an actress, model, fashion designer and owner of a salon, is a dentist. She was in her first year of dental school when she got into modelling. But before that she remembered how it was like growing up in Seaview Township. “It was a carefree life. I would walk to the Beachview Club to play tennis, cycle to another club for swimming, walk my dog, go for a jog on the beach early morning,” she said. Born in the UK, Nadia came to Karachi at the age of four.

Sarwat Gilani, another model and artist, said her maternal grandfather gave up all his riches to come to Pakistan after Partition. She said her mother taught her about integrity, modesty and courage and her father taught her to be responsible and independent. The three role models in her life, she said, became her three pillars of strength as she stepped into showbiz.

Jamiluddin Aali’s granddaughter Khaula Jamil, a photojournalist, on the lines of Humans of New York started Humans of Karachi, which had her break several stereotypes as she reclaimed her city.

Sanam Saeed spoke about how it was growing up in a posh locality of Karachi but refusing to live in that bubble. The push came from her spirited Memon mother, who made sure that her children experienced life like any commoner.

Sima Kamil, the president and CEO of United Bank Limited, then came up to share her story.

The daughter of a Muslim father and Christian mother she spoke about how the city tolerated her.

Keynote speaker Sultana Siddiqui said that all the wonder women who spoke before her had one thing in common — the confidence given to them by their parents. She said her mother wanted her to become a doctor but she wanted to follow in her big brother’s footsteps and appear for the CSS examination. But one had to be 21 years old at least in order to sit for the exam and she was married before that.

The marriage did not work and her family was there to lend support to her and her three children but she wanted to do something on her own. Even when she got into TV she got encouragement from her eldest brother who would pick and drop her to work. That’s how she went from compering to becoming a director and producer while also taking care of her children and getting into several business ventures. Today her children are her pillars of strength with the youngest of them being her CEO.

Earlier, I Am Karachi’s director Amin Hashwani and executive director Ambreen Kazim Thompson briefed the audience on IAK Talks.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2017