Nazo Dharejo

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Nazo Dharejo (Sindhi: نازُو ڌَاريجو, born 1976/1977, also known as Naz Mukhtiar Dharejo and as Waderi Nazo Dharejo) is a Pakistani activist and politician. Her defense of her agricultural land against male relatives inspired her moniker "Pakistan's toughest woman" and also the 2017 film My Pure Land.[1]


Nazo Dharejo's father Haji Khuda Buksh Khan Dharejo was a landlord from a Zamindar family that owned agricultural land in Pakistan's Sindh Province. Nazo Dharejo is his oldest daughter with his second wife Waderi Jamzadi. She was born in a haveli in Qazi Ahmed.[2][3]

Haji Khuda Baksh hired tutors for his daughters, so Nazo Dharejo learned Urdu and English in addition to Sindhi. She then earned her Bachelor of Arts in economics at Sindh University.[1]

Haji Khuda Baksh taught his daughters as well as his son to use firearms in case they might need to defend the family's land.[4] The father of Haji Khuda Baksh (Nazo Dharejo's grandfather) had four wives and several other sons. The grandfather's death created strong disputes about inheritance.[2] After Nazo Dharejo's only brother was killed, and her father was jailed, some male relatives tried to take over the land where Nazo Dharejo was living with her mother and sisters. Instead of yielding the land, Nazo Dharejo with her sisters and her husband Zulfiqar Dharejo (they are first cousins) defended themselves by shooting at their attackers.[2]

Then Nazo Dharejo's male relatives recruited 200 dacoits to attack the farm at night, in August 2005.[5] Nazo Dharejo led the armed defense against them, firing her Kalashnikov rifle when they tried to approach the buildings. According to the Singapore Straits Times: "The gunfight which followed earned her the moniker 'Pakistan's toughest woman'".[1] In legal battles that followed these armed attacks, Dharejo and her family won half a million rupees (S$6,459) in compensation.[1]

Nazo Dharejo has been active in politics with the PML-N party under the name Mukhtiar Nazo Dharejo. In 2013, she was listed as one of the women on their reserved seats for Sindh.[6]

My Pure Land[edit]

After reading a 2012 newspaper article titled "Meet Nazo Dharejo: The toughest woman in Sindh," British-Pakistani filmmaker Sarmad Masud wanted to make a movie about her defense of her family's land. The movie was filmed in Urdu rather than Sindhi.[7] Sindhi classical dancer Suhaee Abro played the lead role of Nazo Dharejo. Masud describes the film as "a modern-day feminist Western set in Pakistan, based on the extraordinary true story of one woman and her family who defended their home and land from 200 bandits."[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Story of Pakistani woman who faced down 200 armed men now bidding for Oscars glory". Straits Times. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2019. A five-year legal battle over the land eventually saw her foes pay half a million rupees (S$6,459) in compensation and offer a public apology - an act of utmost disgrace in rural Pakistan...She persuaded her father to allow her and her sisters to study English, which paved the way for her to gain her Bachelor of Arts in economics at Sindh University, where she could study at home and appear in public only for the exams...Soon neighbours began to speak of her as "Waderi", a new feminine version of the male honorific "Wadera" meaning something akin to a feudal "Lady".
  2. ^ a b c Imtiaz, Saba (17 June 2012). "Meet Nazo Dharejo: The toughest woman in Sindh". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 16 January 2019. He dressed the girls in men’s clothing and gave them male names — Nazo’s was Mukhtiar — and taught them how to use the guns he owned.
  3. ^ "Ms Mukhtar Naz Dharejo Interview". Rights Now Pakistan. 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2019. She is considered a local legend due to her bold stance on dealing with her ongoing battle to protect her land from people who are attempting to grab her agricultural land; She is always armed with a single Kalashnikov for her safety, whenever she makes rounds on her land. In the two decades she is looking after her land whilst supervising her workforce, making sure that land is productive and profitable. She is also taking part in politics and supports PML-N. Her long term goal is to become the Chief Minister of Sindh.
  4. ^ Iqbal, Nosheen (2017-09-07). "'Anything is possible in Pakistan – but everything is impossible': Sarmad Masud on filming My Pure Land". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  5. ^ "British Council Film: My Pure Land". Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  6. ^ Chandio, Ramzan (5 April 2013). "PML-N women workers burst against 'nepotism' in selections". NAWAIWAQT GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS. The Nation. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  7. ^ Safdar, Anealla (2 October 2017). "Sarmad Masud on feminism, My Pure Land, and Pakistan". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 7 December 2018. Hailed as a groundbreaking Pakistani feminist western, My Pure Land tells the tale of Nazo Dhajero, the most powerful force of a female trio fighting to protect the family home as her father and brother languish in jail.
  8. ^ Carter, Ashley (7 September 2017). "Interview: My Pure Land director Sam Masud". LeftLion. Retrieved 29 December 2018.