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AFP
April 11, 2021

Hazara women strike back with martial arts

Top Story

AFP
April 11, 2021

QUETTA: Hundreds of Hazara women are learning how to deliver side-kicks and elbow blows as martial arts booms within the marginalised community.Hazaras have faced decades of sectarian violence in the southwestern city of Quetta, living in two separate enclaves cordoned off by checkpoints and armed guards to protect them.

Women must also contend with routine harassment from men, with groping commonplace in crowded markets or public transport.

"We can’t stop bomb blasts with karate, but with self-defence, I have learnt to feel confident," 20-year-old Nargis Batool told AFP.

"Everyone here knows that I am going to the club. Nobody dares say anything to me while I am out."

Up to 4,000 people are attending regular classes in more than 25 clubs in Balochistan, of which Quetta is the capital, according to Ishaq Ali, head of the Balochistan Wushu Kung Fu Association, which oversees the sport.

The city´s two largest academies, which train around 250 people each, told AFP the majority of their students were young Hazara women.