Jennifer Musa


She dedicated her life to a tribe in Baluchistan Known as 'Mummy Jennifer' who married the scion of a noble Pathan family that played a key role in bringing the oil-rich province of Baluchistan into Pakistan after its creation in 1947. She founded an ice factory, became the first woman member of the national assembly from her province, and later acted as an intermediary for rebels who staged an armed uprising against the federal government. Mummy Jennifer joined the now defunct National Awami Party (NAP) of the nationalist Wali Khan. In 1970 she won a seat in the national assembly. She founded the area's first women's association and its first family planning clinic. She was a proud signatory of Pakistan's 1973 constitution. When Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto crushed a Baluch insurgency during the 1970s Jennifer acted as a conduit for messages from the rebel leadership and jailed fighters to their families. During the 1980s she worked among Afghan refugees who flocked to Pishin due to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She promoted literacy for women. She dispensed favours, settled dispute and signed chits for tribesmen who gathered at her gate. Jennifer's funeral procession was attended by thousands turbaned Pathans (many of them allied to the Taliban) who raised cheers of Mummy Jennifer! in her honour as the cortege passed through a shuttered Pishin. Born Bridget Wren at Tarmons, Co Kerry (Ireland) she later changed her name to Jennifer and left for England to train as a nurse. In 1939 she met Qazi Muhammad Musa, from Baluchistan, in Oxford. She took her name of Jahan Zeba and they married in 1940. The couple arrived in Pakistan in 1948 and settled with the family stronghold at Pishin, 30 miles of Quetta.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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