Although most of her people do not know their president has been married for 14 years since the Afghans rarely see their first lady, it doesn’t mean she does not exist.
Meet 43-year-old Zeenat Quraishi Karzai. Her last name Karzai makes her the wife of Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan for the last 12 years.
Even though her husband has been incredibly recognized not only by his country but by international entities for ending the Taliban regime back in 2001 , his wife Zeenat has been rarely seen outside the presidential Palace, located in Kabul where she has been living for more than seven years.
The 12th president of Afghanistan has been dear to his people being consequently chosen for several periods in office.; crediting to his name the rapid growth of the economy of Afghanistan; not without a few controversies along the way.
But what do we know about his wife Zeenat?
She has been called “Hamid Karzai’s invisible wife” “Afghanistan’s invisible first lady” It’s sad to see some things never change huh! In the present days It’s common and almost expected a first lady will have a more active role along her husband and engaged in several social activities but this is not the case.
Zeenat who is a gynecologist by profession was born in Kandahar, a southern city. Her career allowed her to work in hospitals treating Afghan refugees after she and her family left their city to live in Quetta, Pakistan due to the civil war back in 1993.
Zeenat Quraishi attended Kabul University, she belongs to the Quraish family and is actually a distant relative of her husband. Dr. Zeenat is the daughter of a civil servant. She wed Karzai in an arranged ceremony
Zeenat has been heavily criticized for not making efforts for women’s rights in her country, that so desperate need education in their civil rights and medical care. She says:
“It is hard that to be monitored 24 hours a day.
Referring to the four security check points, two body searches and a secret code word that takes her outside the presidential palace! Before the 2004 presidential election she used to go out alone but that is not an option anymore.
Zeenat lives in an apartment inside the Palace along with the president and their two children. The couple’s eldest son was born in 2007, a boy named Mirwais Karzai.
Her name can also be found as Zenat and Zinat. Do you think she would ever make a significant public appearance or her role as a stayed-home mom and tabooed culture will prevail? Could she take that risk as many other women in her country have? Is she just too comfortable or too afraid?