Afghan Biographies

Atmar, Noorzia Mrs. Noorziya

Name Atmar, Noorzia Mrs. Noorziya
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1973
Function/Grade Ex MP MNA
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Wolesi Jirga Member 2005 MP MNA Nangahar

3. Biodata
Atmar NoorziaMrs. Noorziya Atmar Noor Zoa Atmar  was born 1973 in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan. She is a former journalist.

It was a difficult time for Atmar’s family. Her father, an engineer, had died when she was young, but her mother had fought hard so that she might receive an education. Those years helped her develop the mental toughness necessary to become a campaigner in a conservative country.

The family fled to Pakistan on the day the Taliban marched into Kabul - along with millions of Afghan refugees - returning only after they were ousted by the US-led invasion that followed al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks in 2001.

She first worked for community groups, travelling to remote villages to help women find education and health care.

Then came elections in 2005, under a new constitution that was drafted with American guidance and which guaranteed the rights of women and minorities. At the time, the polls were hailed as a decisive break with the Taliban’s mindset.

More importantly, so far as Atmar was concerned, it also guaranteed a quarter of the seats for women, offering her chance to take her local message of women’s empowerment to a much wider audience.

Her campaign was run on a tight budget. At one point she sold a gold necklace to keep things moving but managed to win a seat in the women’s section.

She helped push through landmark legislation banning 22 acts of violence against women and still has the visa stamps in her passport from her visits to the UK, India, Turkey and France where — along with other female legislators — she was welcomed as the embodiment of the new Afghanistan.

But things began to change for her and for Afghanistan, she said, at about the same time she got married, towards the end of her five-year term as an MP.

Unable to compete with her rivals’ war chests in what she said was an increasingly corrupt campaign, she lost her bid for re-election in 2010. And it gradually became clear that her husband, a businessman who she had hoped would support her career, did not share her ideals.

Informal approaches to the British embassy had ended with a curt message that asylum was not available for victims of domestic abuse.

The Spokeswoman of Estiqlal-e-Milli – (National Independence Group), was Noorzia Atmar, MP from Nangarhar.

Shortly after losing her place in the national parliament, Atmar ran into trouble at home. After divorcing her abusive husband, she was spurned by her own family and forced to seek refuge in a discreetly located shelter in Kabul for abused women and girls. Atmar says her husband, Toryalai Malakzai, initially seemed open-minded about her political ambitions. The couple married in 2010, while Atmar was vying for reelection as a member of parliament from the eastern province of Nangarhar. But soon after she failed to win reelection she was confined to her home, and on the rare occasions she was allowed to venture outside, her husband forced her to wear an all-covering burqa. Atmar fled home after Malakzai stabbed her and threatened to kill her six months ago (20130200). Atmar now commutes between the shelter and her job in a vehicle provided by the government, for which she works as an adviser. She says she fears becoming the victim of a so-called honor killing carried out by her husband or her own family. (20130721)

It is said she supported ultraconservative islamic elements in Wolesi Jirga. A number of these women members of parliament like Safora Niazi, Noorzia Atmar, Parveen Durani, Shakeela Hashmi, Malalai Isaqzai etc. are so shameless that they clearly overtook blood suckers like Sayyaf, Rabbani, Alam Seya, Farooqi and others in physically attacking Malalai Joya inside the parliament, a female critic of Atmar said.

Last Modified 2013-08-11
Established 2009-10-12