Islamabad: Pakistani female biker, Guliafshan Tariq, is on a solo motorbike ride with a mission. “This ride is dedicated to Pakistan and its strong women, especially rural women who are the real face of women empowerment,” Tariq told Gulf News before embarking on the tour from Islamabad.
The 26-year-old biker aims to travel across Punjab province to be the voice of Pakistan’s remarkable yet unheard women who are backbone of the country’s agri-economy. “During the bike ride, I will share not only the beauty of the Punjab region but the voices of countryside women whose incredible contribution to economy and society remains unknown and unseen.” She will be chronicling the trip on her social media pages.
Sporting a black jacket with gloves and helmet on, Tariq started the ride on March 8 from Islamabad city. “This ride is dedicated to both Pakistan and Pakistani women. This is why I set out on International Women’s Day (March 8) to pay tribute to all women and would conclude on Pakistan Day (March 23) which is a special day for all Pakistanis”.
The ride will take about 16 days during which she will cover almost 1,500km, riding across eight major cities of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad as well as several towns and villages.
Tariq holds three national records including a 2015 cycling journey from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass, the world’s highest border crossing at 16,000 feet. At the age of 24, she entered the National Book of Records by becoming only woman to have travelled to every district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) alone on a motorbike covering 3,000km in 20 days. The adventurist also successfully attempted solo paragliding flight in Qaqlasht Plains from height of 7,800 feet in 2017.
The Pakistani biker who hails from Sargodha, Punjab province, is a software engineer by profession and a biker by passion. Tariq draws inspiration from her father’s travels over the world, which enthused her to travel alone. Although her family was a little reluctant at first about her riding alone “but now they are fully supportive”, she said smilingly looking at her brother who accompanied her at the starting point for the ride in Islamabad.
Talking to Gulf News, she recalled that one of the highlights of her bike trips was meeting people along the way. When she rode across KP province alone, many locals mistook her for a foreigner. “It was probably because of my bike and outfit, otherwise women do ride bikes in Pakistan,” she explained. “But when I talked to them in Urdu, they were extremely welcoming. They made my trip memorable.” But what made her excursions remarkable was meeting the women in rural areas. “These passionate and dedicated women are the real image and spirit of Pakistan. This is why I want to show the world.”
These passionate and dedicated women are the real image and spirit of Pakistan. This is why I want to show the world.
To share the stories of women empowerment from Pakistan, Tariq is all set for the international journey. “Later this year, I have plans to ride a bike from Pakistan to Germany via Iran and Turkey. I want to take the message of peace and women empowerment from Pakistan to global level.”
P.S. There's a Dubai connection, too; she was seen on the beach at JBR soaking in the sun not too long ago.
Guliafshan Tariq holds 3 national records
1. Cycling trip from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass, world’s highest border crossing.
2. Only woman to ride a bike alone across every district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan covering 3,000km in 20 days.
3. First Pakistan girl to paraglide from above 7,800 feet.