What’s the best way to deal with failure?
There is no such thing as failure. If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. At some point you will succeed or learn enough not to need that success.
What sparked your interest in politics?
I come from a political family of Bahawalpur and was married into one. My husband was one of the youngest members of the National Assembly and his grandfather was ex – prime minister Malik Firoz Khan Noon.
How has Pakistan changed over the years?
Our population has been growing at an amazing rate but unfortunately our financial infrastructure and services sectors haven’t followed suit. This is one of our many challenges but the growing middle class is a positive sign. So are the recent foreign investment activities the current government has achieved.
What do you have to say about the current status of women in Pakistan and what can be done to change that?
Unfortunately, women in Pakistan are often victimised and remain unaware of tthat. There are many laws regarding women in place but we need to chase their implementation. Most importantly, we need to provide education for our girls.
Many men claim women can’t be equals. What do you have to say to them?
I can only ask these men to notice that our female enrollment and achievements in colleges is fast outdoing that of men. Not to mention in many rural areas, women work alongside and often more than the men, as labour and animal caregivers. This is in addition to being homemakers and responsible mothers.
How does it feel to a member of Punjab Assembly?
Being a member of the Punjab Assembly was a humbling experience and representing the people of the Punjab is a great honour.
Where do you see the country in the next 5 to 10 years?
I see Pakistan as emerging from a long period of stagnation and hope that the work the government is doing will have come to fruition. Pakistan will be viewed very differently internationally and domestically.
You also work as a designer at the House of Kamiar Rokni. What sparked your interest in fashion?
I co-own and co-design at Kamiar Rokni. For me, my mother was the original designer: she sold clothes in London during the 80’s so I grew up with fashion. I had originally started The Linen House as a social entrepreneurship but my designs led to clothing as well and ultimately, to my own studio. It was a natural progression for my cousin Kamiar and me to join hands post his Karma era.
Looking back over your career, what do you think is your best work?
Personally my best work was establishing The Linen House. I started with very limited funds but with the support of family, I was able to make it grow.
Any advice for women aspiring for a career in the field of politics?
My advice for women is that they must take up causes that apply to everyone, regardless of gender.
Tahia Noon is a Member of Punjab Assembly and a fashion entreprenuer
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, July 27th, 2014.