A Pakistani who flaunts her love for the Bangladeshi flag

Athlete Imranur Rahman with his wife Hafsa and daughter Abha.Prothom Alo

When others were celebrating Bangladesh’s fastest man Imranur Rahman's achievement by lifting him up, Hafsa Mazhar was enjoying the scene from the other side of the glass of the VIP gallery.

After a while, Hafsa came down to the lush green of Banani Army Stadium with her sleeping daughter Abha-Noor Rahman, curled up inside the baby sitter.

She started recording the celebrations of the winning athletes of Banglabandhu 46th National Athletics Championship at Bangladesh Army Stadium on her mobile phone.

Hafsa’s roots go back to Gujar Khan village in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi. Despite of her Pakistani origin, Hafsa possess a strong bond for Bangladesh now as her husband Imranur is a Bangladeshi.

Hafsa’s father Mazir Iqbal is a British citizen but her mother Gulshan Begum was born in Pakistan. Her parents Mazir Iqbal and Gulshan Begum got married in 1992 and then moved to England. That’s where Hafsa was born and brought up.

Hafsa completed her studies also in England. However, Hafsa often visits Pakistan for her ancestral ties. Currently, she’s working as a nurse at a hospital in England.

Hafsa met Imranur while studying in the university. Later in 2018, they got married. And two years ago, Hafsa gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Abha.

Hafsa has brought her daughter to Bangladesh this time to make her acquainted with her father’s homeland.

Hafsa is extremely elated to visit Bangladesh for the first time. She said, “I was a bit hesitated at first when I learnt of our visit here. But in the last couple of days, I’ve been amazed at the love and hospitality shown by Bangladeshi people."

"The athletes and officials of the Army are all very sincere. I am thrilled. It’s a wonderful experience," she continued.

Imranur has won the best athlete award in the male category in this year's national athletics championship. After 100 metre sprint, he also won the gold in 200 metre for the first time in his career. Plus, he has won silver for Army in 4x100 metre relay.

Athlete Imranur Rahman with his wife Hafsa and daughter Abha.
Prothom Alo

Hafsa is delighted with Imranur's achievement, “When my husband became the fastest man, it was a proud moment. All my family members are very happy with his achievement. It’s a huge success for Bangladesh as well.”

Hafsa considers herself a Bangladeshi already. When Imranur represent Bangladesh in different international games and there’s the Bangladeshi national flag imprinted on his jersey, it touches Hafsa.

“I believe myself to be a Bangladeshi in heart. When the Bangladeshi flag flutters on foreign soil, I feel immensely proud. I feel very lucky to be with him,” she said.

Imranur participated in the 100 metre sprint at Birmingham Commonwealth Games last July. Hafsa witnessed Imranur running from the gallery.  

In her words, “Birmingham is my own city. Many of us including my family members had gone to watch him sprint. Before he was running on the track for Bangladesh, the commentators introduced him.”

“As soon as we heard the name of Bangladesh, all of us had screamed out. It will remain a much memorable moment for me,” she added.

Imranur works at a bank in Sheffield. Alongside his job, he’s been doing regular practice to maintain his performance. Hafsa has a great contribution behind Imranur's dedication to athletics.

She said, “He invests a lot of time in practice. I always prioritise his sports over everything else. I see to it that he can fully concentrate in athletics and there’s no issue.”

Mahfuzur Rahman had won the gold in 110 metre hurdles race at 2006 Colombo SA Games. In the last 16 years, no one else has been able to get a gold medal for Bangladesh in athletics.

Hafsa however dreams big about Imranur. She is waiting for her husband to represent Bangladesh at the SA Games ahead.

*This piece originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla edition has been rewritten in English by Nourin Ahmed Monisha