In a Taliban hotbed, a woman runs for Pakistan's parliament
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
Badam Zari, a candidate for upcoming Pakistani general elections speaks to potential voters during her campaign on April 2.
- Badam Zari is running for Pakistan's parliament in a Taliban hotbed
- Her platform includes better services and education for girls
- "I am standing for a noble cause with a clean heart," she says
- She's the first woman to seek office in the federal tribal districts
(CNN) -- Badam Zari is a novelty in the tribal districts of northern Pakistan.
Like many women in the towns along the Afghan border, the 38-year-old Zari has only a grade-school education. But unlike others before her, she's taking her frustrations with conditions in her hometown into the political arena.
Zari is the first woman to run for Pakistan's parliament from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the restive region that has become a hotbed of the Taliban. Disgusted with what she says is the failure of the established political parties to improve things, she's running as an independent.
"They kept on making promises and never fulfilled them," she said. "Each time, new promises were made, and a new person took over, and nothing happened -- we just kept on waiting."
Opinion: Why there is no peace time for women
When election day comes in May, Zari hopes to win one of the 60 seats set aside for women in the 342-seat National Assembly. She campaigns in the traditional head-to-toe garb worn by Muslim women in Bajaur Agency, calling for peace, jobs and proper basic services -- garbage collection, electricity and clean water.
She's also an advocate of education for all children, girls as well as boys. That's a dangerous position in a region where the Taliban shot and grievously wounded a 15-year-old girl who pushed for sending girls to school.
"I have faith in God, and I know I am standing for a noble cause with a clean heart," she said. "I have nothing to be scared of."
Zari's own father forced her to drop out of school in the fifth grade. But she has been involved in local civic and charitable work, and has pondered a run for office for several years.
"The village elders did not like the fact that I walked through the town to get to school," she said. "I am now 38 years old, and I do not want any other little girls to be kept from going to school just because society doesn't think it is right or proper."
She also has the support of her husband, Sultan Mohammed, a school teacher. He said he knows his wife's life could be in danger, but believes God will give him strength and her success.
"I am very happy that she has decided to stand in the elections," he said. "I have promised her that I will do whatever she wants me to do in support of her."
Part of complete coverage on
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
April 27, 1994: Nelson Mandela's crowning moment and the day South Africa held its first elections for citizens of every race.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
His was a great sense of humor, with a dry wit and remarkable ability to render someone speechless with a well-placed one-liner.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Mohammed Jamjoon interviews the American performer who stunned the Arab world by singing in Arabic.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies. Here are 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Mandela.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
"Sometimes it just takes one incident to galvanize a society," says CNN's Sumnima Udas.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Drones hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball. These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
The mysterious "catacomb saints" were venerated by the Catholic Church and encrusted with gold and jewels -- before disappearing for centuries.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
The KAZA conservation area is working to make it easier to cross borders.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
He started his first business venture with capital of just $200 but today, he is one of Liberia's most prominent businessmen.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, says human rights group Amnesty International.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Meet 24-year-old Marita Cheng: the talented technician bringing robots to your home.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Japanese blogger Keisuke Jinushi started the "hitori date" (one-man date) blog two years ago.
Today's five most popular stories