With the boys' junior weightlifting title under her belt, Pakay decided to enter a boys' squash tournament. Her disguise was scuppered by bureaucracy.
"My dad said, 'This ... that's my son,' " Pakay recalled of the moment her father presented her to be registered. But the official dropped a bombshell. "He said, 'OK, we need the birth certificate, too.' "
Shams-Ul Wazir decided to come clean, and entered her in the girls' competitions. She destroyed the opposition and, at the age of 15, was national champion. It was then that the trouble started.
"I found a letter on the windshield of my car. It was signed by the name of 'Taliban,' " her father said.
"They told me -- they threatened me -- 'Stop your girl from playing squash because it is bringing a bad name to our culture and to Islam.' They told me, 'If you do not do this then you will have to suffer very bad consequences.'
"I ignored that threat ... (but) we were very much concerned that she might get shot or she might get kidnapped."
The warning terrified Pakay. Scared for the safety of her family, she decided not play in public.
"I told my dad that I might need a gun. I don't know what to do," she said. "He said, 'It's your decision. I never stopped you from anything. You wanna play or not?'
"Squash is everything for me. And I know that when a girl is kidnapped, it's the biggest dishonor. I'm not gonna bring dishonor for them, ever."
So Pakay played in the house, lonely and miserable. From dusk until dawn she hit the ball against the wall with her "Jonathan Power" racket. Her father knew that if he wanted his daughter to realize her potential, she had to leave Pakistan.
"He said, 'Okay, if you wanna play, just leave the country. That's all you can do.' "
The Power of persistence
Pakay agreed. For three long years she would write to everyone. Clubs, players, educational institutions. Nothing. But then, when she was 18 years old, she received her only reply. She recognized the name. It was the same name that graced her first racket: that of former world champion Jonathan Power.
"I couldn't believe that there was a woman squash player from Waziristan, let alone, one that could actually play," said Power of the day he received Pakay's email.
Power retired at the top of his game, as number one in the world. He never left squash. Instead he set up a national academy in his home town of Toronto, looking to find talent in people from places squash rarely reaches. Pakay's letter melted him. It read:
I'm Maria Toor Pakay Wazir. I belong to South Waziristan agency of Pakistan's tribal areas on the Pak-Afghan border. South Waziristan one of Pakistan's most turbulent tribal agencies and the home to Taliban is also my home. Here girls of my age are passing their lives in such miserable conditions.
They are restricted to four walls despite having the desire to come out of the Stone Age and get assimilated with the rest of the world.
I will be waiting for your positive response.
Maria Toor Pakay Wazir, professional squash player.
Power was moved to reply, and soon Pakay was on a flight to Canada.
"It's unbelievable," he said.
"She left on just hope, on a one-way ticket and 200 bucks on an email promise from me."