Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad

Below is the original, unabridged version of the article published in The News, Jun 9, 2011, with the somewhat misleading heading Pakistan’s secular martyrs (not all those killed for defending the values discussed in the article were ‘secular’).

'Waja': Prof. Saba Dashtiary, Balochistan University

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Beena Sarwar

The murder of professor Saba Dashtiyari in Quetta last week, coming on the heels the killing of investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad, is yet another sign of an ongoing ‘genocide’ of progressive Pakistani intellectuals and activists. ‘Genocide’ generally means the deliberate destruction of an ethnic group or tribe. In this context, it applies to the tribe of Pakistanis who have publicly proclaimed or implicitly practiced the enlightenment agenda of freedom of conscience. They may have very different, even opposing, political views but they are people who are engaged knowingly or unknowingly with spreading ‘enlightenment’ values. Continue reading

Campaign against the genocide of progressive Pakistanis

Prof. Nazima Talib of Balochistan University

Prof Saba Dashtiyara 'Waja' of Balochistan University

Prof. Saba Dashtiary of Balochistan University

Modified from a post just sent to my yahoogroup: We need a campaign against the genocide of progressive Pakistani intellectuals and activists at the hands of those who have been distorting religion for political purposes, criminal and ethnic mafias. One or other of these elements is responsible for the murders of Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Naeem Sabir (HRCP coordinator in Khuzdar, Balochistan), former senator Habib Jalib of Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal),  Saleem Shehzad and Prof. Dashtiyari. Baloch journalists killed include: Rehmatullah Shaeen, Ejaz Raisani, Lala Hameed Hayatan, Ilyas Nazar, Mohammad Khan Sasoil and Siddiq Eido and Abdus Rind. Also the fisherfolk leaders Haji Ghani and Abu Bakar spearheading a movement against the land mafia; Nisar Baloch who was fighting against the land mafia in Karachi; Latifullah Khan, the Communist Party member from Dir, and Nazima Talib, the professor of Balochistan University shot dead a year ago, and so many others. Continue reading

Balochistan: Condemn the target killing of Nazima Talib

Quetta University teachers protest against Nazima Talib's murder. Photo courtesy Dawn

Another senseless death. Photo: courtesy BBC

Elaborating on the note posted to my yahoogroup this morning:
Condemn the cold-blooded target killing of Prof. Nazima Talib, gunned down while on her way in a rickshaw to the Department of Mass Communications of Balochistan University where she taught for 23 years. BLA claims credit… How can they hope to succeed if they kill educationists? Her murder is a devastating reminder of how the innocent pay for the political ambitions of the ruthless.

See also reports in CriticalPPP on the murder of Prof. Nazima Talib and report in Dawn today about the professor’s burial in Karachi. She leaves behind an elderly widowed mother and a son, 24.

HRCP says: “It is unfortunate that most of senior Baloch leaders have not condemned these ruthless killings strongly enough, some of them present conspiracy theories to divert the blame from the Baloch organisations… The discontent among the Baloch youth could not be assuaged though several months passed since the government made commitments to take measures to win over the Baloch nationalists, especially the young Baloch, under the Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan Package. The murder of the woman teacher at the Balochistan University should serve as a reminder to the powers that be that they need to act immediately and decisively to make things improve in the Balochistan province”. Complete statement at HRCP blog

TALES OF DEPRIVATION IN MINERAL-RICH PROVINCE in The Daily Tawar, Baluchistan, translation posted at NewAgeIslam

The Baloch people have a right to self-determinationA damning indictment of Pakistan’s continued military presence and human rights violations in Balochistan by the British activist Peter Tatchell, advocating Balochistan’s right to self-determination in Opendemocracy (thanks Anthony Barnett for flagging this)

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