Zehra Nigah poem; Aman Ittehad 300 in Swabi; Khi rally 4.00 pm

Children with images of doves at the Aman Ittehad rally in Karachi - photo Beena Sarwar

As 2010 begins, our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, particularly those who died in violent attacks. It’s always devastating when that happens but it really hits you when you know someone affected. I can’t stop thinking about Faheem who lost his 6-year old son and 13-year old niece, and Sajid who lost his brother and bhabi…

Zehra Nigah’s powerful and moving lines penned as a high school student for the martyrs of the 1953 student movement are sadly still relevant today. She wrote down the few lines she remembered when Sharjil and I went to interview her for our documentary on the student movement to be screened on Jan 9 at the Arts Council Karachi. See scanned image in her own handwriting at the Dr Sarwar blog

The cynical message doing the rounds is that Pakistan is the only country that begins the New Year with a strike. But it is perhaps also the only country where peace and solidarity rallies are taking place under the banner of Aman Ittehad, in over FIFTY locations around the country, from Quetta and Khuzdar to Swabi and Jacobabad, Sialkot to Kurram Agency (partial list below). Participants include ‘ordinary citizens’ as well as members of activist organisations. NOTE: The Karachi rally time has been changed to 4.00 pm, at the Press Club (not 3.00 pm as earlier planned). Wear white, bring friends.

Here’s an inspiring note from Ali Asghar Khan, one of the organisers, sent at 12.30 pm today to the Aman Ittehad group

Subject: The day begins and news filters in!

“Dear friends,
Three hundred people have already gathered in Swabi, more than 500 in 
Abbottabad are at the Press Club, set to take part in a rally, groups are on 
their way to Islamabad from Murree and beyond, from Attock from Rawalpindi 
and Hasanabdal, trade unionist , lawyers, Students from Quaid-e-Azam 
University, professionals, the young and the old, both activists and 
ordinary citizens… In Mansehra, the physically challenged have also 
joined in the walk. 
News begins to filter in from different parts- a display of the resolve that 
each and every person involved with this effort has shown. Let us make today 
special as we all stand together ready to embark on a collective journey for 
peace on the first day of the ‘New Decade’.”

LOCATIONS (45 plus 8 later):

1. Karachi  – Karachi Press Club
2. Hyderabad – Hyderabad Press Club
3. Sukkur – Sukkur Press Club
4. Larkana – Nizamani Labour Hall
5. Dadu – Press Club
6. Badin – BRDS office
7. Jamshoro – To be confirmed
8. Naushero Feroz – District Press Club
9. Nawabshah – District Press Club
10. Tharparkar – District Press Club
11. Umerkot  – District Press Club
12. Jacobabad – District Press Club
13. Khairpur Mirs – District Press Club

14. Lahore – Regal Chowk
15. Multan – Qasim bela
16. Bahalwarpur –  To be confirmed
17. Faisalabad – District Court
18. Sialkot – CDC office – Head Marala
19. Gujranwala – District Court
20. Chakwal – PODA office
21. D. G. Khan – Press Club
22. R. Y. Khan-  Press Club-Khanpur
23. Khushab – District Council Plaza
24. Muzaffargarh-  Police Lines
25. Okara – Press Club
26. Pir Wadhai – To be confirmed

27. Peshawar  -Park in front of Cantt Railway Station
28. Mardan – Mardan Press Club
29. Swabi –  Press Club
30. Mingora – To be confirmed
31. Abbottabad – Jalal Baba Auditorium
32. Haripur – Afaq Hotel
33. Mansehra – Mansehra Press Club
34. Karak – To be confirmed
35. D. I. Khan – To be confirmed
36. Buner – To be confirmed

37. Mohmad Agency – Press Club-Tehsil Ghalanai
38. Khyber Agency – Press Club-Tehsil Landi Kotal
39. Kurram Agency – Tehsil Parachinar
40. Orakzai Agency – Tehsil Kurez
41. Kohat – FR Kohat city

42. Quetta – Press Club or Boys Scouts Office
43. Loralai – To be confirmed
44. Sibbi – To be confirmed

45. Islamabad – China Chowk

NOTE: The following confirmed participation later:

1. Hafizabad.              District courts  2.00 pm

2. Sheikhupura           District Couts 2.00 Pm

3. Chiniot                    District courts  3.00 pm

4. D.G.Khan               Press Club      3.00 pm

5. Gujrat                     Press club      3.00 pm

6. Mandi Bahauddin  Shah Taj Sugar Mills 2.00 pm

7. Kasur                   Press Club Bhai Phero 3.00

8. Larkana               Press club       3.00 pm

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