Below please see a letter from Young Women of Balochistan, forwarded by a friend who received it via email on Dec 10, 2011, Human Rights Day – a day commemorated around the country and dedicated to the people of Balochistan by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (See this report by Rabia Ali). Ironically and tragically, that very day, a young Baloch human rights activist, 35-year old Faisal Mengal, was gunned down in Karachi (details in this report). As Rabia Ali reports, from July 2010 to November 2011, around 300 dead bodies were found — some even of 14-year-olds, according to Tahir Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter. Those killed include two HRCP activists, while the number of people missing range from 5,000 to 6,000. Read on for this brief appeal by the Young Women of Balochistan…
We are young women from Balochistan, belonging to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Khuzdaar, Lasbella, Sibi, and Qila Saifullah.
On International Human Rights day, we want to send forward our message.
Each of us has horror stories; each of us has lived through nightmares. We want to tell you our fears.
We want to tell you that we no longer sleep at night. Because we fear the midnight knock. We don’t sleep in the day either, because when men we love go out, we don’t know if they will ever come back or not.
We want to tell you that when our loved ones ‘disappear’, we don’t know what to pray for – whether we should pray for them to come back broken, tortured and maimed, or whether to pray for their quick and painless death. We know unharmed return is not a possibility.
We fear that our daily battles for dignity within our homes and communities will be lost; that our fight for equality and progress will vanish in our fight for survival as an ethnic group.
We fear our own blindness.
We fear the Frontier Constabulary, the army, the state, and the ‘unknown assailants’ that all FIRs record. We have now started to fear ourselves. We fear that years later, when others tell us ‘We didn’t know what was happening in Balochistan’, we will not be able to accept that.
We fear we will lose our capacity to forgive.
We need you to help us fight our fears.
We ask you to help us fight for our future. A future in which the FC and the army does not rule over our lives and deaths.
We want to attend universities, not funerals.
From: Young Women of Balochistan