‘An honest Pakistan is a better Pakistan’: the ‘unsilencing’ idea and the ongoing intellecticide

I wrote this piece last week for EPW – Economic and Political Weekly, India; reproduced below with photos and additional links. “Unsilencing Pakistan” was an idea first articulated in 2011. It has been revived following the recent murder of Sabeen Mahmud, who had attempted to create a space where Pakistanis could discuss contentious issues–like the human rights violations […]

“Unsilencing Pakistan” and the ongoing “intellecticide”

In the summer of 2011, young academic Nosheen Ali, and journalists Sahar Habib Ghazi and Malik Siraj Akbar approached me to work on a new initiative they called “Unsilencing Pakistan” that aimed to make an online record of all the journalists, activists, and thinkers in Pakistan who have been harassed, tortured, and/or executed. I had […]

Pakistan #Intellecticide: Vigils for Sabeen – who was she and why was she killed?

Vigils and protests for our slain comrade and friend Sabeen Mahmud are taking place in different cities of Pakistan and around the world. Anyone is welcome to submit online responses to the blog Sabeen Mahmud: A Tribute. In Boston, students have organized a vigil for Sabeen on Tuesday, April 28, 7.30 pm at the John Harvard statue in […]

Targeting of Marvi Sirmed latest in attacks on human rights activists, journalists, in Pakistan

Journalists in Pakistan are under increasing pressure, besides severe, ongoing censorship. The break in to columnist and activist Marvi Sirmed’s house and its ransacking is the latest in the series of intimidation, threats and violence to those who uphold democratic values and are critical of the security establishment.

Behind criminal acts motivated by religion, bigotry, misogyny, lies fear of change

My piece for The Wire on the assassination of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, that reminded me of the target-killing of my friend, activist Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi. I traced the patterns and similarity behind these murders. A spoke in the wheel of this “intellecticide” is the ‘anti-intellectual’ nature of the vote for Donald Trump […]

Sabeen Mahmud: Inclusive spaces and #tree4Sabeen

In Karachi last week, I wrote about Sabeen Mahmud and the Creative Karachi Festival held to commemorate her life and work. PRI published it with the title Remembering a Pakistani woman who died because she wanted everyone to have a space to speak freely along with my radio interview with Marco Werman of PRI’s The World. Below […]

Please, not Sabeen. And no, that won’t shut us up.

In shock and grieved beyond words at this horrible news that our dear friend and comrade Sabeen Mahmud has been shot dead, her mother in critical condition in hospital. They were returning from the event Unsilencing Balochistan (Take 2) held at The Second Floor (T2F) [NOTE: the facebook event link posted above mysteriously disappeared then reappeared]. It was tremendously […]

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

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’). Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs Beena Sarwar The murder of professor Saba Dashtiyari in Quetta last week, coming on the heels […]

Communist Party member Latifullah Khan murdered

Comrade Latifullah Khan, 36, belonged to District Dir upper. He was an educationist and the one enlightened person in the education department consisting mostly of obscurantists. Comrade Latifullah was an active progressive student leader and a member of the district cell of the Progressive Pukhtoonkhwa Front (linked to the Communist Party of Pakistan).