Posted on January 15, 2017 by beenasarwar
Lahore protest. Photo: Khalid Mahmood
January 15, 2017 marks just over two weeks since the professor, poet and activist Salman Haider was abducted from Islamabad, followed soon after by more such “disappearances”. Human rights activists around the world are demanding that Pakistan produce the missing bloggers and end the climate of fear being created. Disappearing activists is not a new tactic, as Pervez Hoodbhoy reminds us – been happening with alarming regularity in Balochistan. But these abductions happened in Punjab. Meanwhile, the propaganda machinery of the dirty tricks brigade (#DTBPk) is out in full force painting as ‘blasphemers’ and ‘traitors’ the missing bloggers and those supporting them – which in the context of Pakistan is a clear incitement to violence and vigilante action. Below: photographs from some of the protests – Peshawar, Toba Tek Singh, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Dallas TX and London, England. Continue reading
Filed under: Human rights, Violence in the name of religion | Tagged: #DTBPk, Activism, Dallas TX, dirty tricks brigade, karachi, Lahore, London, missing bloggers, Pakistan, peshawar, toba tek singh | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 31, 2016 by beenasarwar
London Declaration for Pluralism and Democracy in Pakistan
October 29, 2016
Several prominent liberal, progressive and nationalist intellectuals, human rights and social media activists, and public figures from Pakistan gathered in London for a conference on ‘The Future of Pakistan’ organized under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), co-hosted by US-based columnist Dr Mohammad Taqi and former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani.
Filed under: Human rights, Progressive politics | Tagged: Balochistan, fata, Human rights, London Declaration, Pakistan, rule of law | 6 Comments »
Posted on October 24, 2016 by beenasarwar
A slightly revised version of my article in The News on Sunday on Oct. 23, 2016, posted here with additional links and photos. The world watches as the last three polio endemic countries strive to relegate the crippling virus to history
Polio survivors Ramesh Ferris and Minda Dentler share their experiences – and dreams about a polio-free world. Photos: Beena Sarwar
“In 1955 Dr Jonas Salk invented the preventive vaccine. It is outrageous that 25 years later I contracted polio,” says author and global health advocate Ramesh Ferris.
Standing on his good leg, a crutch compensating for the paralysed one in braces, eyes gleaming behind black-rimmed glasses, Ferris passionately addresses the audience of about a hundred physicians, scientists and international diplomats. They include representatives from the world’s three remaining polio endemic countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Continue reading
Filed under: Health, Human rights | Tagged: Afghanistan, CDC, Gates Foundation, Global Citizens, Minda Dentler, Nigeria, Pakistan, polio, Ramesh Ferris, unicef, World Polio Day | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 6, 2016 by beenasarwar
“Secret” – fine art photo by Ali Mehdi Zaidi
The struggle of Muslim homosexuals in Pakistan, South Asia, or as expatriates is not just about LGBTQ rights but part of the larger fight for inclusion and pluralism within Islam. My essay published in The Boston Globe Ideas section (July 31, 2016) on South Asian and Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality, reproduced below with additional links, info and photos, as well as parts not included in the final published version. The attack in the Orlando gay nightclub put the spotlight not just on the perpetrator, but his victims — Muslim gay (queer) folk who are particularly vulnerable to homophobia besides facing as Islamophobia in the West, and receiving little or no support from the Muslim community at home and abroad. Plus they are now increasingly being targeted by extremists claiming legitimacy from Islam. Thanks to all those who took the time to speak to me, gave me feedback and entrusted me with their stories, and to the Boston Globe editors for their empathy and openness. Continue reading
Filed under: Art and activism, Culture, Human rights, Islam, Southasia | Tagged: Deepa Mehta, Eiynah, Fawad Khan, Fire, gay rights, hijra, Islam and homosexuality, Kapoor and Sons, khwaja sera, Muslim LGBTQ, My Beautiful Laundrette, My Chacha is Gay, Orlando attack, Purdah, religion and homosexuality, Transgenders | 4 Comments »
Posted on July 22, 2016 by beenasarwar
Dr Govinda KC: fighting for pro-poor medical reforms
UPDATE: Sign the online petition
“If South Asia has a viable public health icon after the passing of Edhi in Pakistan, this man is it,” says a Nepali friend.
Dr. Govinda KC is a man who is considered a saint in Nepal – a middle-class doctor who on his own expense offers medical help wherever there is a disaster: Haiti, the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan, Bangladesh floods.
By all accounts an incredible human being, he is entering the third week of his hunger strike, a fast unto the death for reforms in the medical education sector. His demands: lower the cost of medical education and create a public health system that allows access of all to quality care, in the place of Nepal’s present highly privatised and centralised system. Continue reading
Filed under: Education, Health, Human rights | Tagged: corruption, democracy, Dr Govinda KC, Dr KC, health care, health reforms, Lok Man Singh Karki, medical education, Nepal | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2016 by beenasarwar
Women and men in Peshawar protest Qandeel Baloch’s murder. Photo via Javed Aziz Khan
Pakistani model and social media icon Qandeel Baloch rocked the boat with outrageous antics like offering to strip if Shahid Afridi led the Pakistan cricket team to victory against India in the T20 match a few months ago. Yesterday, her brother in Multan strangled her to death in apparently because she was bringing a bad name to the family — a family she financially supported. Continue reading
Filed under: Gender, Human rights | Tagged: Gender, Malala Yousufzai, Mukhtiar Mai, Qandeel Baloch, VAW | Leave a comment »