Relief at Zeenat Shehzadi’s recovery

Zeenat-%22Quaid and daughter of Quaid%22 2014I wrote this piece for The Wire on Oct. 24, after hearing that the young journalist-activist Zeenat Shehzadi who “disappeared” over two years ago, has been recovered. A brief re-cap of what happened and how her case is linked to that of a young Indian man whose case she had been following after his “disappearance” in Pakistan. 

Pakistani Reporter Zeenat Shahzadi, Who Disappeared While Searching for Indian Man, Reappears

The Pakistani journalist-activist – who had gone missing in August 2015 – has paid a heavy price for wanting to uphold humanitarianism and the principles of social justice.

Five days before she was due to testify before Pakistan’s Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances in August 2015, 24-year-old journalist-activist Zeenat Shahzadi herself became a disappeared person. She remained missing until her parents received word on Friday – October 19, 2017 – that she had been recovered.

Shahzadi’s mother has spoken to her and reported that she was alright. The family would like to be left alone and not pressed for more details.   [Read more…]

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Two disappearances… and a suicide

Zeenat-%22Quaid and daughter of Quaid%22 2014

Zeenat Shehzadi: “Quaid and daughter of Quaid” – her own caption, 2014.

Tragic news from Salman Lateef, brother of the young Lahore-based journalist Zeenat Shehzadi who was trying to help the Indian national Hamid Ansari in detention in Pakistan — and herself has been missing since the morning of 19 August 2015. Zeenat and Salman’s younger brother Saddam Hussain, 18 years old, who had been pining for his ‘Api’, killed himself last night – hung himself from a tree near their house. They’ve taken him to their village Sheikhupura / Manawan for burial after Friday prayers. Can’t bear to think of the parents.

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Another tragedy: Zeenat Shehzadi’s beloved younger brother Saddam Hussain, 18, missed his Api terribly. He took his own life last night.

Salman was beside himself, couldn’t stop crying. He said that Saddam often asked about Zeenat – he was her special favorite and she would never let anyone scold or hurt him. ‘Humarey paeron taley zameen nickal gayi hai, ham barbad ho gaye…inn logon ko kab sharam aye gi…’ (the earth has gone from under our feet, we are destroyed… when will these people feel any shame). He said the police had come to the hospital and taken the family’s statement that Saddam killed himself in despair about Zeenat ‘but who knows what report they’ll make’  Continue reading

“We want to attend universities, not funerals” – Young Women of Balochistan

HRCP activist lit candles on Dec 10, Human Rights Day, that they dedicated to Balochistan. But the killings and disappearances continue - as the photos on the wall testify. Photo: Reuters

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… Continue reading

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