Unsilencing Pakistan and the 5th Global Vigil #NeverForget

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Daily vigil for Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, 8-9 pm at Do Talwar

Protestors holding daily public protest vigils in Karachi demanding justice for Sabeen Mahmud hold placards calling to #unsilencePakistan and end the culture of impunity. Today’s vigil, marking give months of the Peshawar Army School massacre, also incorporates the carnage at Safoora Chowk in Karachi where armed men in police uniforms killed 45 of the 60 Ismailis on a bus.

“It has been 17 days since I have been present here daily from 8pm to 9pm,” poignantly writes Ibad Sheikh who initiated this event and brings along his drums to pound on. “I come to celebrate Sabeen, to grieve her death, to find comfort in fellow protesters and to tell the world that I have not forgotten her.” (From APS victims to Sabeen Mahmud: Honouring all who have been taken away from us, May 15, 2015)

Protestors at the Fifth Global Vigil this weekend in various cities are demanding an end to impunity and against terrorism in Pakistan.

  • Karachi – 16th May – assemble at Danish Gah, Punjab Chowrangi at 5:30pm and march to Do Talwar.
  • Islamabad – 16th May – 5.30 pm at Press Club
  • Boston – 16th May – 4 pm – Boston Common (near the fountain by the Part St. T)
  • Toronto/Mississauga – 6 pm, 7880 Keele Street, Unit #14, Vaughan, ON L4K 4G7
  • London – 17th May – 3-5 pm in front of Pakistan High Commission

Below, an extract from something I wrote recently about the Unsilencing Balochistan events in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi:  Continue reading

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#Rise4Sabeen: Keep the dialogue going

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Below, some of the widespread condemnation and protest vigils against the cowardly murder of human rights activist and upholder of free speech Sabeen Mahmud, shot dead in Karachi on the night of April 24, 2015 after she hosted a conversation on human rights violations in Balochistan. Just published: Tanqeed’s partial transcript of the discussion. No, Sabeen was not a separatist, nor did she condone violence by anyone, whether in the name of nationalism, ethnicity, religion, or honour. She was a firm believer in open, civil dialogue. The best tribute we can pay to her is to keep her legacy alive by continuing to speak up and keep the dialogue going.

Statement by Malala Yousafzai on the killing of Sabeen Mahmud, April 25, 2015

LUMS STATEMENT on Sabeen Mahmud’s murder, April 25, 2015

HRCP shocked at T2F director’s murder, demands justice, April 25, 2015

Target Killing of Sabeen Mahmud: WAF Statement, 25 April 2015

SAHR Statement of Concern on the killing of Sabeen Mahmud, South Asians for Human Rights, April 27, 2015

Karachi citizens press release, April 28, 2015

Report from Lahore rally for Sabeen, April 28, 2015  Continue reading

Good news from Pakistan (besides the Oscar award): LUMS to create Abdus Salam Chair

Exciting news from Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of LUMS – for those who don’t know him, Dr. Adil Najam was the Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy at Boston University and served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), work for which the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore. He left BU (where his office had the most gorgeous view overlooking the Charles River) to head the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Continue reading

Mumbai journalists visit Pakistan: a sign of hope; a warm welcome but no cellphone roaming

Mumbai for Peace: "SAY NO TO TERROR AND WAR! SAY NO TO VIOLENCE!"

Below, my comment in The News about the forthcoming visit of Indian journalists to Pakistan (The News also carried this report on their visit based on their press statement). As I wrote earlier, just one of these journalists has ever visited Pakistan before. A CORRECTION to my comment below: the Mumbaikars who formed the human chain on Dec 12, 2008 numbered not in the ‘hundreds’  but thousands. “Nearly 60,000 people including several celebrities… formed a 50 km long ‘human chain for peace’,” according to this report in The Indian Express (I found it after filing my story). One of the people behind this event, organised by ‘Mumbai for Peace’, was the journalist Jatin Desai, spokesman for the current delegation to Pakistan.

Situationer: Mumbai journalists’ visit: yet another sign of hope

 By Beena Sarwar

 The journalists from Mumbai landing in Karachi on Monday will arrive to a warm welcome – and no cell phone roaming. India and Pakistan both deny this facility that millions today take for granted, to each other, as foreign correspondents, businesspeople and others who travel in the region know all too well. Continue reading

A theatrical production by, about, for, students

Students rehearse at Arts Council. Photo courtesy: Rukunuddin Aslam

This is a unique theatre production – a combined effort written, directed and produced by students from various institutions in Lahore and Karachi, in collaboration with JAAG TAALIB E ILM a student organization promoting peace.

They promise “A theater performance the like of which Karachi has never seen. A story full of surprises, hilarity and personal tragedy. The story revolves a boy trying to find his identity in the conflicting ideologies facing our generation in this time of national turmoil.” (Tickets Rs. 250 available at Aghas and Shahbaz Subway). RSVP to the FB event.

The institutions involved are: Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), National College of Arts (NCA), National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), Lyceum, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA), College of Business Management (CBM), Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) and Sindh Awami Sangat.

Curtain raiser in The News, Jan 19: ‘Yeh Bhi Ek Kahani Hai’ aims at solidarity Continue reading

When a kiss is not just a kiss

This tantrum at the Lahore University of Management Sciences about a peck on the cheek is indicative of the mentality (justifying vigilante action against perceived moral transgressions) that led security guards to shave the heads of a poor couple chatting under a tree at Faisalabad (formerly Lyallpur) Agricultural University.

See follow up letter from Ghazala Rahman about the vigilantism and harassment going on in Model Town Park, Lahore

Catch any mullah type condemning the attack on the co-ed (but segregated) Islamic University that killed so many students

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