Condemning the killing of veteran human rights activist Farida Afridi in the strongest words, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Monday described the murder as ‘anti-Islamic’.
“Imposing death decrees on individuals such as Farida has resulted in a negative portrayal of our country as well as Islam itself,” asserted Iftikhar, while addressing a protest camp set up by the Aurat Foundation.
“The elements involved in the killing will be brought to justice and an investigation has already been ordered,” he added. “The terrorists want to bar Pakhtun women from progressing socially and economically but they will not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs,” declared Iftikhar.
He went on to link Farida’s killing with the various attacks on mosques, schools and public places in K-P recently and said that militants seek to target women now, who are one of the most dynamic elements in Pakhtun society.
The protest camp outside the Saddar Railway Station had been organised by the Aurat Foundation with support from the Peshawar Press Club as well as the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. Speaking on the occasion, journalists and human rights activists also condemned Farida’s murder, in addition to offering prayers for the departed soul.
Farida was targeted on Wednesday morning at 6.30am when she left her house in Tehsil Jamrud Ghundi Kali for her office in Hayatabad.
Along with her sister Noor Zia, Farida was committed to social change and economic emancipation for women from the platform of a welfare organisation called the Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA).
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2012.