Farida Afridi: Killed in broad daylight

Farida Afridi was killed on the road in broad daylight because her work was aimed at helping women in tribal areas.

Zahra Mohammed/Sumera Khan July 10, 2012
Being a working woman and especially having a Pakhtun family background, it is quite disturbing for me to see that society is still not ready to accept women’s empowerment. This is especially so for the conservative Pakhtun community.

The lack of respect does not stop here. A woman, who anxiously awaited to be posted in a no-go area to serve those women and children of her community who have no access to basic rights and do not know how to raise their voices for these rights, was killed on the road in broad daylight.

The assassination of Farida Afridi, who was a member of an organisation working for women’s welfare in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, is one brutal example of this mindset which does not accept women out of the boundaries of their homes.

It is strongly believed that Farida had been a target of militants for a long time as she had earlier received many threats to stop working as a human rights activist to uplift women in the most backward areas in the tribal agencies. Two armed men riding a motorbike shot her in the head and fled away unimpeded, leaving no evidence behind.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the killing in strong words and said in a statement:
“It is a matter of grave concern that the risks facing human rights defenders and those working to ameliorate the lot of marginalised segments remain very high across the country.”

One report also said that the threats to human rights defenders in Fata, equally to men and women, are as worrisome as the impunity the killers enjoy.

The ghastly murder of Farida is reminiscent of the killing of Zarteef Afridi, a well-known human rights defender and HRCP coordinator in Khyber Agency on December 8, 2011. He was also shot dead by two men on a motorcycle and his killers are still at large.

Human rights activists, civil society organisations and journalists have reminded the government time and again of its obligation to provide a safe working environment to human rights defenders all over the country, particularly in the Fata region, which faces the worst civil and military crisis.

Sadly, such pleas have not met much success.

Follow Sumera on Twitter @sumrkhan
Zahra Mohammed
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Saad Shibli Asc | 11 years ago | Reply It iz for all to know thatno fight without power therefore farida or any one if desire or wish to struggle against evil then first make pwoerfull like opponent. No one can win war against evil without power. Do not think that God or Allaha will sent Jin or saint in help for right against wrong. God and Allah iz always with power be poor will lose . SAAD Shibli Asc
bigsaf | 11 years ago | Reply My condolences to the family. A brave martyr. There is no way we can progress as a civilization if we let these backward extremist misogynist criminal militant scum get away with such violent lawlessness by murdering our citizens, like women activists. @Ishaq khan and Farid: Your vague conspiratorial cryptic speak is unhelpful. Everyone knows? Apparently it's so 'hidden', you continue to keep them unnamed, that only you know. I guess that's how criminals get away with murdering people in Pak with impunity. Those who 'know' will play with words and semantics and not point towards the culprits, even misdirect, with protests of unnecessary reactionary defensiveness 'its not our community' and deliberately or intentionally create doubt on what everybody probably still suspects despite your denials or cover. Even the author herself is from Swat. How do you serve the deceased's family members when you're more interested in over-defending supposed community honour than actually naming the culprits?
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