“Sabeen’s struggle cannot be brought down to just one event or one incident, she was much more than just being a voice for the Baloch people,” author Shandana Minhas said at the Islamabad Literature Festival on Saturday.
The apolitical event that celebrates and promotes book reading put its agenda on the backburner to raise voice and channel the anguish and anger friends, colleagues and admirers of rights activist and founder of T2F Sabeen Mahmud felt over her killing.
The activist was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi Friday night.
The session which was put together on the spur of the moment managed to collect many of Sabeen’s friends and admirers who gathered to pay tribute to the activist.
“This session is dedicated to Sabeen, to highlight what she stood up for because her work needs to be appreciated, it needs to be taken forward,” Asif Farrukhi, founder of the ILF and moderator of the session said.
“A part of me died with her. Without her so many things would not have been possible in Karachi,” he said remembering the right’s activist.
Director of the Oxford University Press and founder of ILF Ameena Saiyid too paid rich tribute to the activist saying the need of the hour was to take Sabeen’s cause forward and do what she (Sabeen) would have wanted us to do.
“We are devastated, we are shattered but we need to continue making space for people, we need to take Sabeen’s cause forward.”
Holding back his emotions, chair of the department of social sciences and liberal arts at IBA, Dr Framji Minwalla, one of Sabeen’s close friends, said what happened to Sabeen is just a reflection of where Karachi stands today.
“We owe this struggle to people like Sabeen and Parween Rehman,” he said.
To add to this, Minhas said T2F helped bridge the gap between the vernacular divide in Karachi.
She said the way forward was to continue to promote the freedom of speech that Sabeen fought for.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2015.
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