KARACHI: The protesters demanding justice for the attack on activist Sabeen Mahmud gathered outside Karachi Press Club on Thursday. The demand was the same: fix responsibility for Sabeen Mahmud's murder. The demonstrators wanted the government and the armed forces to disclose the details of the inquiry report.
"The acting president had given the Sindh government three days to arrest her killers," said activist Uzma Noorani. "The deadline is over. We want to know what progress has been made and if there is a report, it should be made public." She was joined in the demonstration by human rights activists, representatives of various NGOs as well as a number of Sabeen's friends and well-wishers.
The protesters explained they have planned a series of protests to keep the issue alive and were holding a vigil at Teen Talwar every day. For Noorani, human rights defenders were being threatened by the state, especially those raising a voice against the blasphemy laws and the land mafia.
Former chairperson of the National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW), Anis Haroon, said they were not satisfied with the investigation. A press statement by the 'Concerned Citizens for Peace' was distributed to the media. The statement demanded that the constitutional and human rights to free speech should be upheld, Sabeen's murderers should be arrested and the armed forces' findings be made public. "Sabeen dreamt of a Pakistan thriving on love, peace and free speech and we hope for this dream to become a reality," read the last line of the statement.
The protesters then moved to Fawara Chowk, carrying smiling pictures of the deceased activist and banners that read, 'I am Sabeen'. Educationist Zubeida Mustafa called Sabeen a personality that stood for human rights. "Her murder is a way to silence like-minded people and it has somehow sadly succeeded because not everyone is as brave as she was."
While these protesters shouted slogans outside the KPC premises, Baloch activists for missing persons held a press conference inside. Farzana Majeed read out a press statement on behalf of Mama Qadeer, which said that he wished he had been killed instead of Sabeen. Majeed called her 'comrade Sabeen' and said that she was shot because she gave a voice to the missing persons of Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.