It was the sad day, when I searched out through media that Sabeen Mahmud, a female activist shot dead by the unknown gunman who had fled the scene where her car’s windscreen pieces were spread around her, and her thin chappals were lying in the front seat when she was driving toward home from her recent debate at the second floor café.
The brave voices exist in all ages and every society, as they’re created ones to give morale to rest of the people no matter if it is with the cost of their own lives. Don’t we read about the Socrates, who did not change his version before the dogma and accepted the bowl filled of poison? And he even stopped his pupils not to cry cowardly on his death would have been the gesture to keep the mission on until we keep the world free from the shackles of slavery.
We remember comrade Sabeen Mahmud on this very day when she was silenced on 24th April 2015 when she had successfully arranged a gathering and debate session on the Baloch missing persons and their miseries. That was attend by Mama Qadeer Baloch, the person who lost his son after getting missed and his dump dead body was thrown.
Sabeen and Mama’s up for the thousands of missing persons of the Baloch nation who’re struggling for equal rights, social justice, democracy, peace and equality in this country. And many of their dead bodies are received and majority of them are still missing till these lines are written.
Pakistan has been through the longer dictatorship eras where the Human Rights violation is having its own history. But after the 9/11 Pakistan came to a new era controlled by a dictator General Pervez Musharaf who considered the media and freedom of press to be used as communique to counter the Indian propaganda on Kashmir and its long nemesis with Pakistan.
But it gave a space to the journalists, democratic social and political rights activists, as well as writers and speakers to keep on their views exchanged with in their own circles and discuss the Pakistani society as a whole and certain issues in it.
Sabeen Mahmud had opened T2F “the second floor” café for the said reason to bring in open debates and discussions among different people. “A community space for open dialogue, T2F provides citizens with a platform for social change through rich cultural activities, public discourse, and advocacy using progressive ideas and the new media”, reads the comments on the T2F website.
These ideals are never accepted by Pakistan’s deep state and the people who’re vocal on such issues like Sabeen are either pressurized to keep silence or are silenced the other way round, means targeted and killed.
Individuals like Sabeen can be physically killed and separated from us, but the ideals they followed are that much powerful which have given more boost to her mission to speak open for human rights of the society. Its recent example was when the well-known bloggers on social media were asking their space while criticizing the country’s military establishment through a sarcasm tune. They’re abducted and then released after a much more pressure from the countrymen and women through their voices on social media.
It was the first General of Pakistan who violated constitution of the country to implement the first martial law on the country. Imposing such a military rule no doubt suspended all the “debating corners and individuals” because an open discussion and creation of public opinion in the light of logic and argument would always be raising people’s fingers on the dictating generals for violating the basic human rights of the people.
Pakistan’s popular journalists in the General Zia’s era were punished in the public to terrorize rest of the society for not using their lips and pen against the hegemony of the martial regime. And these thoughts of the minority imposed on the majority of the country have been made a political culture by the powerful army establishment of Pakistan. Even-though, Pakistan constitution article 19 is giving right to every individual citizen of the country for expressing his her opinion and views openly. But at the same time this article is violated.
Though, it’s the elected government second term in Pakistan and earlier the Pakistan People’s Party led government completed its tenure for the first time in the country’s history. The second tenure though underway is in cross hairs again by the censorship and pressure from the “hidden forces”—refers to deep state of Pakistan, who’re pressurizing the open say and its recent example is the no coverage for the Pashtun Tahafooz Movement, who’re out for their demands.
But Sabeen is considered the one who did not fear before these hidden forces even-though she had got fatal threats. This is why now an open discussion is under way on the internet blogs, social media commenting, releasing of minutes long videos and discussing different aspects of the hegemonic pressure of the state against its people. This is how the ice was break by Sabeen Mahmud, we miss her as she’s not among us at a time when masses from across the country have kept on her mission alive to debate openly and discuss things the way they think are fine.
The best homage to Sabeen’s soul can be paid in keeping her struggle for “freedom of expressions” and human rights on. So, let’s vow on this very day to remain stuck to her mission until we go for a liberal society where the basic human rights are respected and we live as civilized masses.