PAKISTAN: WAF Demands Government to Resolve Balochistan Issue

Sunday, February 12, 2012
The News Tribe
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Conflict Prevention
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Women's Action Forum (WAF), the vanguard of women's rights in Pakistan, Sunday demanded the government to resolve the Balochistan issue in accordance with aspirations and rights of the people of Balochistan.

“It is a time now to stir the dormant nation about the atrocities committed against the people of Balochistan by the security forces and outlawed religious groups besides continuing their struggle for establishment of secular state in Pakistan,” says WAF resolution.

WAF dedicated its 30th anniversary to the people of Balochistan. Women's Action Forum (WAF) organized an event at Punjabi Complex, Qaddafi Stadium to mark its 30th foundation anniversary and the 28th anniversary of the momentous challenge to General Zia-ul-Haq's military government and his ‘Islamization' process.

The WAF demanded the government to solve the issues of the Balochistan in accordance with their aspirations and rights. The WAF also said being the champions of the rights 90 million women across the country would also disseminate messages of awareness among women about the critical situation of Balochistan. WAF also reiterated its earlier stance for keeping on struggle for secular state in Pakistan besides highlighting the biased outlook of religious clerics towards women on the name of Islam.
Two social workers hailing from Balochistan lamented the stone-heartedness of Punjabi and media as a whole for ignoring the incidents of killings, maiming of innocent citizens, detention, disappearance and ethnic targeting of Balochi people at the hands of security forces and outlawed groups.

Kawish Mehboob, a social worker hailing from Khuzdar Balochistan, said Balochi women always played a positive role to restore peace in the province but now after seeing the dead bodies of their beloved ones they also stood against the atrocities committed by the security forces and outlawed religious parties. She said women did not like to see weapons at the hands of their sons or husbands but when they were being disappeared or killed how could then women stop them from raising weapons against the state. She said the Punjab and media were ignoring Balochistan and she feared if steps would not be taken to redress the complaints of Balochistan's people, it would be very difficult for them to stick with the federation of the country.

Huma Fuladi, another social activist from Quetta, said ethnic cleansing was being committed at the hands of the religious outlawed groups and Shiite sect was especially being targeted in the province. She said the atmosphere of the Balochistan was deliberately being marred and it was the responsibility of the state to redress the complaints of the people. She said women belonging to any province of the country were being suppressed and the voices and experience of women of Balochistan would no longer be silenced.

Rehana Taufiq, Rubina Saigol, Gulnar Tabassum and Victoria Patrick said poetry on women's rights and Huma Safdar narrated a translation of ‘Hear me Roar'.

The WAF applauded the women of Pakistan for their relentless struggle against military regimes. They also appreciated the role of women parliamentarians in propeliing the movement forward. Sara Zaman song a poem of Habib Jalib dedicated to WAF.

The WAF also passed a resolution which extended support to women of Balochistan who not only bear the brunt of conflict at many levels but whose experience and voices are often subsumed in contestations. The resolution said that every efforts be made for peaceful resolutions of conflicts both within the country and in the region in which human and women's rights are not bartered on the grounds of expediency.

The resolution further announced to continue its struggle for a democratic, just, equitable and secular state. The resolution also said the military under any circumstances must not be allowed to circumvent, challenge or impede the democratic process.
The WAF earlier staged a khatak dance outside the Punjabi Complex auditorium and renowned Khatak dance Naheed Siddiqi performed her dance along with others including Naila Riaz and Ismat.