Women raise their voice
Balochistan is one of the 5 provinces of Pakistan. It’s important for not only its geographical location but for its vast natural resources. Quetta is the capital city of Balochistan and is home to different communities including the Hazara.
For the last two to three years, Quetta has been under a severe security threat and thousands have lost their lives due to the significant level of terrorism. In the beginning of 2013, a suicide blast took the lives of hundreds of people in Quetta. Again, very recently another suicide attack killed more than 90 people.
The devastated relatives took the dead bodies of their loved ones and protested to the government until their demands about changes in the governance of Balochistan were met.
The first incidence in January-2013 displayed the power of social media in Pakistan. Many young women and seasoned journalists initiated this campaign. Many women active on social media were part of the protests and I was one of them. Innumerable mugs of coffee helped keep me and my team awake, we reported online and gave live updates from Pakistan to the rest of the world. We boosted the morale of protestors on the roads of Islamabad, Lahore and other major cities.
While we were working this way, some young activists form Balochistan were busy analyzing the situation. Imran Khan, a youth activist from the Quetta valley has been representing Pakistan on many international and national platforms with an aim to transform the life of Pakistan’s youth by working towards their meaningful participation in the socio-political and economic life of the country.
He believes, “It is not new in Quetta to see women protesting in such big numbers, but in the past this was skilfully hidden by internal political complexities. It has been common in Balochistan to see women participate in protests with a lot of zeal even if they had to travel from far-flung areas to be part of these protests”
Imran believes that empowerment comes when one is involved in decision making processes. Women add up to the voice of their men counterparts, but the community never involves them in decision-making processes, which is unfortunate. The reason behind this is that men in the community think women have less information about social issues and can therefore not provide much assistance in these matters.
But all these problems aside, the long peaceful protests by these strong women has set an example that will go down in history as a remarkable event.
Author: Sidra Saeed
Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan
Date10.03.2013 | 11:47