Civil society condemns murder of human rights activist
* Demands government takes responsibility, ensure safety of activists
ISLAMABAD: The civil society along with the members of the Alliance for Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) on Sunday expressed shock and grief over the targeted murder of Farida Afridi, a renowned human rights activist of Khyber Agency.
They demanded immediate action to ensure the safety and security of all human rights activists, especially women. The members of the EVAWG demanded the KP governor and the FATA political agent to take responsibility for the murder and ensure the safety of activist who worked tirelessly to alleviate poverty, illiteracy, disease and despair from the communities of FATA, PATA and KP. The EVAWG members said that the activists had been providing full cooperation to the government to support the affected communities, yet they remained vulnerable and faced threat from the extremist elements from within and outside the communities.
They demanded the authorities to capture and expose the murderers not only to the aggrieved family and community but also to the whole nation. EVAWG criticised the uncontrolled abuse of religious authority by clerics to denounce the efforts of human rights workers, NGOs and civil society and the pronouncing of death edicts (fatwas) as an alarming trend. They said that these trends represented the inability of the federal and provincial governments to exercise their writ over a powerful minority.
The civil society demanded the government establish their writ in these areas, where pockets of religious anarchy ran amok. The members also said that the federal and provincial governments should learn lessons from other progressive Muslim countries, where local clerics were not awarded the power to pronounce fatwas and where it is illegal to give voice to hate speech and incite people through sermons at mosques.