One after another, Pakistan is losing her best. The sane voices, which shout inclusion, pluralism, love, respect, mutual coexistence, which try to turn a pencil sketch into a brightly colored painting, are silenced.
“A fighter for the poor silenced…” said a staff reporter of Dawn. Parween Rahman, gunned down on February 13, 2013. What was her crime? She was a kind soul who felt far too much for the less fortunate. She wanted the poor to have something they can call home. She wanted them to feel self-sufficient as she worked hard day and night to empower all who felt deprived. She made the mistake of loving, of documenting about lands which have been grabbed and coffers being filled by billions. And as a result, billions lost a kind-hearted person many referred to as a mother.
“Rights advocate gunned down in Multan…” said the print. It was Rashid Rehman this
time and the date was May 7, 2014. Regional coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a well-known lawyer, Rehman believed. That was his crime. He believed in the justice system. He believed that every defendant has a right to a lawyer. He was known by many as a helper, an enabler, particularly for the downtrodden. He made the mistake of representing Junaid Hafeez, accused of blasphemy. With full cognizance of the risks, he went ahead. And as a result, he too was murdered in cold blood.
“Director T2F shot dead in Karachi…”. The date was April 24, 2015 and it was Sabeen Mahmud’s turn. The lively, chirpy Mahmud, a human rights activist, loved by many all across. What was she thinking challenging the injustice and discrimination? Everything about her was all inclusive. She lived for the people and their smiles. Perhaps that was her crime, to think more for others than herself. She wanted to give a voice, wanted to make sure all were heard, brought everyone to the table and there was almost nothing which could not be resolved over a cup of tea. She held a session for the voices of Balochistan. Was it ‘Unsilencing Balochistan’ that silenced her, or was it her various stands against the injustice and defending the rights of one and all. Whatever the reason, hope for many was lost.
“Rights activists killed in Karachi gun attack…”. May 7, 2016 was the last day for Khurram
Zaki, a journalist, a human rights activists, one who had to raise his voice for all minorities and against self-proclaimed gods. He took on the big ones, Maulana Aziz of Laal Masjid and Aurangzeb Farooqi of ASWJ for the hate-speech against Shias. He was equally vocal for Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis, rather all minorities which are being persecuted. His crime was that he took others to heart. He felt and wanted to alleviate the pain.
Various groups claimed the fate of all these wonderful human beings. Ruthlessly killing all, rendering Pakistan to a poorer state. Ever wonder how easy it is for them to kill? These lives were precious for they spoke for many, stood up for the not so privileged, screamed for harmony, peace, coexistence and love. Silencing these voices equate to silencing of hope for millions.
While the claims are there, the responsibility, perhaps, lies elsewhere. It lies in the silence. The killer silence which thinned these beautiful voices. Why was it that these heroes, celebrated at the scale they are upon and after their death, are not celebrated at the same level while alive? Why were their voices so thin and not that of millions when they were out taking on the monstrosity that plagues our nation? Did their lonely voices, only joined by a handful, not make them an easy target? If every call made by them were joined by hoards, would it have not made the killers realize they are outnumbered? Or are they? All of them made top trends on social media upon their death. Facebook, twitter, whatsapp groups and all other forms of communication are full of support. Where was all this support when these voices silently whispered in all our ears to join them? They were let to be alone, left to be silenced. One only wonders if millions or even thousands were out with them taking a stand, would the monsters find it so easy?
It is our hypocrisy, our silence that killed them. We are all responsible for letting them fight the fight on their own sending a loud and clear message that they are dispensable.
Join your hero while alive, become an invincible wall, make it happen. The rogues may think twice before trotting those guns and spraying bullets. And we might, just might have such voices live a little longer, stay a little longer…