In vigil on Malala day, Ishrat reverberates

    By Staff Reporter,

    New Delhi: A number of social groups came together to form a human chain on Friday at Hazrat Nizamuddin, opposite the dargah, on Malala Day – the birthday of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, to express soldiarity with the women empowerment and to condemn all forms of religious extremism.

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    Khudai Khidmatgar was the main force behind the human chain, supported by Asha Parivar, Nav Jagriti Collective and Sadbhav Mission.

    Arbab Muhammad Tahir Khan Khalil, General Secretary of the Awami National Party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial unit, who is in town on personal visit also became a part of the chain. He said that he personally know Malala and her father, who has been working for education and women empwoerment in SWAT for long. He said, “Because of the people’s reverence for the religion, the reactionary forces use the garb of religion to further their reactionary ideology. But, in reality, they stand in opposition to the positive values of equality, democracy and justice.”

    Sharing his expereinces of Arbab Muhammad hoped that sane voices prevail and that his society move towards empowerment and progress.

    Prof VK Tripathy, founder of Sadbhav Mission, compared the attack on Malala with the fake encoutner of Ishrat Jahan. He said that some insane people in all religions are using the name of religion for their own selfish means. He said that education should be given to all whether boys or girls, and irrespective of caste or creed.

    Condemning the fundamentalists and and extremists from all religions, Faisal Khan of Khudai Khidmatgar said, “Extremists are enemises of religions, who destroy the basic fabric.” He added, “Malala and Ishrat Jahan have become the powerful symbols of the discriminated and disadvantaged fairer sex. These were innocent girls, who became the target of extreme reactionary forces for no fault of theirs.”

    Karamat Ali, Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) was also present.

    At the end of the vigil children of Nav Jagriti Collective sang a song in soldiarity with Malala and her cause.

    The 16th birthday of Malala is being celebrated as “Malala Day” across the world July 11-12. She was shot in the head October 9, 2012, after she became a spokesperson for girls’ education and boldly opposed the Taliban’s moves to ban girls from schools. She underwent treatment in Britain, and continues to live there after her father was appointed to a diplomatic post at Pakistan’s consulate in Birmingham, which he can hold for up to five years.