ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Unsilencing Pakistan'

"Unsilencing Pakistan" was an idea first articulated in 2011. It has been revived following the recent murder of Sabeen Mahmud, who had attempted to create a space where Pakistanis could discuss contentious issues--like the human rights violations in Balochistan--without fear. Can Pakistan's intellectuals and human rights activists survive the "intellecticide" being perpetrated?

When the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) announced that it was organising a seminar titled “Un-Silencing Balochistan” on 9 April 2015, it reminded me of the “Unsilencing Pakistan” initiative of the summer of 2011. Some of us had drafted a statement endorsed by several progressive voices—well-known journalists, lawyers, singers, musicians, doctors, entrepreneurs and others—condemning “the continuing harassment, torture, and killing of progressive thinkers, journalists, and activists in Pakistan.”

The statement noted that, “most major Pakistani newspapers have written editorials and published opinion pieces that attest to the new depths that the nexus of the ‘agencies’ and militants have reached in the country, and to their continued immunity from serious investigation or accountability.”

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