Farida Afridi: Killed in broad daylight

Published: July 10, 2012

The assassination of Farida Afridi, is one brutal example of this mindset which does not accept women out of the boundaries of their homes. PHOTO: FILE

Being a working woman and especially having a Pakhtun family background, it is quite disturbing for me to see that society is still not ready to accept women’s empowerment. This is especially so for the conservative Pakhtun community.

The lack of respect does not stop here. A woman, who anxiously awaited to be posted in a no-go area to serve those women and children of her community who have no access to basic rights and do not know how to raise their voices for these rights, was killed on the road in broad daylight.

The assassination of Farida Afridi, who was a member of an organisation working for women’s welfare in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, is one brutal example of this mindset which does not accept women out of the boundaries of their homes.

It is strongly believed that Farida had been a target of militants for a long time as she had earlier received many threats to stop working as a human rights activist to uplift women in the most backward areas in the tribal agencies. Two armed men riding a motorbike shot her in the head and fled away unimpeded, leaving no evidence behind.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the killing in strong words and said in a statement:

“It is a matter of grave concern that the risks facing human rights defenders and those working to ameliorate the lot of marginalised segments remain very high across the country.”

One report also said that the threats to human rights defenders in Fata, equally to men and women, are as worrisome as the impunity the killers enjoy.

The ghastly murder of Farida is reminiscent of the killing of Zarteef Afridi, a well-known human rights defender and HRCP coordinator in Khyber Agency on December 8, 2011. He was also shot dead by two men on a motorcycle and his killers are still at large.

Human rights activists, civil society organisations and journalists have reminded the government time and again of its obligation to provide a safe working environment to human rights defenders all over the country, particularly in the Fata region, which faces the worst civil and military crisis.

Sadly, such pleas have not met much success.

Follow Sumera on Twitter @sumrkhan

Sumera Khan

Sumera Khan

A journalist working for The Express Tribune, Sumera belongs to Swat and covers political and legislative issues, parliament coverage, defence, militancy, social and diplomatic affairs. She tweets as @sumrkhan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sane

    @Writer
    Human rights activists, civil society organisations and journalists have reminded the government time and again of its obligation to provide a safe working environment to human rights defenders all over the country, particularly in the Fata region, which faces the worst civil and military crisis.

    Human right activists, civil society and journalist are demanding safe working environment from those who are unsafe themselves, in every part of the country. Secondly, please do not disturb them, they are extremely busy in ‘power’ trading, safeguarding their ‘wealth’ and also preparing another election to ‘sweep’.Recommend

  • Confused

    You can’t expect much from our government sadly. They don’t give a damn.Recommend

  • Jazzy

    I ask to killers, would you kill that women if she was your own sister,mother?Recommend

  • farid and Ishaq Khan

    your story is an attractive but the (intro) which you have given is a contradictory and disputed one because i am hailing from tribal areas near to Farida Afridi house but you donot know taht neither tribal pakhtun nor KP pakhtun are preventing the women from working. In this case she was supported by her family members as my friend Ishaq and i met theri family members yesterday and with their villagers. Every one knows that who killed her and what is their Agenda? There is no such thing concerned to Pakhtun in this case. Recommend

  • The Pointer

    @Jazzy:

    Their answer will certainly be “YES”, as whatever the relationship is, she is after all “A WOMAN” who is like their Cow / She goat etc. They don’t realize/accept what Islam has given to Woman their RIGHTSRecommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    What is this world coming to :-((Recommend

  • Munawar Ali Shah

    @farid and Ishaq Khan:
    Could you please elaborate as to why she was targeted if her women rights related activities were not the cause?Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed

    @The Pointer:
    Move in circles as ever ! They are true muslims and dedicated ones ! They acted logically and you expect something mixed from them. Part faith and part modernism and part fashion !Recommend

  • Ali S

    @Jazzy:

    Sadly, the answer to your question is a yes – she’s from the tribal areas in case you missed it, and these people don’t consider women (be it their sisters, mothers or family) to be humans, their so-called ‘honour’ is more important to themRecommend

  • Ali S

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    Correction: What is PAKISTAN coming to?Recommend

  • Parvez

    When incidents like this happen its hard not to point an accusing finger at our security establishment. Recommend

  • The Pointer

    @Musthaq Ahmed:

    The best answer to your comment is by Ali S “she’s from the tribal areas in case you missed it, and these people don’t consider women (be it their sisters, mothers or family) to be humans, their so-called ‘honour’ is more important to them”Recommend

  • Ishaq khan and Farid

    @ Munawar Ali Shah
    Every one lnow who killed farida afridi and for what reason and what is their agenda behind killing the voices of peoples and who are that hidden power is . we just trying to say that in this case There is no such thing concerned to Pakhtun .Recommend

  • http://www.centcom.mil/ur US CENTCOM

    How does one kill a helpless woman in broad daylight and think it is bravery? Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Farida Afridi, who was a brave woman serving women and children of her community. She was helping those who had no access to basic rights and did not know how to raise their voices for these rights. She was stopped by brutal death at the hands of the terrorists. Isn’t it obvious that the terrorists are trying to stop women and children from voicing their rights? Time has arrived to tackle these killers head-on through joint cooperation. In the past we have achieved much success in curtailing the terrorists and together we can eliminate them once and for all.

    Capt. Joseph Kreidel
    DET-United States Central Command
    http://www.centcom.mil/urRecommend

  • MIRZA YASIR MEHMOOD`

    yes woman is also right to work for his family to support.
    our society now in present a day
    is necessary if women is illiterateand has no fininacial
    support for family so she can go for family support.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    My condolences to the family. A brave martyr. There is no way we can progress as a civilization if we let these backward extremist misogynist criminal militant scum get away with such violent lawlessness by murdering our citizens, like women activists.

    @Ishaq khan and Farid:

    Your vague conspiratorial cryptic speak is unhelpful. Everyone knows? Apparently it’s so ‘hidden’, you continue to keep them unnamed, that only you know. I guess that’s how criminals get away with murdering people in Pak with impunity. Those who ‘know’ will play with words and semantics and not point towards the culprits, even misdirect, with protests of unnecessary reactionary defensiveness ‘its not our community’ and deliberately or intentionally create doubt on what everybody probably still suspects despite your denials or cover. Even the author herself is from Swat. How do you serve the deceased’s family members when you’re more interested in over-defending supposed community honour than actually naming the culprits? Recommend

  • Saad Shibli Asc

    It iz for all to know thatno fight without power therefore farida or any one if desire or wish to struggle against evil then first make pwoerfull like opponent. No one can win war against evil without power. Do not think that God or Allaha will sent Jin or saint in help for right against wrong. God and Allah iz always with power be poor will lose . SAAD Shibli Asc Recommend