Pathfinder Joins in Statement of Grief for NGO Deaths in Pakistan

Pathfinder International, as a member of the Pakistan Reproductive Health Network, joins in sharing the grief and outrage of other NGO and civil society organizations over the deaths of health workers in Pakistan.

“These targeted killings are shocking,” Tauseef Ahmed, Pathfinder Country Representative in Pakistan, said. “We send our sympathy to the eight grieving families, and express our support for the joint statement by local coalitions and networks who have condemned these actions. We urge all concerned authorities to take necessary action to protect the lives of health workers especially those reaching out to poor women and children in remote areas.”

Pathfinder endorsed the following statement:

***Pakistani Civil Society Grieved and Outraged at Swabi NGO Staff Target Killings
Statement by Coalitions and Networks of Pakistani CSOs, 2 January 2013

A joint statement issued by several coalitions and networks of Pakistani Civil Society Organizations, including Women’s Action Forum (WAF/Pakistan), Pakistan Reproductive Health Network (PRHN), National Humanitarian Network (NHN), Insani Huqooq Ittehad (IHI), Joint Action Committees, EVAWG, LWG, VAWWG, and several others, comprising NGOs, individual peace workers, human rights activists, development workers, academicians, researchers and think tanks, expresses shock, grief and total outrage at the heinous targeted attack in broad daylight on 1st January 2013, on the staff of a Swabi-based NGO, Support with Working Solution (SWS), in the service lane of the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway near Swabi Anbar interchange.

5 women Teachers, one Lady Health Worker, one male Paramedical Worker and the man driving the vehicle were identified, targeted, followed and shot dead by 2 motorcyclists, who left a small child alive in this cold-blooded attack. The SWS team members were returning to Swabi from their health and education project in Sher Aslam Keley village, where they had been working for almost 2 years.

"We condemn this atrocity and inhumanity in the strongest possible terms. We extend our sympathy and condolences to the 8 bereaved families."We condemn this atrocity and inhumanity in the strongest possible terms.  We extend our sympathy and condolences to the 8 bereaved families, as also to our colleagues and friends in the SWS staff. We stand in total solidarity with all our brave women and men colleagues, who are courageously continuing to work with and for suffering Pakistanis in particularly difficult, dangerous and challenging areas, such as FATA, PATA (Malakand), Peshawar, Balochistan, G-B, Karachi and Seraiki areas. But increasingly now it appears that even the so-called “settled”/”peaceful” areas around Pakistan are no longer safe and secure for NGO workers, and for women in particular.

We are tired of calling upon the democratically elected federal and provincial Governments and our Representatives in the Legislatures to DO THEIR DUTY, to exercise their legal mandate, and to call upon all available resources and channels (including but not limited to the LEAs/Paramilitary/Armed Forces in their Constitutionally prescribed role of Service to the State) to restore the writ of the State in Pakistan, to enforce law and order in Pakistan, to stop the external flow of weapons and funds to non-state actors in Pakistan, to stop proxy religious and sectarian wars on Pakistani soil, and to wrest control back from a handful of armed terrorists, extremists, militants, banned Jihadist groups, Taliban factions, ideologues and their brothers/cousins in Pakistan and beyond. 

We are tired of picking up and burying our beloved dead fellow Pakistanis – all those civilians, military and police personnel killed by terrorists are dubbed “Shaheed”, thereby playing into the extremists’ ideology. The toll has now gone beyond 45,000 and is rising daily all across the country. 

We are tired of watching helplessly as our already fragile Education and Health sectors are under attack, whether bombed by the extremist militants, or misused and exploited by the US/CIA for the so-called “War on Terror” (sic).

So now we are calling upon ALL OUR FELLOW CITIZENS: RISE PAKISTAN. Speak Up. Stand Up and Be Counted. Do not accept this outrage any more. Do not stand by in APATHY, INDIFFERENCE and ISOLATION. Understand this simple truth: we will all live or die together; we will all sink or swim together. The choice is ours and the choice is clear for Pakistan: Bol keh lab azaad hein teray; bol zaban ab tak teri hai; bol keh jaan ab tak teri hai; bol yeh thorra waqt bohot hai jism-o-zaban ki maut say pehlay; bol keh SUCH ZINDA HAI AB TAK.***

Type: Press Release
Country: Pakistan
Focus Area: Advocacy

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