| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Pakistani activists express solidarity with Iranian women as protests enter fourth month

Prominent Pakistani activists and politicians have continued to express solidarity with the Iranian women who initiated the protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the country’s morality police.
Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman who was visiting Tehran, went into a coma at a police station on Sept. 13 after being detained for not wearing her headscarf properly. She died three days later.
Her death sparked the protests which were initially driven by women’s rights activists but have since expanded to include other grievances against the authorities and have spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces — the largest manifestation of dissent in over a decade — despite a violent response from the government.
“Brave protesters aren’t giving up. We are four months into a youth-led movement,” Benazir Jatoi, an Islamabad-based lawyer whose work focuses on women’s and minority rights, told Arab News on Saturday. “As neighbors and women from Pakistan who have had a history of repressive laws targeted at women, we must show solidarity and empathy.”
Hundreds of people, including children, have been killed by Iranian security forces and thousands arrested, leading to international sanctions, condemnation and Iran’s removal from a United Nations women’s rights body earlier this week.
Pakistani rights activists including Farzana Bari also condemned Iranian state repression.
“I condemn the way they are treating the protesters and the kind of injustice they inflicted on the protesters,” Bari said. “I salute the resistance in the field.”
Pakistani politicians, too, have been expressing support for Iranian protesters.
“The Iranian women protesting in their country are very brave. And they are not only being encouraged by us, but also from within Iran,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said during an address to the UN earlier this week. “We have seen that, time and time again, Iranians have been very brave in their political activities, their activism, and their protesting.”
Sharmila Sahibah Faruqui, a lawmaker from Pakistan’s Sindh province, told Arab News when the protests were in full swing in September that state brutality in any country must be condemned.
“It is heartbreaking to see how Mahsa Amini was brutally killed by law enforcement authorities for not wearing a hijab,” she said. “The voices of women must not be oppressed by the state. Women, who have been trying to break the glass ceiling, must be empowered, not silenced by state authorities.”

  • Arab News