Successful recovery of three kidnapped girls of Awaran in Sindh proves the strength of civil society. What could not be done by the Sindh government was ultimately made possible due to the efforts of different people and groups that make up civil society. It’s a lesson for the future that Civil Society needs to be more organized and active to ensure the protection of constitutional rights of citizens of Pakistan.
The case of recovery of kidnapped girls is huge success for Civil Society but at the same time it also provides an opportunity for reflection. A through and detailed analysis of this entire episode results in revelations of certain points that need to be deliberated upon:
- There is no point in waiting for the help of government machinery in a case of injustice such as kidnapping. Government machinery in Pakistan is not meant to protect the life and property of under-privileged citizens. Members of civil society have to be ready to campaign for pressurizing government to take action all the time.
- Some people think that protest demonstrations are futile and nothing more than photo sessions and publicity students. They are utterly wrong and protests matter and due to two protests in Karachi and Quetta, the case of kidnapped girls got mainstream attention.
- Third point to consider is the fact that even most powerful people can’t withstand the pressure of civil society when it’s united. In the case of kidnapped girls a highly influential landlord of Shikarpur had to back out and release the girls after mounting pressure from civil society.
- Arguably the biggest setback suffered by the civil society in this entire episode was the cheap race for credit taking after the success of campaign. Without naming any of the organizations, there were more than one who were desperate to take credit for the girls recovery and attitude like that hurts the spirit of civil society activism.
- This case clearly exposed the weakness of Civil Society that it’s not as organized as it should have been. Still a lot of people answered to the calls of help of civil society but it could not be called an organized effort. Therefore efforts are needed to make the civil Society more organized and effective.
- Civil society has to be specific in choosing the issues which it wants to address. Given the informal nature of Civil Society and lack of resources, it’s not possible to get involved in each and every issue. Therefore Civil Society has to be choosy about which issues it’s going to address and that would make its campaigning efforts more successful.
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Author is the Editor of Balochistan Point.
Published in The Balochistan Point on October 23, 2015