By Aima Nisar
In 2007, a headline issued in Dawn detailed the arrest of a group of women who had taken to the streets to protest systemic violence against females. Among them was Naila Naz.
Even before then, Naz has been known for raising her voice against oppression.
In the year 2000, she joined the ASR Resource Centre, an NGO that raises awareness among women about women’s issues and trains them to face the outside world. For them, Naila arranges workshops about Feminism, Women’s Development, and Social Change.
Her days are spent talking to women in underprivileged communities, teaching them about the law: family law, divorce law, property law, and human rights law. In communities where women struggle to speak up for themselves, Naila speaks instead.
Naila is unafraid to discuss issues that no one else brings up. Over the past 18 years, she has visited and hosted several conferences across the country to try and minimize the possibility of war. She uses the ASR platform to elaborate the heinous toll that conflict takes on human beings.
Unfortunately, the thought to go to war is almost always a man’s offspring. Women and children are just the afterthought. Naila works tirelessly to make sure that those afterthoughts have voices and that their needs are catered to. Her work is especially relevant given the recent rise in hostilities with our heritage-sharing neighbor. It is people like Naila whose efforts might become the voice of reason in an otherwise mercurial, haughty sea of Pakistanis.
Let us consider the effects of conflict on women and children, especially those of the lower classes. War takes no heed of borders. If it ensues, it will set India and Pakistan—both nascent democracies—back by decades. It will claim lives and leave the already-struggling of our society with even more to worry about. And rest assured, it will not solve anything.
This is the message that Naila Naz is trying to spread. Her unabashed courage inspires us, and it is why Aurat March hopes to foster women who are as brave as she is. Women who will not stop raising their voices against oppression—whether that means advocating peacefully, or getting arrested