By Kamil Hamid (LPC UWC 2005-2007) about his experience of protesting in Pakistan
Submitted by Haider Shahbaz (UWC AC 2007-2009)
So, what the heck has been happening?
To begin with, another explanation as to why our news channels have been banned, pretty much leaving most of us in the dark: A hidden massacre.
You all may have heard the name “Swat” (pronounced “Swaath”) before. It is a mountainous region to the north and has been the focus of much attention due to an increasingly volatile militant presence.
The rather sinister undertone to all these shenanigans AND the reason why Bush and his goons are supporting Musharraf is undoubtedly because as I type this, there is MASSIVE troop movement into Swat. This is going to be a very bloody clash with many innocent casualties, so Mush needed the nations attention away from here.
As for the actual protest which myself and 2 friends organized: It went well to begin with. Around 80 of us showed up and began the march. Lots of media also arrived, and the capital police didn’t even stop us, only followed.
Then however, came the Punjab police with their riot equipment and rods. They seemed much more aggressive, but kept their distance. After some time, they surrounded us completely and began to close in. All of us, i.e., the men, stood in front because we didn’t want the women hurt, some people were stupid enough to bring kids!
The next thing I know, I’m being practically lifted by the shoulders by two of the walruses and tossed into the van, along with 30 other males. It was completely dark, so we couldn’t see where they were taking us: It turned out to be the F-8 thana (thana means “Police station”/’Holding Cell”). They unloaded us and made us stand in the courtyard. None of us were scared, I mean what were they going to do?
We had to cue up and give our names, addresses, etc. This was followed by a lecture from one of the constables (In Urdu of course) on what our “Mummy Daddys” would think, since they had “Sent us to study and here we were breaking the law”.
Eventually, after 2 hours, some of the women from the NGOs that had participated came to get us out. They tried to get us to sign a document saying we wouldn’t do it again, but I managed to slip away before they could ask for me.
Anyways, long story short: I’m happy. Quite happy.
We got a lot of media attention, ABC news wants to interview the leaders tomorrow. Most of the previous protests have had some sort of political affiliation, while this one had none, it was a student led silent protest with no motives to clash with the police. So basically our only agenda has been the restoration of our rights as citizens of Pakistan. Most people recognized this.
I just hope you all are doing your bit! It’s bad enough with what’s already happening, but gets worse when fascist networks like Fox distort the truth and articles declaring us “The Most dangerous country in the world” followed by moronic pictures become the headlines.
Don’t let the media brainwash any more people!
Hope you’re all doing well wherever you are, take care
– United Words –