The Civil Society organizations, including Insani Huqooq Ittehad, and several other coalitions, NGOs, human rights activists, think tanks, researchers and academicians express our outrage, grief and sorrow at the assassination of Bashir Bilour Shaheed, in yet another targeted killing atrocity by the Taliban in Peshawar today.

Pakistan has lost yet another brave fighter for progressive thought and ideology, who knew he was targeted and yet did not knuckle under or give up his political activities with his party, the ANP, or with the wider movements for rights-based education, peace and conflict resolution.  His personal courage and fearless speech was exemplary, and admirable in the age of fear, expediency and compromise. We salute him and pay tribute to his courage – may his soul rest in peace.

Civil Society demands that the Federal and all Provincial Governments and Political Parties see this senseless killing as yet another WAKE UP CALL.  We strongly condemn the fact that the continuing Taliban attacks in FATA (2001-12), Malakand (2007-09), the bombings and suicide attacks on Meena Bazaar & Moon Market, Parade Lane mosque, Marriott and Sheraton, GHQ, Mehran, Kamra, Badhaber, Malala Yusufzai, Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti (to name just a few of the ongoing atrocities) were not considered enough of a wake up call by the Establishment and those in political and legislative power, as well as the overwhelmingly conservative sections of the print and electronic media.

We demand that Bashir Bilour Shaheed’s martyrdom should now become the FINAL TIPPING POINT, and a GALVANIZING POINT for the entire nation to rise as one to raise our hands and voices in a unanimous and loud “NO”.

We say NO to the Taliban (both Pakistani and Afghan) and all their brothers and cousins from Pakistan and beyond.  NO to the ridiculous US-exported ideology of “Good” vs. “Bad” Taliban, adopted in toto by both Pakistani and Afghan Establishments.  NO to the outdated, short-sighted and counter-productive military concepts and strategies of seeing the Taliban in power in Afghanistan as Pakistan’s military “assets” and “strategic depth”.  NO to remaining in a continuing state of external and internal war, terrorism, and insecurity.  NO to being a country in conflict.  NO to providing space for proxy wars being fought on our soil by USA, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and Iran.  NO to being a rentier state – in both economic and ideological terms.  NO to being a poverty-stricken and a hunger-stricken nation.  NO to being a militarized state which is proud of being a nuclear power, but whose people are poor, hungry, unemployed, without their basic minimum needs of food, clothing, shelter and livelihood, and without gas, electricity or water available to the vast majority.  A final NO to being a house divided.

We demand of our Government and our Armed Forces and our myriad Intelligence Agencies and all our Political Parties:  Let us resolve that Bashir Bilour Shaheed’s blood be the LAST drop of blood to be shed in a war on our soil, but not of our making, by inhuman men, groups and ideologies not of our creation, for objectives not in our interest, for goals which are against our very existence and survival as a country. Let us no longer be a house divided and ourselves bent on committing collective suicide.  WE WANT A PAKISTAN FREE OF THIS FOREIGN, IMPORTED SO-CALLED “ISLAMIC IDEOLOGY”.  WE WANT TO LEAVE A PEACEFUL PAKISTAN FOR OUR CHILDREN.  WE WANT TO LIVE.

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