“LOCAL officials said the family of Fareeda had not informed them about the threats…” So reads a sentence from Dawn’s report on the horrendous killing of a woman NGO worker in Jamrud. No one has as yet claimed responsibility for the murder, which took place on Wednesday, but it bears all the hallmarks of a targeting killing by religious extremists. The belief that women would not be targeted in this manner in the conservative Pakhtun culture has proved erroneous. The principle the militants subscribe to now is one that sets them against all NGO workers — men and women. There is a pall of fear in the areas stalked by the militants; although there must also be those people who are determined to carry on despite the danger they expose themselves to. If the family of the brutally gunned down Fareeda had received threats, circumstances demanded that they should have informed the law enforcers. Yet the fact is that no reminder needs to be sent to the administration about the long prevailing law and order situation that facilitates murder and other acts of crime.
A day after young Fareeda, the sole breadwinner in her family, was killed, there were reports that some NGOs were shutting down their field offices in a troubled part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kohistan. They have no option since the administration has abjectly failed to provide them with protection. Well-known human rights activist Zarteef Afridi was killed last December right where Fareeda lived and died. Soldiers have been ambushed, many members of the ruling Awami National Party have been killed and other political parties are also under attack. Clearly, and despite the war, the militants have deep roots in Pakistan. The fight will require a more concerted effort, not just by the ‘authorities’ but by the people in general.