Report by Hazaran Baloch

Lyari Literary Forum held a panel discussion on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8th March), entitled “Where Baloch Women Stand in Contemporary Period” at Mullah Fazul Library.

The penal discussion was moderated by LLF General Secretary Dur Bibi Baloch. The Panelists were Amna Baloch, Zareen Baloch, and Aseela Baloch.

Amna Baloch is a Social and Political Activist of Baloch Yakjehti Committee. Zareen Baloch is a Social Activist and Educationalist. Aseela Baloch is a Social Activist, Educationalist, volunteer worker and representative of Raaji.

In the Panel Discussion, the Social, Cultural, Educational, Political, Economical issues and Struggles of Baloch Women were discussed.

At the beginning of the Discussion, Moderator “Dur Bibi” gave a historical overview of 8th March International Women’s Day and the reason for its celebration across the World. She also discussed that Baloch Women’s lives were different from other Nations and Baloch Women had economical power in their homes, however, Arab Colonization brought the concept of Male Dominance. The world changed economically, Men had become dominant and women got affected.

British Colonization gave authority to Male Sardars and aftermath Baloch became more oppressed. She also told the audience that War changes Society and in the Contemporary Period Baloch Women are clear about their rights.

After that, Moderator asked the first Question to Amna Baloch that,

Today the Baloch nation is fighting a war to protect its identity. What role can a Baloch woman play in such a scenario? 

Amna Baloch: War always suppresses the people from all aspects of life so automatically women will be in charge as the men go missing, killed, or exiled, and then the women choose the path of Resistance. The clear example we have is Haseeba, She is in charge of her home, she takes care of her deceased brother’s children, her own family, and is also struggling for the safe release of her brother. Not only Haseeba, but Sammi, Mehlab, Dr. Mahrang, they all are struggling. . Baloch Women struggle in the shape of selling “Kabuli and Banklek” in the streets or stitching clothes  Or in the Shape Of Banuk Karima who resisted against tyranny, For Education, for Health, for everything. Baloch Women protesting for their rights and being arrested in Quetta. Or in the form of Baloch Yakjehti Committee girls, Baloch Women are strong. They all are clear. They all have Chose resistance.

While answering a question on the historical role of the Baloch women, Zareen Baloch expressed that Baloch Women are oppressed and colonized which has kept them very backward. If a woman tries to shackle the boundaries she faces abusive comments on social media by men. Women are still not allowed to go outside. Only a few women are allowed by their families. The majority of women are not supposed to get Education. The Marriage concept is forced on them. Men’s Politics is within them. They never try to politicize the Women but bound them.

The third question was asked to Aseela Baloch

Why is there a minimum presence of Baloch women in mainstream politics?

Aseela Baloch: Women are always criticized for each step they take outside of their homes. Abused on social media. Women who can control the home with so many family members can also control the ground, can also do politics. But there is no space left for her. No ground.

4th Question was to Amna Baloch

There are two narratives in front of the Baloch woman today. One patriarchal system and the other state repression. Now the question lies, which problems should the Baloch woman choose to solve? 

Amna Baloch: Baloch Society is affected by Colonization, the patriarchy is brought by the colonialist. And to overcome patriarchy and Colonization she must struggle and resist.

5th Question was asked to Zareen Baloch

We see that when women involve themselves in house chores they distanced themselves from political activism. Can’t Political career and household run simultaneously? 

Zareen Baloch: Politics and family can work together. But the majority of families are conservative which not only stop the political career but her entire life as well. Her every element of life is changed into an entertainment factor. Patriarchy is the reason for Women’s boundaries and restrictions of not being politicized. Patriarchy has been imposed on Baloch Women.

The last question was to Aseela  Baloch

In your opinion what is the major issue of Baloch women and what efforts your organization is taking to coup with it? 

Aseela Baloch: Baloch Women have several issues. From Basic Health facilities to Education, from the right to live to the right of politics.  And our organization believes that the vulnerable groups must be presented. Therefore, Raji is working with women to lead women and highlight their problems.

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The writer is a student of English Literature at university of Karachi and works as the Secretary General of Lyari Literary Forum LLF. She has co-authored four anthologies and can be reached at Instagram @hazaran_writes