Veero Kohli:From a Slave to a contestant in national elections,one woman’s journey

Veero Kohli-Former slave turns politician

Veero Kohli, is the first contestant in General elections in Pakistan to have escaped the thrall of a feudal-style land owner who forced his workers to work in conditions akin to modern-day slavery. In a rural area of Sindh Veero escaped from her captors in the middle of the night and had to walk a long way barefoot, to seek help. After a long ordeal, she finally succeeded in ensuring her own freedom and 39 other labourers including her family. She took the terrifying risk to ensure the safety of her daughters. She feared that the landlord would sexually abuse her daughter.

Her courage and bravery won her the Fredrick Douglas Freedom Award. Continue reading

Women stemming the tide of intolerance

In Pakistan, 2011 started with a shock. On the 4th of January Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was killed. Shot at close range by his own guard. It shook every intellectual who had a keen interest in the proceedings of the socio-political landscape of Pakistan and it was a particular blow to the relatively liberal mindset of the country. Taseer was allegedly killed due to his opposition of the country’s blasphemy laws and his visit to Pakistan’s first women convict to be given a death sentence. Continue reading

Pakistan’s Seeping Culture of Intolerance

Today Pakistan has buried another leader. Yet another extra-judiciary killing of a political leader has taken place. This time, the target was the Governer of Punjab Salman Taseer. The news came as a shock that the governor was shot by his own security guard when he was on a visit Islamabad. The guard shot from a close range and surrendered himself after the carnage. The incident is thought to plunge the country in a deeper political crisis as the coalition government becomes weaker. A member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, the governor was allegedly shot due to his views on the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Continue reading

Videos from the rally to support the DCO Layyah and EDO (Health)

Three videos from the rally on 20 september 2010. I made these videos when Layyah city’s business community and doctors association decided to show solidarity with the DCO Layyah, EDO (Health) and the Christian Nursing School principal who was threatened to leave her post or face severe consequences. Continue reading

Layyah student nurses on the barricades

During a recent visit to Layyah, I came across a road blockade which was not the usual barriers in reaction to security concerns in the bigger cities of Pakistan. In a town of nearly 500000 people, the main road in front of the District Headquarters hospital of Layyah was blocked by angry nursing students on September 17th and their banners demanded ‘removal of incompetent principal and Executive District Officer (Health)’ and ‘protection for nurses.’ Continue reading