Clara Son / Orange County School of the Arts 10th Grade
In America, I worry about 70%, for I fear it may be the percentage of a score I received on a math quiz, or the slowly dying battery on my iPhone.
But in Pakistan, 70% is the staggering percentage of women who have suffered from some type of domestic violence and/or abuse.
The conditions of Pakistan human rights have greatly deteriorated and with such a brutally violent government who silences the voices of human rights activism, many have lost hope in their fight for peace.
In the midst of such darkness, Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth was the brilliant candle who sparked hope for the fight for human rights. But after his unfortunate passing due to Covid-19, the following question has arisen: what effect will Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth’s death have on Pakistan human rights?
The harsh but truthful answer is that his death will set back hope for human rights protections.
For a long time, human rights have been deteriorating in Pakistan. With their intensifying military control, Pakistan has clamped down on human rights, limited freedom of expression, and has failed to protect ethnic and religious minorities from harassment and violence.
More and more people in Pakistan have faced execution for blasphemy and have been subject to harsh media censorship. As a result, an atmosphere of tense fear has been created. Many political activists, students, and Shia Muslims have mysteriously disappeared after calling for change or speaking out against the government, and have also been kidnapped and tortured. Dissent has been widely suppressed.
However, in all this chaos, Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth was one of the very few human rights activists in Pakistan who used his platform to speak out against this injustice. He was a fearless judge who struck down laws that legalized the government’s usage of secrete internment centres and torture camps, and had also freed many wrongly held prisoners by pardoning them due to a lack of evidence. He upheld the constitution and convicted corrupt military ruler, General Musharraf, to prison. He was the minority because in Pakistan, using your voice to denounce the government gets you tortured, killed, and thrown in jail.
With Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth’s death came the snuffing of his bright flame. Hope for human rights have been lost in Pakistan.
The Pakistan people have been crying for help. Hopefully, the US and other foreign entities can come together to press harder sanctions and tariffs on Pakistan and constitute a trade blacklist status, which they had escaped in the summer of 2020. Pakistan must receive consequences for their actions, and that can only tangibly come in the form of economic punishment.
Ultimately, I dream that one day, 70% of Pakistani women don’t have to face violence and abuse. I dream that many will finally be able to find peace without worrying for their human rights.
I dream that Pakistan will find peace.
<Clara Son / Orange County School of the Arts 10th Grade