Pakistani renowned poet’s daughter has rejected Presidential award for her late mother to protest rights violations by the state.
According to details, Dr. Veerta Ali, daughter of a renowned Pakistani writer and poet Fehmida Riaz has rejected Pakistan’s presidential award ‘Tamgha-i-Imtiaz’ for her late mother. Veerta Ali Ujan said in a post on Facebook that accepting the award would be an insult to her mother’s legacy.
“If my mother was alive, she would have done the same, given the human rights abuses in the first two years of the PTI government,” Dr Ali said.
Fahmida Riaz was nominated for the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the current Pakistani government in 2019 for her extraordinary work on poetry ground.
Ms. Ali said that she cannot accept the presidential award from a government under whose rule freedom of expression is under threat and journalists and writers are being abducted.
“If my mother was alive today, she would have protested against these rights violations through her writings. I shall also be ashamed to receive an award in the current atmosphere of repression. ”, she said
Mrs. Riaz was a dedicated feminist and activist who lived in exile in India during General Zia-ul-Haq rule in Pakistan because of cases filed against her for her activism.
Last month another a well-known Sindhi writer also rejected the Presidential Pride of Performance award in protest.
Sindhi writer Taj Joyo’s young son went missing three days earlier when he was nominated for the award.
Taj Joyo is a writer of many books, he is a renowned Sindhi writer and his name was nominated for civil award in this excellent work in respective field.
Joyo’s son and human rights activist Sarang Joyo, a research associate of Shaheed Zulifqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology’ (SZABIST), was actively campaigning for the release of missing persons of Sindh.
Whereas, in June this year, Akbar Barakzai, a renowned Baloch poet and author, refused an academic award from Pakistan for the best work in Baloch literature. He ascribed his decision to the government policies ‘inflicted’ on Balochistan that have ‘subjugated’ the populace.
Many Other Baloch writers have also refused and returned literary awards in the past. Professor Nadir Qambrani had refused an academic award due to a disagreement with the then Musharraf regime. Saba Dashtyari, a venerated Baloch writer, poet, scholar and a professor in the University of Balochistan, also returned his academic award in protest but donated his prize money to the Syed Hashmi Reference Library in Karachi.