Press Release, 22 September 2011

22 September, Islamabad: The Meeto Memorial Award Trust, Rozan and Sungi are pleased to honour Azra Jafari as the winner of the Meeto Memorial Award 2011. Azra is Afghanistan’s first and only woman mayor whose work and commitment towards social development have made a crucial difference to local development.

The Award will be presented to Azra Jafari by Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s leading lawyer, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission and a tireless human rights activist and Hameeda Hossain, the eminent civil-rights and women’s rights activist from Bangladesh, in a ceremony that will be held at the Pakistan National Council of Arts on 22nd September starting 7 P.M.

Among others attending the ceremony will be activists from different countries of South Asia, many of whom will also be attending the Rozan-orgainsed conference titled “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: state and civil-society response to violence against women”. A troupe of male dancers from India, led by Navtej Johar, a well-known and awarded dancer, will perform Fana’a, a revised version of the legendary tale of Heer. The Zarsanga group, performers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, will regale the audience with folk songs.

The Award has been instituted in the memory of Meeto or Kamaljit Bhasin-Malik (1978-2006), a scholar, activist and dancer, by her mother, Kamla Bhasin. The award aims to honour young South Asians whose work demonstrates a commitment to communal harmony, peace, justice and human rights. The Award comprises of one lakh Indian Rupees, a citation and a memento.

It is a special privilege for the Award Trust that the ceremony for 2011 is being held in Pakistan, thanks to the collaboration of Rozan and Sungi, two eminent civil-society partners. Another reason that the venue of the Award gains significance is that last year’s winner, Akeela Naz, is from Pakistan.

Wednesday 28 September 2011