27 July, 2021

One Man’s Freedom

Unlike here, activist Ansar Burney’s work is closely read in Pakistan

AFP (From Outlook, July 11, 2011)
One Man’s Freedom

In the shrinking circle of feisty human rights activists, as also among journalists who relish unravelling contradictions in the seemingly exemplary behaviour of public personalities, Ansar Burney, 56, is often perceived to adopt causes having the potential to generate maximum media coverage. He isn’t, they say, an Asma Jahangir, who has fought many a solitary battle against the Pakistani state; nor is he an Abdul Sattar Edhi, famous for tending to the terminally ill and organising burial for those whose kith and kin can’t bear funeral expenses. Not for Burney the loneliness of the crusader, not for him tasks ordinary mortals recoil from.

Burney’s is rather a world of securing freedom for those who have lost hope of it, of petitioning the government or raising finances for their release from captivity, of accompanying them on their liberty walk as TV cameras whir furiously. It was this world of Ansar Burney we watched on June 23, as he greeted at the Karachi port the 22 sailors, including six Indians, whose release from...

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