Pakistan Peace Award
Pakistan Peace Award is an initiative by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) to acknowledge the contribution of Pakistan’s civil society in peacebuilding, peacemaking, and deradicalization through their works in varied fields, be it educating people through their writings or research, bringing social justice and prosperity, advocating for gender, ethnic or racial equality or the on-ground resolution of conflict. This is an annual activity announced each year around International Peace Day (21 September).
First Pakistan Peace Award 2022
Jalila Haider – First Pakistan Peace Award Winner
Ms. Jalila Haider, known as the iron lady of Balochistan, is a human rights attorney and founder of We the Humans – Pakistan, a non-profit organization, which works to lift local communities by strengthening opportunities for vulnerable women and children. She specializes in defending women’s rights and provides free counseling and legal services to poverty-affected women. The first female attorney of Hazara community, an ethnic minority group in Baluchistan, Haider is a strong supporter of protecting the rights of vulnerable communities and peacebuilding through rule of law and justice.
Ms. Jalila is a political activist serving as a member of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), a leader of the Balochistan chapter of Women Democratic Front (WDF) and a leader of Baluchistan’s branch of the Aurat March. She has campaigned against the enforced disappearances and killings of Baloch and Pashtun political workers and has led protests and sit-ins against the ethnic cleansing of the Hazaras.
After four separate attacks targeting the Hazara community in April 2018, Ms. Jalila led a peaceful hunger strike camp outside Quetta press club, which lasted for around five days. Initially there were only few men and women in the camp, but this soon turned into a huge crowd where people from various communities expressed their support for Jalila’s demands. Her strike was a huge success in bringing public attention to the atrocities faced by her community, resulting in a Suo Moto notice by then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar. During these hearings, the Chief Justice acknowledged the “ethnic cleansing” of Hazara community.
She is currently actively working on ground for rescue and relief efforts of flood-affectees in Balochistan which has been hit the hardest by the floods. According to some estimates, over 60 percent of the damage to infrastructure in Pakistan has been in this province, and her work in a province where most NGOs cannot reach is commendable.
Jaila’s work has been receiving recognition and respect both nationally and internationally. Last year, Jalila was awarded Hum TV Women Leaders Award 2022 and was chosen as an International Woman of Courage by the US Secretary of State. She was named in the BBC’s 100 Women in 2019. In 2016, Ms. Jalila was a Fellow at the Swedish Institute Young Connectors of the Future. In 2015, she was selected as one of ‘News Women Power 50’ list of Pakistan’s most influential and powerful women. The same year, she was a member of the first batch of Pakistan Social Entrepreneurs by Rajeev Circle Fellows. In 2014, she was an Atlantic Council Emerging Leaders of Pakistan Fellow. Haider holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Balochistan.