Saima Khan (name changed) choked on her words as she spoke about her husband’s death in a terrorist attack in Pakistan. Last year on December 28, her husband’s car had targeted and nine people were killed in the blast.
Tears rolled down Khan’s face as she remembered the last time she bid good bye to her husband that morning, not knowing she would never see him again.
Khan was one of the four terror attack victims from Pakistan and India who attended a conference organised by Sisters against Violent Extremism (SAVE) at a city hotel on Monday. The group discussed ways in which women can engage in counter-terrorism.
“Women have their hands on the pulse of the community and they know when their children are being misguided,” said Edith Slaffer, the founder of SAVE International. “If the women in communities are empowered, they can address the issue at the root.”
Last year, between October to December, 72 women lost their husbands to terrorist attacks in Pakistan, said academician Mussharat Kadi, founder of the Paiman Trust that works with women affected by terrorism. “Pakistan is worst affected by the problem of terrorism on its soil as people there live in the threat of an attack every single day,” said Kadi.
“When Saima could not continue further, Anjali Chemburkar, who lost her husband during the attack at the Trident on November 26, 2008, spoke of her grief and recovery from the trauma,” said Archana Kapoor, president of SAVE’s India chapter. “Her story inspired everyone in the room, including Saima, and we realised that grief is the same regardless of the nationality.”
Through the conference, women from both countries discussed ways to mobilise women towards counter terrorism efforts through education. For Saima, the conference enabled her to interact with other women who had suffered the same grief. “Towards the end of the session, she smiled as she spoke of her husband and her resolve to move on from the incident,” said Kapoor.