Last week Farida "Kokikhel" Afridi, director of the Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA), a Pakistani non-governmental organisation dedicated to women's and children's rights, was murdered in the Khyber tribal region area as she travelled to her office. Witnesses saying they saw two motorcyclists following Afridi before they opened fire and sped away --- she was shot once in the head and twice in the neck, dying in hospital of her wounds.
The 25-year-old activist co-founded SAWERA with her sister Noorzia in 2004. Despite threats, she criticised the government, the Taliban, and the patriarchal nature of Pakistani society, which she saw as one of the main obstacles to women's empowerment.
The Express Tribune wrote in an editorial of tribute and regret:
Farida Afridi was shot dead in cold blood for the crime of being a decent, caring human being. As the executive director of the human rights NGO, Sawera, Afridi was working in Fata performing the most thankless of jobs: trying to improve the plight of women in an area where many people have never even considered the concept of women’s rights.
Chris Crowstaff of Safe World for Women, a partner of SAWERA, offers further recollections.