A young but prominent member of the systematically persecuted Shia Hazara community in Quetta, Balochistan, has won a fellowship of the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, the premier American think-tank announced Thursday.
Roohullah Gulzari, originally is a prominent leader of the Hazara community, is among 15 young Pakistanis who have been selected as fwinners of the “Emerging Leaders of Pakistan” fellowship administered by the At;antic Council’s South Asia Center.
According to the Atlantic Council, the Emerging Leaders of Pakistan Fellowship Program seeks to empower the next generation of Pakistan’s leaders. The program identifies, cultivates, and supports young people in Pakistan who have the potential of becoming future leaders by providing resources and opportunities to strengthen their engagement within civil society.
Gulzari is a social activist who has been vocal for the rights of minorities and voiceless communities in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan, the Atlantic Council announced Thursday.
For the past several years, Gulzari has been actively involved with Ummat, a Quetta-based cultural and educational NGO, where he promotes awareness in his community through teaching, conducting seminars, and leading workshops.
Half million Shia Hazaras live in a state of perpetual siege in Balochistan capital Quetta in the backdrop of attacks by Saudi-financed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which is allegedly also pampered by the Pakistani intelligence services.
Another distinguished fellow is Ghulam Murtaza Khoso, gold-medal winning educator, political scientist, and an academic who hails from Johi, a small town in interior Sindh. A third fellow, Gulalai Jogezai, who is from a Pashtun tribal family of Loralai, Balochistan, is striving to bridge the gap between women and education. Yet a fourth fellow, Lal Jan Afridi, who belongs to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), conceptualized and helped launch SAWERA, the first women-led organization in the tribal areas of Pakistan dedicated to social and economic development for women.
The names of the others who have won the prestigious fellowship are Asad Mustafa Kahlon, Faryal Ahmed, Huda Ahmed, Humaira Bachal, Iqra Rehman, Kamran Bhatti, Malik Shaheryar Khan, Nadeh Ali Mir, Najwat Rehman, Raja Banaras and Sobia Khan.
As part of the fellowship program, each year, fifteen young leaders from Pakistan come to the United States to meet with policymakers, community leaders, diaspora communities, and regional experts.