Dr. Rubina Greenwood Interview

An interview took place with Dr. Rubina Greenwood at our WhatsApp-based group called Women Rights and Sexual Minorities. Dr. Rubina is a British of a Sindhi Origin, is a human rights advocate focusing on the situations in Sindh and Pakistan. She is the President and founder of the International Sindhi Women’s Origination (ISWO) and Senior Vice Chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress (WSC). She has a Phd in Architecture from University of Glasgow. She is currently Head of Buildings and Architecture in Network Rail (Headquarters), in London UK.

Before the start of the group Razia Sultana Junejo and Ali Palh sent Dr. Rubina’s pictures in the group as well as her work profile. One member of the group Mushtaq Mirani described her as a very fine and gentle Sindh loving person.Every member of the group who were participating in the interviewwarmly welcomed Dr. Rubina Greenwood in the group. Ali Palh encouraged participates to kindly ask any questions that they may have relevant to her work and experience.Before starting with the interview Dr. Rubina was givensuggestion to either take questions first and then type them in or she can use voice message option.

Ali Palh: Dr Rubina please tell us your experience about dealing with cases of forced conversion in Pakistan? What salutation you would suggest or recommend?
Dr.Rubina: For forced conversion question I would like to address firs; First of all, we need manage the growth of madrassas in Sindh and what control over what they are teaching. Are they really teaching true essence of Islam or their own politically motivated version of Islam which doesn't belongs to the land of Sufis.Recent growth of madrassas is catalyst for forced conversions as in these madrassas our so called religious teacher teach conversion of a Hindu if Christian girls is Jihad
Ali Palh: Good
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: 👍🏻
Razia Sultana Junejo:I just don’t understand how the government let them get away with that, looks like they have more powers than government.
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Because humans become unable to understand in the matter of religious. And due to fasadi mulaaz
Razia Sultana Junejo:yes, Nazakat

Ali Palh: What should be the procedure if an adult Hindu girl marries a Muslim guy accept Islam and come to court for protection? Since u also raise voice n did advocacy on Rinkle case.
Rubina Greenwood: I n my view as a human rights activists. A girl or boy must marry in his or her will. If they belong form two different religions, then they both should let each other to practice their own religion. Love must not ask for sacrifices! In case of kidnapping of Hindu girl in the. Yes, she should be protected by state but unfortunately in Pakistan rule of law is not possible. Also Pakistani state is very keen to eradicate minorities from Sindh in particularly to make Sindhis to divide on the name of religion and I strongly feel that state is part of this kidnapping as why we have not been able to arrest Mian Mithu despite of hundreds of evidence that he has number of girls in his house which are under age! It's our moral responsibility and duty of each Muslim Sindhi to protect our minority girls they are our sisters and daughter!

Erum Shah: Dr Rubina you did PhD in architecture then what motivated you to become human rights advocate as well.
Rubina Greenwood: Second question - my PHD is in architecture - I have published number of papers in academic journals and have been working in construction industry since 1999 but at the same time architecture discipline is very close to society. If you look at history all powerful people or religions have left their mark through a grand building in shape of church or palace or communicated cultural fusion through buildings. My PhD was aimed at affordable housing for developing counties and when I started Looking at the causes of poverty it was very obvious that political structure currently does not address human's basic rights and current political situation in Pakistan does not address poverty issue and access to basic needs of a human being such as shelter! So I decided that I will work on human rights in parallel to my professional career trajectory.
Dr. Saima Mastoie: 👍
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: 👏🏻
Razia Sultana Junejo: Wow that's really good you are doing great job.
Erum Shah:you have beautifully related your discipline with human rights issues 💐 thank you

Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Rubina sahiba its common that a man cannot success without a successful woman so you are a woman my question is that who’s behind your success?
Rubina Greenwood: Nazakat sahib - it’s true everyone has some one in their life who has contributed a lot in person's success. My strong secular Sindhi heritage, my brothers, my mother and my dear Husband Colin Greenwood all of ten have contributed in my life's success. Colin appreciate my values and my heritage.

Razia Sultana Junejo: In what ways do you think that international organizations like yourself is making positive effects in making pro women legislations in Pakistan?
Rubina Greenwood: In recent time there has been positive legislations are being introduced but just introducing legislation or law is not enough ISWO plans to work with UK government to put pressure on Pakistani state to make sure these laws are implemented. Implementation is key.
Razia Sultana Junejo:  yes you are right, looks like that there are lots of NGOs are working as well in Pak, but unless there is no guideline how the rules should be implemented then change will not be seen.
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Yes, it’s right, so what kind of step should be taken?

Nazakat Ali Sheikh:  what you think of position of women in Pakistan, do you see them being safe in coming time from torture, cruelty, force marriage, burning for refused for marriage, killing after rape, and from acids attack.
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Nazakat - unfortunately we will see increase in crime against women in near future dues two key reasons 1) increase political empowerment of religious sections and parties in Pakistan 2) for Sindhis and other nations of Pakistan moving away from their own indigenous cultural values which are secular values and our middle class following Wahhabism which inherently makes women a second class citizen and puts all women rights in the hands of men.
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Magnificent 👍🏻
Ali Palh: Right

 Kalim: Madrasaas will reformed then such change would be possible?
Rubina Greenwood: I think protection of women in Pakistan is now out of Pakistani states hands. They have positioned the society. We need international body to be set up which makes sure that laws are implemented.
Rubina Greenwood: That international body should be outside of Pakistani states control.
Erum Shah: you mean direct international intervention?
Rubina Greenwood: Yes, I am talking about direct intervention. Women rights and protections is not only the matter of Pakistani state any more this human rights! And we call international court and UN on these matters!
Kalim: Our foreign policy may not agree on this type of suggestions, as no country make interference in other country law and legislation.
Kalim: I suggest to go through foreign policy of Pakistan first then remodified the suggestions and ways towards betterment.
Rubina Greenwood: Kalim I am activists I try all venue! I don't believe giving up! However, under international law and UN treaties which are also signed by Pakistan they have to legally comply with international law! Women rights sits with UN human rights instrument
Erum Shah: It means we living in a failure state that is unable to protect rights of citizen
Razia Sultana Junejo: well Erum, don't we hear that every day.

Sikander Baloch: How do you for see the situation in Pakistan in particular in Sindh regarding awareness and women rights?
Rubina Greenwood: I think to raise effective awareness about women in Sindh we need to focus on men out young adult male. We tend to organise event on women rights and most participants are women but point its men whom we need change. So I strongly suggest that women rights NGO in Sindh needs to focus on men and promotion of Sindhi secular teachings and values and not new version of Islam!
Sikander Baloch: Agreed
Erum Shah: How about education?
Rubina Greenwood: Yes, Erum education is fundamental but many NGO are focusing on this but I fee education is not the only reason now in Sindh! Also it's well established fact that Pakistani syllabus is very biased and wrong interpretation of history.
Razia Sultana Junejo: yes, and I don't understand that why women organisations don't allow men to participate as a member.
Kalim: How can you deny foreign policy mam??
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Kalim please refer to PEW 2011 research report.


Ali Palh: Do you think that your suggestion is practical? What if Pakistani government does not comply with it what you are doing for that happen?
Rubina Greenwood: Whether Pakistan let or not this is irrelevant
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Rubina sahiba Your advice for us about how we can aware the women specially inSindh on their rights and what kind of step should be taken for prevention against the attacks on the dignity and self-respect of women.
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Nazakat I mentioned earlier that raising awareness in men is important so all NGO who are working on women's rights must focus on education of men and young men specially and Sufi secular teachings.
Rubina Greenwood: Absolutely British wanted Pakistan. So some blame goes to them in our educational content but during Zia time all syllabus was changed!
Rubina Greenwood: On our educational syllabus all such misleading interpretation of history in curriculum of education made by Britishers, so the present scenario is outcome of such policy made for sub contentment Asia by Macaulay.
Kalim: Again think and re memorized mam, during Zia regime, it was the world economic forum who directed to change curriculum accordingly for which huge grant was donated to govt. Of Pakistan.
Rubina Greenwood: Kalim agree funding came from them but writers were appointed Zia but I am not denying role of UK still
Rubina Greenwood: Erum - countries are not made on religion! Counties are made by nation, language and culture and history! There are only two states in world which are made because of religion 1) Israel and 2) Pakistan both countries are catalyst of world terrorism.
Kalim: Being human rights activist give me some concrete suggestions, how to change, bring change here in Badin district.
Razia Sultana Junejo: Educating young boys Kalim, that what she has mentioned before.
Rubina Greenwood: Raising awareness of men in Badin, Promote Sindhyat by shah's teachings, seminars on women rights in boy’s schools.
Ali Palh: And educating girls
Rubina Greenwood: Yes, Education of girls is fundamental and I consider that you all aware of this :) so I am not mentioning obvious points here :)

Ali Palh: How you relate your work on ground in Sindh? As we know you are based in UK?
Rubina Greenwood: Ali Palh - I work closed work with Aurat Foundation in terms of ISWO but in general human rights we work very closely a number of groups in Sindh.

Nazakat Ali Sheikh:  Adi in your eyes how law can protect women, minorities from torture, domestic violence or other degrading acts against women while these all acts are continuing from history and in some areas of Pakistan and some other countries these acts are part of customs in that's situation international conventions in which Pakistan has ratify, signed or made law how implementation will take place?
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Nazakat - yes there are some traditional crimes e.g. honour killings but recent rise in honour killings is not only in our villages but recent rise is in middle class too. I have my view against jjrga in villages - matters like rape/murder and domestic violence must not go to jirgas. Local NGO needs to work with police as well! So one. Concrete action I would suggest that workshops and seminars for police in each district.
`           Nazakat Ali Sheikh:  Yes but it’s so difficult because as you know jirgas are very much powerful and police also not held against Jirga, Because in Jirga system MMA,MPA , waderas , sardars, are involved.
Rubina Greenwood: One key point I would say Ada admitting that police work very close to waderas etc but I think we must try to set training packages for police which we have not done before
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Yes, right.
Rubina Greenwood: HR activist in Pakistan must focus on schools and middle college for boys.
Rubina Greenwood: Also in some villages we only have madrassas but no schools.
Rubina Greenwood: There also should be focus that we open schools in areas where religious leaders are more powerful in Sindh case mostly our shah's and waderas :)
Kalim: Then come forward & take a bold stance for Pakistan n Pakistani women rights, staying outside from Pakistan, it's just suggestions, not a real work.
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Kalim agree that I should be working in Sindh but I am not in Sindh as my family in UK and USA! I have option that I continue with career work and make money but I am doing what I can from UK! You asked for suggestions not that I voluntary given you my suggestion. I have respect for people who are working hard in Sindh and dealing with difficult situations!
Kalim: good mam Rubina

Kalim: How do you perceive, human rights activists of Pakistan, in pretext of your present suggestions??
Ali Palh: Good question Kalim
Ali Palh: Role of human rights defenders
Rubina Greenwood: I am a small activist so it would be wrong for me to comment on activist in Pakistan. But key point is that human rights activism is labour of love and this must not be the job!
Rubina Greenwood: In UK police and hospital and women rights NGO has
close alliances.
Rubina Greenwood: It's HR must not be seen as money making method.
Rubina Greenwood: I think people should look in to this working with police and raising their awareness.
Razia Sultana Junejo: Ali Palh provides training session to police, RightsNow Pakistan is very proud of this.
Ali Palh: Also Rubina Chandio does

Razia Sultana Junejo: Guys we have thirty minutes with Rubina, but she can stay longer if she has no other commitments.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Rubina do u get threats from Pakistan government in regards to your work.
            Ali Palh: Razia good question
Rubina Greenwood: Yes, I get harassed in UN. I had lot of threats when I was raising issue of Rinkal Kumari and organised protest against justice Iftekhar in London as he was given award in London!
Ali Palh: I see.

Nazakat Ali Sheikh:Oh then how you deal with harass and threats?
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Nazakat can't answer that question how I deal with harassment unfortunately
Nazakat Ali Sheikh: Adi, why working for women rights is so important for you?
Rubina Greenwood: Ada Nazakat the reason I work on all human rights issues! But women rights are close to my heart because I am woman and feel about the women who didn't had opportunities what I had in my life and secondly women are mothers of our nation! If we want healthy and progressive Sindh nation that we must protect our mothers!
Razia Sultana Junejo: 👍🏼

Ali Palh: Rubina we know u work close to Aurat foundation n others -do u conduct annual consultation in Sindh or how do u evaluate impact of your work
 Rubina Greenwood: Ada Ali not yet but plan to do this.
 Ali Palh: We appreciate your work and pressure that yousustained
Rubina Greenwood: Okay I have to go now and thank you very much for opportunity, I am really grateful that you have given me this time.
Razia Sultana Junejo: thank u so much, we are really grateful for your time.

Razia Sultana Junejo: can u please tell us about the demonstration that is taking place in London on coming Saturday.
Rubina Greenwood: Yes, we are organising demonstration on 18th June in front of 10 Downing Street to submit Petition to UK PM to put pressure on Pakistan for protection of women and girls in Pakistan, Demo will be held at 13.00 hrs.
 Rubina Greenwood: Thank you all

All the participants thanked her for her time.


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