The weeklong Bus Kar Do campaign launched by Justice Project Pakistan in collaboration with Azad Theater and Highlight Arts wrapped up in Karachi on Tuesday with a final performance of the Intezar theatrical experience.
Launched in Lahore on Oct. 4, the brightly colored ‘Bus Kar Do’ bus traveled to Sahiwal, Sukkur, and Hyderabad before reaching Karachi. Part of JPP’s public advocacy efforts for World Day Against the Death Penalty on Oct. 10, the campaign aimed at informing people of the plight of the thousands of Pakistanis currently on death row.
Intezar is an interactive theatrical experience based on the lives of actual JPP clients. “It takes an intimate look at their cases, the circumstances that led to their crimes and the unfair criminal justice system that led them to the gallows,” JPP said in a statement.
Carrying a troupe of actors and activists, the bus staged Intezar at every stop and encouraged audiences to write postcards to President Mamnoon Hussain asking for clemency of death row inmates that do not deserve to be executed. The interactive performance was accompanied by activities for children, a selfie booth and a Q&A with staff.
According to JPP, local communities hailed their initiative. “In Sahiwal, communities shared their own stories of family members trapped in jails all over the country, and in Multan many voiced their outrage that innocent people remain in danger of being executed,” it said, adding, “In Sukkur, the local Union Council leader explicitly announced to the crowd, ‘We have not forgotten the hanging of Bhutto,’ and that the government remains aware that the system is unjust against the impoverished. In Hyderabad, Intezar was staged in front of the press club, right in the middle of the street.”
In a statement, Rimmel Mohydin, head of communications at JPP, added: “Bus Kar Do has literally brought untold stories from prisons across Pakistan right to the streets of Pakistan, and with it nuance and empathy for some of our most demonized citizens.” Pakistan has executed 480 prisoners since it lifted the moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014. Available data, however, shows the death penalty, allegedly to be used only in the most extreme terrorism cases, has been capriciously applied and has not served its stated goal of reducing extremism.