Sheema Kermani, a name known by many for her classical dancing and social activism has been talk of the town for the past two days. This time she was a buzzword for raising her voice for the people of Gaza, but it was different than other celebrities have so far done.
Kermani was apparently “ejected” from a programme held at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi on Friday after she raised the slogan “Ceasefire Now” when the British deputy high commissioner was making a speech.
The event was held to celebrate the birthday of King Charles III, Dawn reported.
Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including over 5,000 children, since October 7 when Hamas launched rockets from the Gaza Strip. Many celebrities in the West and in Pakistan have called for an immediate ceasefire in the occupied territory.
Last month, more than 2,000 British artists called for an immediate Gaza ceasefire and blamed the world governments for not just tolerating but “aiding and abetting” Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza.
According to Kermani, her slogan triggered security personnel to evict her. “That’s when I asked them to not touch me as I would see myself out,” she told the newspaper
She lamented that none of the attendants were talking about the atrocities in Gaza. The social activist went on to add that no one at the event supported her when she was being “thrown out”.
But a spokesperson for the British Deputy High Commission denied it. The spokesperson stated that the social activist was “shouting” during a speech about climate change in Pakistan by the British deputy high commissioner.
Kermani told BBC Urdu that she would continue to raise her voice for the people of Gaza.
“I want to say that how can you speak about climate change when you have created a warlike situation? There [in Gaza] you are throwing phosphorous and taking lives of people so you are spreading blood in the climate,” she said.
The classical dancer claimed that two to three guards came to her and tried to force her out when she raised the slogan for a ceasefire. On this, she asked them not to touch her [as] she would leave on her own.
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When asked, Kermani said that she was not against any British but she wanted to raise her voice for the cause. “You cannot stay silent on the genocide in Gaza.”
A team led by the World Health Organization that visited Al Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital, on Saturday described it as a “death zone”, days after Israeli forces seized the premises to root out an alleged Hamas command centre underneath it.
Earlier this week, the BBC debunked Israel Defense Forces’ claims pertaining to the hideouts of Hamas in the above mentioned hospital, which has been surrounded by the occupation forces. According to the British broadcaster, the details shown by the IDF in a couple of video clips did not match the findings when the channel went their for reporting.
Social media reaction
Kermani’s action has earned her praise from many people.
“Whether in Sehwan Sharif or here, Sheema Kirmani has SPINE. Pretty sick that not a single Pakistani there followed her out,” lawyer Imaan Mazari said in a post on X.
The Aurat March was “proud” of Kermani!.
“Sheema jee was kicked out for saying this, so let’s all say it together: CEASEFIRE NOW!” it said.
Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari also praised the social activist for her effort but was “disgusted” to know that none of the Pakistani elite at the event chose to walk out with her in support.
Another user wanted to know the names of the Pakistani celebrities, elites, and bureaucrats who stayed silent as Kermani was “ejected” from the UK commission in Pakistan.