Saneeya Hussain

Saneeya Hussain

Saneeya Hussain (13 August, 1954 - April 20, 2005) was a Pakistani journalist and environmentalist. She married a Brazilian man in 1998 and died in Brazil in 2005.

Saneeya began her career at MNJ Pakisan working for Javed Jabbar as a copywriter in 1978. In the mid-eighties, Saneeya edited The Star Weekend magazine. The paper was a platform for dissenting views. Banned columnists had to keep changing their names to continue writing, and the women’s movement that was so alive in those days found plenty of space in the magazines pages. She was also a member of the Shirkat Gah Collective which catalyzed the Women’s Action Forum, the lobby group that so fiercely resisted the Zia regime. When “the red scribbles from upstairs” got unbearable, in early 1988, she left.

Saneeya moved on to join the World Conservation Union (IUCN) – and was also among one of the first Pakistanis to participate in people-to-people contact with Indian environmentalists. She also set up the pioneering Journalists Resource Centre that trained and encouraged journalists in environmental reporting.

Saneeyas involvement in the Pakistan's National Conservation Strategy (NCS) drafted at that time included the path-breaking NCS Bulletin (later the The Way Ahead magazine), and its Urdu counterpart, Jareeda, edited by Obaidullah Baig.

After going to work with the World Commission on Dams at Cape Town, South Africa in August 1998, Saneeya met Luis P. Ferraz, the Brazilian geographer whom she interviewed for a project. Luis and Saneeya eventually married and moved to Kathmandu after she joined Panos South Asia as director in 2002 following a series of detailed long-distance interviews, emails and phone calls.

Saneeya and Luis decided to move back to Brazil in 2004 where she and Luis travelled and lived together in São Paulo, Brazil. On April 20 2005 Saneeya suffered an asthma attack in her São Paolo apartment. She was rushed to the hospital but due to heavy traffic did not reach the emergency room in time. Saneeya remained in a coma for about a week, after which she died at the age of 50. Her father, Vasef Husain, died two months later in Karachi, Pakistan. Her mother and younger sister still reside in Karachi, while Luis lives in São Paulo.

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