Public memory is short, they say. Emotional outburst over murder subsides quickly and is soon forgotten. A speech here, a demonstration there, and people move on with their lives. Probably this was the calculation at Rawalpindi amongst Punjabi Generals of the Pakistan Army when they directed the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) to eliminate KarimaBaloch at Toronto in Canada.
KarimaBaloch had been actively exposing Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan at various international forums and her assertive activism was rising with each passing day. Her forceful arguments and raw courage shook the audience in western hemisphere that had hitherto been spoon fed fairy tales about Balochistan by the glib Pakistanis. CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) was talked about as the project that could usher prosperity in Balochistan and Balochsarmachaars (freedom fighters) were dubbed as disgruntled tribal insurgents. Slowly but steadily Karima was changing this narrative and unveiling the real Balochistan in Canada.
Canada is one of the preferred destinations for the Punjabi Pakistani Generals to settle post-retirement. It’s in Canada that they weave their web of lies at multinational NGOs and international forums at leisure. But here was this fearless soul who was spilling their dirty secrets at every forum in Canada.
And so ISI was put up for this job.
ISI and its bunch of hired assassins are adept at abductions and murders. Yes, they have built a nefarious nexus of paid killers who are slick at camouflaging cold murders as innocuous accidents. They had abducted and killed journalist SajidHussainBaloch in April this year at Uppsala in Sweden, and then passed off his murder as a bland accident.
Ditto for KarimaBaloch. She was abducted and then her dead body was found at a canal in Toronto.
With its moles in the Canadian establishment and a gullible Justin Trudeau as Canadian Prime Minister it wasn’t difficult for the ISI to pull the right strings in Canada. The results were ominous. Even before the investigations could formally begin the Canadian government said that they did not suspect any foul play. Ironically, efforts were made to pass on KarimaBaloch’s murder as a case of suicide.
However, what followed was a deviation from ISI’s script. KarimaBaloch’s death was reported and actively followed by the mainstream media. Digital news organizations put the blame squarely on ISI and Pakistan Army. Social media went berserk, tweets and facebook posts flied thick and fast. Balochistan erupted in frenzied protests and overnight KarimaBaloch became the rallying point for the common Baloch. Along with Pakistan, even the Canadian government faced flak for allowing ISI’s death squads to transgress its sovereignty.
Tributes for KarimaBaloch have come from around the world.
Dr Allah NazarBaloch, who at present is spearheading Balochistan’s freedom struggle hailed KarimaBaloch as a “towering personality and an icon”. He termed Pakistan as a rogue state that did not have any legend of bravery, and whose acts were laced with cowardice. “One Karima has produced lakhs of other Karimas,” said Dr Allah NazarBaloch.
KarimaBaloch had always been on the radar of Punjabi Pakistani Army who are comfortable seeing women as black shadows draped in a burqa or as sex objects inside their harems. KarimaBaloch was neither. She had a personality of her own. Back in 2005, when Rawalpindi tried to thrust Islamic extremism down Balochistan’s throat it was KarimaBaloch who became the first woman to speak against Rawalpindi’s agenda.
This was also the time when Dr Allah NazarBaloch had been arrested by Pakistan Army and Baloch freedom struggle appeared leaderless, albeit briefly. Karima took the reins in her hand and ensured that Baloch freedom struggle remained on fast track. She swiftly rose up the ranks to become the first vice chairperson of BSO-Azad. This feat came in despite the fact that Karima did not have a royal lineage, unlike several women politicians in Pakistan who are routinely propped up by Islamabad and Rawalpindi. She was one of those few Baloch activists who along with Dr Allah Nazar were instrumental in roping the common Baloch people into Balochistan’s independence struggle.
Baloch icon KarimaBaloch.
For several decades the world looked at Pakistan with a homogenous lens, such that even the erudite and geostrategic ‘experts’ on South Asia dismissed Balochistan’s freedom struggle as Pakistan’s ‘internal matter’. Balochsarmachaars (freedom fighters) were dubbed as terrorists and minor irritants in front of the ‘mighty’ Pakistan Army.
KarimaBaloch was one of those prominent Baloch leaders who told the world that Balochistan has a separate identity, culture and a history that’s more ancient than Pakistan. Punjabi Pakistanis through their network of pliable journalists and human rights activists had assiduously built a dubious narrative that deviously directed all talk about Pakistan around the Punjab province of Pakistan. This was effectively demolished by KarimaBaloch. Balochistan’s youth, especially women looked upon KarimaBaloch as a role model.
Repercussions after KarimaBaloch’s murder
The outrage over KarimaBaloch’s cold blooded murder led to protests and demonstrations across the world. And the insidious ISI quickly got into the fire-fighting mode. China’s help was sought, strategies redrawn and strings have been pulled across the world. In this tweaked strategy it was decided that Pakistan wouldn’t challenge or brazenly speak against Karima’s martyrdom, rather they would “own” her and shift the discourse.
Baloch girls protesting against the murder of KarimaBaloch. (Photo: News Intervention)
So, KarimaBaloch whose entire life was spent fighting for Balochistan’s rights and exposing Pakistan Army’s atrocities on Baloch people is now being referred to as a Pakistani activist! This is not a slip of the tongue, mind you. It’s a deliberate strategy. Calling Karima as a Pakistani human rights activist immediately takes the wind out of Balochistan’s sails. If this happens then the Baloch freedom struggle that has gained momentum after KarimaBaloch’s martyrdom could be slowed, as per ISI’s calculations.
Writing obituaries and paying tributes to Balochistan’s daughter KarimaBaloch would mean making active efforts to understand the current situation in Balochistan. This would mean writing and talking about those 30,000 “missing” Baloch who have been mysteriously disappeared by the Pakistan Army and ISI. It would also mean talking about Pakistan Army’s ‘kill and dump’ policy that has led to the death of over 10,000 Baloch people, a painful fact which Pakistan has successfully hidden away from the world. Information, discussion and debate around these issues would open a can of worms and the ensuing chain of events could drown Islamabad, Rawalpindi and the $62 billion CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).
In order to contain this domino effect Rawalpindi-Beijing duo issued their diktat to rebrand KarimaBaloch as a Pakistani activist. A large section of gullible media and pliable human rights activists have already followed suit.
And, if we allow this narrative to gain steam then it will be the collective failure of global civil society members. A few months ago ISI had eliminated SajidHussainBaloch in Sweden, now they’ve killed KarimaBaloch in Canada. Even as we mourn her death the ISI must be busy plotting the next target. This needs to stop. Now.
KarimaBaloch was Balochistan’s daughter and Balochistan is NOT Pakistan. This basic fact needs to be made part of the mainstream discourse. Only then will we be able to get hold of the real culprits who have killed KarimaBaloch. This will be real tribute to KarimaBaloch.
Click on the link to watch video report