Monday the 21st of December 2020: almost 50 countries have put travel bans on the UK, after the new mutated virus UK have announced yet another lockdown in England and other parts of the country. In Balochistan people are demonstrating against the fencing of Gwadar. I was interviewing an activist from Canada regarding Gwadar fencing. We spoke from 05:00 pm GMT to 05:47 on the live session and our discussion continued for a couple of more minutes after this. I put my phone on the table and went to the kitchen, when I came back, I saw a missed call from a friend. I called returned his call, and after greetings he wanted to confirm from me about a report that Banuk Karima is missing. This was unbelievable and seemed untrue because for me to believe something of that sort to happen with a senior Baloch activist in such a peaceful country like Canada was beyond belief.
I tried not to believe him but he assured me that this was on Toronto police websites, where they also have put the picture of Banuk. After his call I searched for the given information and he was true, the report of Banuk Karima being missing was there.
Even after that news I waited for a statement or confirmation from the family first. It seemed they were looking for her while I was waiting for better and positive news of Banuk being found in good condition without any harm and definitely not dead.
Unfortunately, things do not work like this for us, we still sometimes pretend to be hopeful and wish the best thing to happen, but the destiny of Baloch is written with blood, pain and sorrows. The next hour was full of concern. I had visuals of Martyr Sajid Hussain and abducted Rashid Hussain in my mind. But I was telling myself that this must be a mistake or she is stuck in something but she is safe and secure and she will be back soon.
Few hours later a tweet from Balochistan times (whose editor went missing in March 2020 and found dead in April 2020) confirmed that Baloch leader and the strongest Baloch female voice is no more.
The tweet sparked a fire in the forest, within minutes the news was everywhere in the world. And again my phone started ringing. This time it was many calls, many painful calls, many broken voices, many people who did not want to believe what had just happened. For me the only source of information was a Tweet from Balochistan Times, this was reliable but still like thousand others I wanted the news to be false.
In 2009 when Ghulam Mohammad, Lala Muneer and Sher Mohammad Baloch were martyred by Pakistani army and their bodies were thrown in Murgaap, Balochistan was mourning for their leaders, there was anger and a mission to carry. To remember those martyrs a huge gathering took place in Mand. I also went to attend the Mand Jalsa. I was sitting with thousands of other participants to listen to the speeches of Baloch leaders. Karima Baloch along with her fellow colleagues walked towards the stage, the crowd rejoiced and chanted slogans of freedom and showed their love and respect towards their young leadership.
I also participated in different protests in Karachi, which were led by Karima Baloch.
Even after being that close and near to Banuk Karima I never got a chance to meet her face to face and speak to her in Karachi or Balochistan. Recently I shared the screen with her when she attended a webinar on 13th of November on the occasion of the Baloch Martyrs Day.
Yesterday, a non-Baloch friend said that you Baloch are so brave you guys are so hopeful and positive even after such big losses. I told her that we have no other option but to be hopeful and continue our struggle or else why should we live?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.