Baloch political activists, student organizations, and supporters paid tribute to activist Karima Baloch on her 2nd death anniversary. Hundreds of admirers gathered in Quetta and Gwadar to remember her legacy; activist groups and student organizations thanked her for her ‘meritorious’ services for the Baloch cause.
Born in the unknown small town of Tump, Kech, in 1983, Karima Baloch was a Baloch human rights activist and political dissident. She was a student leader and an advocate for the rights of the people of Balochistan. She campaigned for the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan and was included in BBC’s list of 100 most influential and inspirational women in 2016.
Facing threats on her life and the lives of her family members, Karima Baloch fled Pakistan in 2015 and got asylum in Canada in 2016, where she remained until she died in 2020. Karima Baloch’s death was surrounded by mystery and doubt – she reportedly died after drowning in a lake in Toronto. The Canadian police claimed that her death was accidental, but this claim is disputed by Baloch nationalists and activists who claim she was killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Baloch activist groups commemorate her 2nd death anniversary and paid tribute to her services. The Baloch Yakjehti Committee held a seminar in Quetta where hundreds of participants gathered to pay their respects to Karima Baloch. Prominent attendees included Baloch intellectual Mama Talpur, Khurram Ali, Shahzaib Advocate, Dr. Mahrang Baloch, Zain Gul, Taj Baloch, AR Dad, Dr. Manzoor Baloch, Shari Baloch, and Khan Zaman Khan Kakar.
Addressing the gathering, the speakers said Karima Baloch had rendered meritorious services for the Baloch cause, which is why the Baloch nation remembers her as “lumma”, a Brahvi term meaning mother. They said she dedicated her entire life to the service of the Baloch nation, and her sacrifices will be remembered for the coming centuries.
The speakers said Karima Baloch played a crucial role in mobilizing the Baloch women and youth into student politics and activism. She knocked on every door and convinced parents to educate their daughters and allow them entry into politics.
The speaker said that Karima Baloch endured hardships during her struggle – her friends were “abducted and killed” and her family members were threatened in an attempt to silence her. She was forced to flee her motherland and seek asylum in Canada. But even there, she was not spared – she was threatened, harassed, and eventually killed, they said.
The speakers added that Karima Baloch infused the spirit of nationalism and resistance in the Baloch nation. She traveled to remote places to spread awareness among the masses. Even when the Pakistani state resorted to violent tactics – “enforced disappearances and kill-and-dumps” – she remained undaunted and continued her activism. She proved herself a true leader, and the Baloch nation is fortunate that such a luminary lived in their midst.
The Baloch Yakehti Committee also held a seminar in the coastal city of Gwadar where hundreds of admirers gathered to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of Karima Baloch. The attendees included activist Sammi Deen Baloch, JUI-F provincial leader Khalid Waleed Saifi, former BSO chairman Saeed Faiz Advocate, and several others.
“Balochistan-i-Banuk”, a film by the Baloch Women Forum documenting the life of Karima Baloch, was also shared in the seminar.
Addressing the gathering, the speakers said that Karima Baloch’s services for the Baloch nation can never be forgotten. She faced persecution, threats, and harassment for her activism. But despite all the hardships, she continued to fight for the Baloch cause until her last breath.
Activist Sammi Deen Baloch noticed fewer women were in attendance compared to the men. She said that if we had genuinely adopted Karima Baloch as our role model, the number of women attendees would have been much larger.
Other speakers said characters like Karima Baloch are born once in a generation. Her strong, fierce voice repeatedly reminded the Baloch nation of their servitude and inspired women to stand shoulder to shoulder with their male compatriots in the service of the Baloch cause.
The Baloch Students Action Committee also paid tribute to Karima Baloch in a media statement. The student organization said she had played a significant role in infusing political awareness among the Baloch youth and encouraging women’s participation in politics.
BSAC said Karima Baloch extricated the Baloch youth from ambiguous and fruitless political activities and nudged them towards progressive politics. She played a significant role in eliminating the social, ethnic, linguistic, and tribal divides between the Baloch communities and gathering them on a united front in service of the Baloch cause. She cultivated a culture of progressive thinking in Balochistan, BSAC said.
The National Democratic Party paid tribute to Karima Baloch in a media statement, saying that her life is a model for the Baloch youth and women to emulate. The group said Karima Baloch never limited herself to domestic activities – she actively participated in politics and encouraged others to do the same. She was an ideal mother, sister, daughter, wife, and friend, and fulfilled her responsibilities in every role.
NDP said that Karima Baloch faced numerous hardships because of her activism, but remained undaunted. She continued her activities and fought to the last breath.
The group said that Karima Baloch may have left us physically, but her ideology and ideals have been eternalized in our collective consciousness. Baloch women should follow her example and participate in student politics to play their due role in the service of the Baloch cause.