Irfan Ali Who Died for Balochistan

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in The Baloch Hal

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Irfan Ali, 6th from left, protesting against enforced disappearances in Balochistan. December 2011

Being a Hazara, Irfan Ali, was destined to collect the dead bodies of his community members ever since adolescence. He ceased to be just a Hazara or a Shia. He crossed every ethnic, sectarian or religious limits and became a true humanist.

Ali used to become a Baloch in sharing the pains inflicted upon the victims of enforced disappearances, kill-and-dump and decades of suppression.

He would become a Pakhtun in protesting against the murders of innocent Pakhtuns who have been killed in thousands either during US-led anti-Soviet war or US-led war on terror. Either at the hands of Al-Qaeda or by Taliban and it’s supporters.

He tweeted on December 22, 2012: “Quetta: All Hazaras are requested to observe shutter down strike against inhuman attack on Bashir Ahmed Bilour. Raise your voice against terrorism” (@khudiali)

He raised voice and organized protest demonstrations against all sorts of brutalities committed across the country in the name of religion, sect or ethnicity.

As ‘charity begins at home’, he vowed to concentrate his efforts to his province, Balochistan, first. He therefore founded ‘Human Rights Commission for Social Justice and Peace’ aimed at raising awareness about ‘child rights’, ‘access of information’, ‘human rights values’ etc. He aimed to establish ‘human rights resource centers in the rural areas of Balochistan’ and put forward practical steps in ‘social mobilization and capacity building for a tolerant society’ by conducting numerous workshops, seminars and meetings.

As a stronger believer of peace he left no stone unturned to strengthen ethnic and sectarian harmony among the brotherly nations of Balochistan. He traveled to various districts of Balochistan and met with local political and human rights activists to convey the message of love and brotherhood on behalf of his community amidst a huge conspiracy aimed at creating ethnic and sectarian clashes in the province.

As a courageous rights campaigner he not only spoke against the human rights violations, enforced disappearances, extremism and Talibanism in Balochistan on multiple forums but also attended numerous protest demonstrations–from Quetta to Islamabad alongside other activists.

Ali used to always remind the ‘secular Hazaras, Balochs and Pakhtuns to stand up against the menace of extremism, sectarianism and Talibanism, particularly in Balochistan’.

“If Baloch, Pashtoon, Hazara want a better future for their children, they must collectively get united and counter kindnappers and terrorists” He  tweeted on November 20, 2012. (@khudiali)

Nobody remained unaffected by the deteriorating law and order situations in the province, as he would always predict. Not only mass-killings but kidnapping for ransom, targeted killings of doctors, professionals and religious minorities etc were on the rise in the province and he sometimes expressed frustrations:

“Golden rule in Balochistan: Whoever raises its voice against injustice will be screwed; doctors, Balochs, Pashtoon, Hazaras. Only killers enjoy life” Ali tweeted on November 27, 2012.

Despite serious threats to his life he continued struggling for peace, social justice and equality and eventually he faced what was already expected. He loved ethnic and sectarian diversity. Used to always talk about the early days of his life when Balochistan was peaceful.

@khudiali: “Hazara families of Machh and Khuzdar finally succumbed to the genocidal pressure & are moving out. Sad day for diversity in Balochistan” . This was his last tweet on January 1o, 2012.

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Irfan Ali, in blood-stained coffin, protesting in front of Parliament House, Islamabad.

Irfan Ali, 33-years-old and newly wed, lost his life during one of the the systematic terrorist carnages on December 10, 2013 as he was giving first-aid to the victims of a blast which took place in a snooker club close to his home. 

The author is a freelance journalist and human rights activist from Quetta. He can be reached at dr.saleemjavid@gmail.com

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in The Baloch Hal

 

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