Thursday, 17 December 2009
Banok Karima: the Baloch Leila Khaled
(By Malik Siraj Akbar)
The Frontier Corps (FC) injured several political activists and one journalist in Turbat district on Friday in a clash in front of headquarters of Mekran Scouts in a sit-in that demanded the release of a freshly arrested Baloch writer and his son in Thump area.
According to the details, hundreds of Baloch women hailing from four towns of Turbat staged a sit-in in front of the district headquarter of the Mekran Scouts, a wing of the Frontier Corps (FC), to condemn the raid and subsequent arrest of a prominent Balochi language writer Ali Jan Quomi and his son Mujahid Quomi.
The raid had taken place in Thump area at Sehri times after the killing of two personnel of the Frontier Corps in an attack by the activists of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) in the same area. The attack on the FC team had also killed one of the attackers, Mir Jan Meeral, who was identified as a renowned Balochi language poet.
Karima Baloch, who led the rally, told this writer that the Baloch women had taken out a peaceful demonstration in front of the FC headquarters in Turbat to condemn the raid on the house of Quomi who had been shifted to an unknown location along with his young son.
Over the years, Karima Baloch has emerged as the Leila Khaled of Balochistan. On June 3, 2009, an anti terrorist court sentenced her for three years and imposed a penalty of 150 thousand Pakistani rupees under section 123,124 of Pakistan's law. She rose as a steadfast face of resistance in the Baloch movement after actively campaigning for the release of all missing persons in Balochistan along with the female leaders of Baloch Women's Panel. In fact, the Baloch Women's Panel comprises of women fromBalochistan whose relatives went “missing'' during the military regime of Pervez Musharraf. They are still striving to get their beloved relatives resurfaced.
Restrictions and punishments have not deterred the spirit of Karima Banok as she mobilized the women of Thump to come on the streets to protest the arrest of a Balochi language writer and his son.
I must confess that Mand is the land of brave Baloch daughters. Its daughters have impressively brightened the name of this small Pak-Iran border town. For some Zubida Jalal, the former federal education minister and a current member of Pakistan's National Assembly, and for the revolutionaries Banok Karima Baloch are role models. History cannot overlook both these brave daughters of Mand who rose from middle class families and got themselves recognized across the country and internationally. Mind you, the Zubida Jalal who remarkably impressed me is the one who ran a school for Baloch girls in her highly backward area, not the one who consolidated the hands of a military dictator who killed hundreds of people in Balochistan.