Zahra Baloch – an unsung hero of Balochistan

On 14 May 2018, a daughter of Balochistan and brother took a taxi home not knowing that it would be their last ride. She had just finished her final year exams and was going to visit her brother in Iranian occupied Balochistan when a Land Cruiser overtook their taxi and brake sharply leaving no time for the taxi to stop. Hence, the taxi collided with the back bumpers of the Land Cruiser killing all three persons on board – Zahra Baloch, her brother Attaullah Baloch and the taxi driver.

It is not clear yet what caused the Land Cruiser’s driver to brake sharply or whether it was a deliberate attempt to cause this accident with intent to kill Zahra and her brother. Iran and Pakistan are two dangerous states for Baloch people and they avail every opportunity to harm the most learned and educated youth of Balochistan. Since Zahra Baloch was politically active and had previously received threats from Pakistani security forces, it is highly likely that her death was not just an accident.

According to close relatives of Zahra, she had a keen interest in Baloch politics since her childhood. She always wanted to do something for her nation and to be able to help them in their struggle for freedom.

She was a silent but active political worker who believed in practical work than show off like many of today’s activists and even ‘leaders’. She would go house-to-house to educate people about the freedom struggle and advise youth of her age to spend their energy on education instead of wasting it on unnecessary things.

According to Basheer Shohaaz, the elder brother of Zahra, she the youngest among siblings but she was different from rest of the family. ‘She had grown up in middle of war [Balochistan freedom struggle] that is why her way of looking at things was different. She was a strong representative of the new Baloch generation. She was the kindest person with her innocent face and she would never argue, raise her voice or get angry with anyone at home.’

In Basheer Shohaaz’s words, ‘Zahra had a pain in her heart for the Baloch nation and Balochistan. That pain had made her politically mature before her age. The pain of occupation of Balochistan, the pain of brothers and sisters and the pain of disappearances had made her the leader of her sisters – political colleagues. After doing her school work and housework, she would sit and publish the news messages about the disappearances of her brothers and abduction of Baloch women.’

The enemy [Pakistani forces] could not tolerate her peaceful political activities and they threatened her father to ‘tell your youngest daughter’ to stop publishing news messages.

When her brother told her to be careful circulating social media news messages, she replied, ‘There is nothing left for the Baloch nation. They [Pakistani forces] have done whatever they could. Now they can only kill us. If they want to kill me let them do so, I’m not better than my brothers.’

In 2017 Pakistani forces raided her house, harassed her family and abducted her father. During this raid one Pakistani army colonel ordered Zahra to hand over her mobile phone to them, not only she refused to give her phone but she took a stone and broke the phone making it completely disable for the Pakistani military officials to check its contents.

Such unsung heroes and silent soldiers of Balochistan freedom struggle should not be forgotten. In fact, their struggle and hard work should be praised and used as examples for the next generations of Balochistan so they can learn real activism instead of today’s petty politics of leg pulling and throwing dirt on each other.

Author: faizbaluch

Editor of Balochwarna New. Baloch human rights activist associated with Free Balochistan Movement and International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons.

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