Systematic Intellecticide: The Overshadowed Assassination of a Baloch Poet


Young poet killed for recording and uploading testimony of a sexual assault victim

By: Balaach Marri

Gulzar Ryaz

Gulzar Ryaz

It all started with a cell phone video. Stormed by the comments of angry Baloch Facebookers and Tweeters, the video went viral within hours of its upload. It was the testimony of a sexual assault victim, Shakila Basharat, pleading justice.

Shakila, a housewife and a mother, tells the story of the horrific attack on her by a local powerful figure, Noor Ahmed.

“He broke into our house late in the night, he started beating me up. I cried, he was drunk, he didn’t listen.” Shakila goes on

Pampered by his elder brother Zahoor Buledi, Balochistan Ex-Minister, Noor Ahmed is also known to be running a local death squad in Buleda under the blessings of mighty Pakistan army.

“He hit me on the head with the gun butt. As I opened my eyes after few moments of falling unconscious, he was touching me everywhere. He even forced me to drink alcohol. I kept resisting. He then poured alcohol over my cloths.” Shakila recalls. 

The low-quality video of Shakila’s testimony kept circulating in different social networking sites for days. It gave birth to heated critical debates all around Baloch circles leaving behind many disgruntled. Nothing as such had happened before where technology was used so effectively to highlight the plight of a helpless woman – a sexual assault victim – in a society where women are regarded with highest respect.

As the shameful act caught collective condemnation from the wider society, the video caused utter unease and anxiety to Noor Ahmed.

Here’s where it starts to get uglier:

Balochistan Ex-Minister Zahoor Buledi's brother Noor Ahmed who sexually harrassed a housewife

Balochistan Ex-Minister Zahoor Buledi’s brother Noor Ahmed who sexually harrassed a housewife

Frustrated Noor Ahmed tasks his men to find the one behind capturing the video of Shakila’s testimony. After days of interrogating different sources, they come to know of Gulzar.

Gulzar Ryaz, 35, a brilliant poet with a well-reputed social life, enters Noor Ahmed’s target frame of revenge in order to ease his frustration. 

Fun-loving, caring and open-hearted man, also known for petting dogs in the hood, Gulzar lived a simple honest life in the society. 

After coming to know about Shakila’s incident, Gulzar decided not to sit quiet but speak up for justice. Gulzar knew Noor Ahmed was powerful and this could get him killed. But he actively campaigned to highlight Shakila’s case in different forums. Gulzar couldn’t just simply sit and watch a helpless woman grief over the injustice she was subjected to. He kept naming and shaming sex offender Noor Ahmed in public.

Finally on the evening of June 18th, Noor Ahmed is tipped off about Gulzar’s presence in a local tea house in Koh-e-Pusht area of main town Buleda. Noor decides to finish the job himself. At around 4pm local time, Noor and his men show up at the scene. 

He dragged Gulzar out of the tea house in front of dozens of eyewitnesses. Noor Ahmed is then heard swearing at him and repeating: “the time has come to pay the price for being damn courageous“.

In the most brutal way witnessed, Noor fired multiple rounds from his AK-47 on Gulzar killing him on the spot.

Gulzar’s murder left locals into a deep shock. But there was hardly anyone who could do anything about it; Noor Ahmed’s death squad is an open secret.

Gulzar gave his life to fight against injustice on a helpless woman who still awaits justice. Noor Ahmed roams free. 

SYSTEMATIC INTELLECTICIDE:

This mishap occurred two days before the assassination attempt on renowned Baloch poet Mubarak Qazi. Connecting the dots, analysts are calling it a systematic intellecticide of poets, intellectuals, social and political figures in Balochistan.

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