Latif’s Protest

Latif Johar

Baloch Students Organization-Azad (BSO-Azad) is an ethno-centric student organization fighting for the separation and freedom of Balochistan. Over 100 members of the organization have been reported missing, and the organization is still considered popular amongst Baloch students. On the 18th of March, Zahid Baloch, the chairperson of BSO-Azad was abducted and is now reported missing, like thousands of other Baloch.

However, there was a unique turn to this abduction. Latif Johar, a BSO-Azad CC member, has been on hunger strike since April 22 outside the Karachi Press Club, and his condition is fast deteriorating.

There are four concerns that arise around this issue. One and two, concern the media. The young man has displayed immense courage but the otherwise hysterical private media has not really covered it yet. Secondly, as a society so over-exposed to violence, we have perhaps started to ignore and overlook non-violent protests. Had this gentleman blown himself up in front of the Karachi Press Club, wouldn’t everyone take notice? The BSO-Aaad is seeking freedom for Balochistan. Which brings us to the third concern: is abducting members and censoring protests the solution? Has it yielded any positive results in the last decade? However, the most potent question is, if Latif dies, who will be responsible? Is the Army answerable? Are the agencies and Frontier Constabulary to be held accountable, as they are in charge of law and order in Balochistan? Should we question the current PML-N government, which promised to resolve the conflict in Balochistan before the elections, but has forgotten it during the fatal business of talks with the Taliban?

As we debate these concerns (perhaps a little too late) a young boy has been quietly dying to further his cause. It is crucial that the country sit up and take note, and ask some questions of its own

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