Today, Balochistan Truly Misses Comrade Jalib

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Former senator Habib Jalib Baloch, ex-chairman of the Baloch Students Organization and the secretary general of the Balochistan National Party (BNP), was one of the most brilliant politicians of all times in Balochistan’s politic.

He was brutally murdered last year by unknown assailants in Quetta. As expected, his tragic murder created such a big gulf in the regional politics that we truly miss him today one year after his departure.

Jalib was among the few gifted politicians of Balochistan who wore multiple hats. He had all the qualities a good politician requires. He was articulate, intelligent and devoted. Besides politics, he was a very important contributor to Balochistan’s intellectual landscape. He had written a book on Baloch nationalism and authored several researach articles on nationalism and regional politics. He was regularly interviewed by journalists and researchers.

As a Supreme Court lawyer, the Moscow-educated Baloch politician was a staunch champion of human rights. He freely fought the cases of the disappeared and detained Baloch political activists at different level courts. He belonged to Balochistan’s middle class and rightly felt the pain of the impoverished communities of the society.

Until his death, Jalib continued to identify himself as a political worker. He never claimed to be a ‘leader’ but preferred to be called a ‘follower’. He was a tireless activist and a lawyer who dedicated his entire life for the rights of the “oppressed people” of Pakistan in general and that of Balochistan in particular. He spent his last days in the midst of tough challenges and internal pressure.  He was pressurized to support the ongoing armed struggle in Balochistan and openly back the demand for an independent Balochistan.

On his part, Jalib stuck to his party’s stance of non-violent political struggle for what he called as “Balochistan’s right to self-determination”. He was imprisoned during General Musharraf’s military regime for his political activities. Yet, he was a tireless activist who would elegantly divide his time between the high court bar, politics and community service. One of the judges of Balochistan High Court sarcastically remarked in one of the memorial references that he was always stunned with Jalib’s spirit of hard work.

“Jalib would work in the court until 2:00pm,” recalled the senior judge,” and then at 3 or 4 o’clock, we would see him live on TV leading a political rally or addressing a press conference. After two hours, one would see him arduously  debating in a television talk-show.”

That was the epitome of Habib Jalib.

The late senator was among the selected Baloch leaders who were respected across the country for their political sagacity and intellectual thoughts. His killing was condemned by politicians and intellectuals from Left and Right.  Balochistan never remained the same after Jalib’s murder. In fact, his killing marked an unending episode of targeted killings of Baloch political leaders and activists.

The loss of a progressive, liberal and secular leader like Habib Jalib was felt not only by his Balochistan National Party but also the people of the entire province. He was a big pillar of Balochistan’s fight for its  democratic rights. In the last 365 days, his sane voice of reason has been missed so many times at argumentative television talk-shows, impromptu press conferences,  robust political rallies and in special editions of newspapers dedicated to Balochistan.

On the day when Jalib was killed, the government immediately formed an inquiry committee to investigate Jalib’s killing.  The government authorities also issued the sketch of the murderer. Yet, the fact-finding task was never accomplished nor were the murderers ever brought to justice. No matter, who killed Jalib and what the motives behind his killing were, the fact of the matter is that his was such a great loss for all the liberals and progressive people that no investigations can compensate his life.

(Malik Siraj Akbar)


The Baloch Hal


I Cried for Jalib

Habib Jalib Interview with The Baloch Hal

The Baloch Hal Editor’s Interview on German Radio about Jalib’s Murder 


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