Coming out against the death squads | How 4-year-old Bramsh has forced the people of Balochistan to resist and protest
4-year-old Bramsh, just like her name, has sparked process across the province.
Bramsh, a four-year-old girl from a small village in the remote border region of Ketch in Balochistan, was injured during a robbery attempt. Her mother was murdered in the same incident. In response to the active dacoit groups in the province, for the first time, there are popular protests across all of Balochistan for justice.
Systematic violence has been the norm for decades in Balochistan’s Makran, but it was rare to witness assaults on children and women. This changed on the night of May the 26th in Dannuk, Turbat.
Three armed men attacked a house where a family was sleeping under the open sky to stay cool – a usual practice in a place like Turbat, where temperatures can reach as high as 50°C.
The men demanded cash and valuables. When the woman, Malik Naz, resisted, she was shot on the spot along with her 4-year-old daughter Bramsh.
The other family members managed to get hold of one of the robbers and handed him over to the local police. Two other suspects have also been detained, yet the alleged leader of the gang is still “nowhere to be found” a week after the event.
Resistance, protests, and condemnation
Just like the meaning of her name, Bramsh has sparked protests across the province. The locals are collectively raising their voices, resisting, and rebelling against the failure of law enforcement agencies, the abuse of power, and years of silence and injustice.
The incident has made the locals of Balochistan realize that they are at risk no matter where when, or who they are: men, women, or even babies.
At first, this spark gave rise to an online campaign, #JusticeForBramsh. Hundreds of people from Balochistan and Pakistani humanitarians, whether based in Pakistan or abroad, participated in the online protest and requested the authorities to intervene.
Due to the silence and government’s inaction for the past week, people in various cities and towns of Balochistan took to the streets demanding justice – the arrest of the alleged leader of the gang and hanging all the criminals involved in the assault.
— Karima Baloch (@KarimaBaloch) June 4, 2020
Let’s all come forward to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world and Baloch in particular and protect them from the physical, mental and emotional abuse causing trauma. #SaveBalochChildren#JusticeForBramsh pic.twitter.com/C9zPKpLviT
— Morgan Frenley (@morganFrenley) June 4, 2020
You captured our land, plundered us. When we asked what was ours, you suppressed us, threw us in dungeons, killed us.
But as Neruda says, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming”.
— Ehsan Baloch #JusticeForBramsh (@EhsanHydrBaloch) June 4, 2020
— Shahzad Baloch (@ShahzadBaloch_) June 4, 2020
— Tasmia بلوچ (@tasm_baloch) June 4, 2020
After successful operation of Bramsh in Karachi hospital, when she came in her senses she started crying and asking for her mother. Seeing her in this condition anyone's heart can melt but those who killed her mother and injured her aren’t human. #JusticeForBramsh pic.twitter.com/l3viKCQ09C
— Zeemal Baluch (@zeemal_baluch) May 30, 2020
Led be a new generation of youth, women in the lead, the Baloch national movement inspires all who struggle against death squads, ethnic-national oppression, capitalist 'development' & patriarchy. All who speak of freedom & equality must demand #JusticeForBramsh & the Baloch ppl pic.twitter.com/2bLYMvlxYY
— Aasim Sajjad Akhtar (@AasimSajjadA) June 4, 2020
Even during the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of protesters gathered at Turbat’s “Shaheed Fida Chowk” on the first of June 2020. On June the 2nd, citizens of Bulaida and Washok rallied to question the provincial government’s safety measures and demanded the custody of all the criminals.
A similar demonstration took over the port city of on May the 30th where protesters rallied to Gwadar Press Club to gear up the justice campaign for Bramsh.
The civil society members in the provincial capital of Quetta had also announced they would gather at The Quetta Press Club on June the 4th. A similar protest was held in Karachi in front of Karachi Press Club, and locals in Panjgur also demonstrated at Shaheed Javeed Chowk on June the 3rd to protest the assault.
Protesters in all these cities warned that if all the criminals are not held accountable under the law, the protests would continue and spread to distant towns of Balochistan.
An attack on Baloch ‘honor’
For many Balochs, the assault on Bramsh is “very personal” as it is a “direct attack” on “Baloch honor.” In Baloch culture, it is considered an attack on one’s “honor” when the women are assaulted — that too when present in the premises of one’s own house.
However, many question this barbaric, patriarchal, and primitive idea of “honor” and reject any connection between this slogan and the case. They consider the recent attack the result of an absence of law enforcement, continued unauthorized support for such armed gangs in the region, and eternal silence by citizens against aggressive authorities that have been abusing their powers.
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