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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ibrar Hussain’s last fight: we lost

Ali Moeen Nawazish

Monday, July 09, 2012
From Print Edition

It was 1987, the South Asian Games, in Kolkata India. There was out roar over a decision in boxing that many considered as unlawful. The match was between Pakistan and India, and while Pakistan had been the dominant side throughout the Indian side was declared victorious. The match refrees and judges could not sustain the pressure of their home crowd. The decision left the Pakistani boxer heartbroken, not for losing but for not being able to raise his national flag and national anthem in India. He had been unsuccessful, yet his passion for Pakistan never diminished and he did not give up.

After three years in 1990 at the Asian Games in China, the same boxer was standing again crying. Yet, this time instead of tears of sorrow they were tears of joy. The Asian Games was a much bigger event. It was a rematch of the same South Asian Games match from Kolkata. He stood victorious having defeated his counterpart who he had unfairly lost to before. It was the semi-final match and he had reached the finals. Yet, the winning streak did not end there for the same boxer reached the finals and won the Gold Medal. He had proven himself to be strong, bold and determined.

The name of this boxer is Ibrar Hussain and he belonged to Balochistan. He was the first boxer from Balochistan who represented Pakistan in the Asian Games and won the gold medal. For his accomplishments he was awarded two of Pakistan’s highest civil awards, the “Pride of Performance Award” and “Sitara-e-Imtiaz”.

Last year Ibrar Hussain stood crying again, this time the tears were not of joy or sadness and neither because of victory or defeat. The tears were much grimmer and the last tears he would ever cry. Ibrar Hussain had been shot, a victim of target killing. He was going home from his office in Quetta when he was attacked. The national hero, who had done so much for Pakistan was left only to ask, is this my reward? Is this all that was left for me?

Ibrar Hussain became the victim of the sectarian wave and ethnic violence that is spreading across Balochistan. I am writing about him today because of a message I received, “Salaam Nawazish bhai.

There is no peace for me, my family, my friends and relatives in my community. I belong to Hazara Community from Quetta. We have been killed brutally every day almost. Yesterday, our people returning by road from Iran in a bus were hit by a car driven by a suicide bomber. 14 people were killed and we buried them. I belong to the family of late Olympian Boxer Syed Ibrar Hussain Shah. What has Pakistan given back to him and his family except his dead body with several bullets in his head? Is this the Pakistan we are proud of? I am ready to give my life for Pakistan, I love Pakistan. But, I don’t want to waste my life like Ibrar Hussain.”

The Hazara community has a population of 8 million, 5.5 million are the residents of Afghanistan, 1.5 million of Iran, and 0.7 million of Pakistan. By origin the community is considered Turk-Mongol of the Afghanistan. In the 13th century they became target on the cast, ethnic and religion bias. This wave forced them to migrate from Afghanistan to the neighboring states like Pakistan, Iran and other Central Asian States. A century ago the forefathers of the Hazara community came to Quetta which at the time was a garrison city of the British government as refugees and have settled there since. Presently, the Hazara community is living in different parts of Pakistan, but the majority still lives in Quetta.

For a very long time there was peaceful co-existence, but extremist organizations took hold under General Zia’s rule and sectarian and ethnic violence started ever since. While the organizations have been banned they have still continued their role and work. According to one estimate, the community has faced more than 50 terrorists’ attacks, which have affected the lives of more than 2500 innocent people and have taken the lives of more than 550 people. No one is taking serious look into this issue. The government is just routinely condemning the attacks where as its own writ is challenged. There is not much that can be said when at times it seems the chief minister of the province himself spends more time in Karachi than in Balochistan.
The youth of Balochistan is worried about the situation and wants security. They want their fundamental right as citizens of Pakistan to live peacefully. The youth still wants to do a lot for Pakistan, but they don’t want to die in vain like Ibrar Hussain did. For Ibrar Hussain fought his last fight and we all lost.

The writer is Youth Ambassador of Geo and Jang Group. Email: am.nawazish@janggroup.com.pk Facebook: facebook.com/ali.moeen.nawazish Twitter: @amNAWAZISH

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