ISLAMABAD: A suspicious man arrived at a vigil organised to mark the death anniversary of Irfan Khudi Ali, verbally attacked the participants and attempted to make a video. The participants, fearful for their security, informed local police who did not arrive for half an hour.
Thirty-two year old Irfan Khudi Ali was a peace activist and a member of the persecuted Hazara community. He was actively working to raise awareness about the worsening human rights conditions in Balochistan when he was killed in the bomb blast on Alamdar Road in Quetta on January 10, 2013.
Civil society activists gathered at F-6 Markaz on Saturday to pay tribute to Mr Khudi on his second death anniversary. They carried placards bearing messages against sectarian violence and raised slogans against the killing in the name of religion.
A bearded man wearing a shawl arrived at the vigil and began speaking against the protest. He said the participants had no right to criticise the Taliban or hold a protest. He then proceeded to shoot a video of the participants with his mobile phone camera. The participants of the protest attempted to stop him after which he stood behind a tree and began to take photographs.
Participants called the local police, mindful of the recent attack on a vigil in Lahore and Friday’s suicide attack on an Imambargah in Rawalpindi. Although Kohsar police station is only three minutes away, police did not arrive for over half an hour.
Head Constable Khalid claimed that police rushed to the scene as soon as they received instructions from the police control room and said the suspicious man has managed to flee. “I don’t believe he posed a real threat,” he said.
Earlier, while the atmosphere was tense, activists recalled the great services of Mr Khudi and spoke against the menace of sectarianism. Activist Samar Minallah said: “I never thought of Irfan as a Hazara because he raised his voice for every kind of person. Killing Irfan was the murder of humanity.”
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2015