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The Lone Star State of Balochistan

Published Jun 12, 2012 06:43pm


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There was so much to be mesmerized. From the Whispering Galleries of Rotunda to Sam Houston Sculptures in Southern Foyer, the Texas State Capital building was every inch a marvel. The curator at the city congress was a Pakistani American. The floor glistened and all of us, the third world dwellers, had no choice but to envy. Twice he mentioned that Texas was the same size as Balochistan. Years later, once I got to know Meer Saheb, I realised that other than size, Texas and Balochistan shared the title too. Both can be rightfully called `The Lone Star State’ only that the star was Meer Muzaffar Hussain Jamali.

Known as Meer sahib amongst his friends, fans and students, this proud Baloch was born in the village of Chowki Jamali, district of Jafferabad. The family marked their time on the meager income from ancestral lands. Though his father could not afford him a high end life, he left him a high-end ideology as an inheritance. On growing up, he realised that the local nobility would never permit him to pursue higher education. The association with the books, in this part of the world, was the recipe of change, a factor the elites of Balochistan hate more than anything. He made a daring choice and left his village for Kharan.

After he had established himself in Kharan, he formed Pakistan Patriotic Forum. This forum aimed at redirecting the youth, who thought that violence was the only way out. Meer sahib guided them to change the world around them but through education. Throughout his life, he remained a strong critic of an imperial mindset. He was against the feudal system of nawabs and sought a new social contract for his people. He believed that the real autonomy lied not in secession but being able to decide the best for community.

In the world of Ted Ex, Steve Jobs and habits of highly effective people, a real life changer like him was underrated. An avid hard-worker with a missionary spirit of the old man at sea, he would spend endless nights working towards a better Balochistan. His command on 12 languages (almost all the regional and mainstay languages) made him easily accessible. Kharan figures out to be a place where unlike executive NADRA centres, registration for ID cards and getting hospital admissions straightened up requires unflinching determination. People showed up at his school for all and anything, job applications, document attestations, a call to the teacher of a son at distant place, ringing up an official for an employment request and the list of tasks that do not even qualify as trivial in the life of a Pakistani sahib. He would drive the crazy miles and trek the contagious hillocks to reach out to his Balochi brethren, at times taking medicine for them, at times for their sick cattle that were lifeline to these nomads.

Kharan Model Public High School, an island of ideology, stands out as a symbol of human resolve and determination. It started off as a state school and had little to do with schooling, until 1994, when it was taken over by Meer Sahib. His tagline was that change is only possible through education and the future of Kharan and Balochistan lied in an educated youth. In the past few years, when we have conveniently opted for indifference towards the Baloch plight, they have picked other modes of conveying the message.

Barring the cantonments, there are fewer places where the national flag can be seen and Kharan Model Public High School is one of them. The hostility runs so deep that often the local administration advises people to take down the flag to avoid violence – that never occurred to Meer sahib. Kharan Model Public High School is the only school in this district of our largest province, where the national flag is respected and the national anthem played every morning, without fail.

Despite tough times, his talent hunts for promising yet poor students continued. Once selected, he encouraged the students, talked to the parents and attended their educational needs. These students ranged from slum dwellers to street vendors. Today there are more than 3000 doctors, engineers and military officers, inspired, motivated and facilitated by him. These students proudly claim that the only thing that stood between them and their fate was the resolve of Meer sahib.

The activities of Meer Muzaffar Hussain Jamali could not skip the attention of militant groups for too long. In an earlier attempt, militants mobbed the school and threatened him but failed in getting the Pakistani flag lowered. On May17, 2012, Meer sahib was ambushed on his way to school, his car sprayed with bullets. There was no doctor available in the vicinity so he was evacuated to Nokkundi and then to Quetta, where he passed away at the age of 38.

Now that he has gone, the Jamali family complains about the indifference of local administration. Unfortunately, Meer sahib’s entire struggle revolved around strengthening the country, so it is very natural for people like us to sit back and see it shatter. Two weeks into the incident, analysts opine that the case has lost its media mass, the NGOs think it's not worth it and the cosmetics do not qualify for social networking sites either. Abandoned and vulnerable, his five kids await all those who think that Meer did something for the federation.

Daniel Webster said "every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man's life", but the murder of Meer Muzaffar Hussain Jamali took something more than that. It took away the dream; and more importantly the right to dream from the children of Kharan.

Today, there is no household in Kharan oblivious to the sacrifices and steadfastness of this fine man. Had he lived, this small town would have been a different place. Beyond the loss of the family and the children of Kharan, is the fear that would inhibit anyone who would aspire to study or to facilitate those who want to study. Deep down, a lone Pakistani mourns the loss of a lone star.

The author is a federal government employee.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Comments (38) Closed

Nawaz Magsi Jun 12, 2012 06:33pm
Are you justifying his murder for WHATEVER reason ? If yes than Baluch Separatists are at least AS BAD as FC right ? Than stop your tirade against FC as both of you are playing the same game.
Indusonian Jun 12, 2012 06:45pm
Capt Mansur, Unfortunately, Pakistan has become a failed state already. A miracle can only save this beautiful nation and that miracle is Imran Khan. People need to realize that and need to avail this opportunity and should vote for him in the next elections if there is going to be any.
Zeeshan Ahmad Jun 12, 2012 07:39pm
What a shame that the writer has purposely chosen not to identify the real perpetrators behind the assassination. This was not done by 'militant groups' as the writer claims. The murderers are the feudal land owners and elitist tribal traditions who saw his teachings as a threat to their rule.
saeed siddiqui Jun 12, 2012 03:06pm
Yasir , Of course he is not the commome man. I think he deserve more than chopper. He deserve well respected life. Please read the article and rest of comments.
n.qureshi Jun 12, 2012 06:11pm
great article.atleast recognize his selfless courage.they should name the school after him and take care of his family.
Gurdeep Jun 12, 2012 05:54pm
I am pretty sure, like all my comments, Dawn will never publish this one either. But still... Of all the comments till now, I didn't see anybody pay attention to these lines " Abandoned and vulnerable, his five kids await all those who think that Meer did something for the federation."? Let's call a spade a spade, instead of paying lip service to Mr. Jamali, and as a token of respect to the visionary, take care of his family. Carry the torch forward people....
Imran A. Haider Jun 13, 2012 06:14am
@Yasir Baloch, you are absolutely right. Threatening and killing people who want to give education, healthcare and sanity to Balochistan is the right thing to do. We should justify his and all such ethnic murders of professors and doctors on the same argument over and over again. On a serious note, the media has been paying attention to the plight of extra-judicial killings for some time now, after which the issue has gained momentum and traction in almost all households. Here's the trouble with a free media: It WILL voice alarm over murders and victimization, no matter if it's the government or the rebels behind it.
Ali Jun 13, 2012 05:25am
Shame on you..... who ever or whatever Meer shaib was he worked for the benefit of the Baloch people. Which is more then I can say for BLA........
Lone Star Jun 13, 2012 11:28am
Adil Jadoon Jun 13, 2012 03:49am
So FC are bad for murdering people and you and your BLA are saints for doing the same. Shame on you.
Omar Jun 13, 2012 02:53am
As someone rightly mentioned, is there a forum to support his family? How can we help? Would be great if Dawn could help provide a solution.
Zeeshan Jun 13, 2012 01:05am
people like you are the sheep that let wolves rule.
fawad Jun 13, 2012 12:55am
Dear Yasir Bhai if a so called agent runs school for balochi kids and be there mentor so that they know that actual independence is having quality education then i guess all of us are agents of isi , govt what ever u call them. The real enemy to balochi people and sindhi to some extent are these nawabs and vadera's. i am from rural sindh and i know they will try to discourage every one getting education. As for the murder of Meer Sb i guess those who want publicity will always go after such souls. May meer sb rest in peace Ameen
yasir baloch Jun 12, 2012 01:51pm
And what about them,,who are missing from 3 or more years??and those who are abducted by agencies and and their drilled,decomposed and bullet riddled bodies are thrown in unknown there anyone to write for them???
yasir baloch Jun 12, 2012 12:47pm
Dear Ali Hassan you have no right to say anyone wrong......and he was killed on espionage case....and if he was not an agent why his body was shifted to Quetta by chopper...have you ever heard that a common man's body was shifted to hospital by dear only army men and agents...............
Ali Ahsan Jun 12, 2012 02:22pm
Yasir Baloch, unlike you probably, I personally knew Mir Muzaffar Hussain Jamali for the last many months. For you to say that I 'have no right to say anyone wrong' speaks of your own He was a prominent personality in Kharan, and was a renowned social worker and educator. Thousands of Balochs got education because of him, and many of his students are now studying across Pakistan in various good universities. Does that sounds like a typical spy? If that makes him a "ISI agent" and "riasati mukhbar" to you, then Baloch like you don't deserve any education or development or "azadi" for that matter. You fellows celebrate bandits like Hyrbyair, Brahamdagh, Khair Bakhsh etc who live in luxury and expect young confused Baloch to die for a bogus cause. Jamali sb taught his students how to live and progress! You yourselves have been and have become your worst enemies. Thanks to BLA, BRA, BLF etc the entire education system has been badly damaged with the killings and migrations of proper qualified teachers and professors.
Dixit Jun 12, 2012 11:56am
Education is a wealth which no one can take away from you and it is the best freind that would help us to survive in this world.
farhanshahidkhan Jun 12, 2012 11:40am
A wonderful article. I never knew about that courageous person but wish that we should honor him with the highest award of the country. We make sure that his kin always feel proud on his name and his name must not be any less sacred then the Nishan-e-Haider shuhadas
Naseema Perveen Jun 12, 2012 11:40am
very well written,... May his soul rest in peace...ameen
Agha Ata (USA) Jun 13, 2012 01:08pm
I don't understand why to compare Baluchistan with Texas. Texas is 268,820 sq mil. Baluchistan is 134,050 mil. (They are not equal in size) Texas is called Lone Star state because its flag had one star before it joined the USA. They kept the name as a reminder of being the only state that ever fought for its own independence.
Sufian Jun 12, 2012 03:38pm
Unfortunately the dissent caused by conspiracy theories and vested media interests is pushing the country towards unchartered waters. Salaam to people like Meer sahib who are trying to work towards a strengthened and educated Pakistan.
Sameer Awan Jun 12, 2012 09:14am
He was a real Patriotic guy. Shame on BLA for killing such a nice guy who rendered great services to Baloch people and he was of the view that without education Baloch and Pakistan cannot progress. In the end he was only killed because he talked about Pakistan and also about educating the Baloch and these rebel orgs know that Education is a threat to their cause as with education people lay down their weapons and then talk about peace and prosperity of their region.
mir rehan khan Jun 15, 2012 11:55am
thats a positive thought .....we will obviously try our best
Faisal Jul 07, 2012 08:12am
Very true
ejaz ali Jun 12, 2012 02:30pm
Its a very serious and sad concern. Nation who forgets her heros will itself be forgotten. we need to highlight his mission, the very purpose for which he dedicated and sacrificed his life, secondly unmask the mind set who are against his mission because those are the people who are responsible for his murder.
Khalid Jun 12, 2012 11:37pm
If educating Baloch youth and raising Pakistan flag is being an agent of ISI or Army then every Pakistani is an agent of ISI and ARMY....and that includes all Balochis as well...
khalid Jun 12, 2012 11:33pm
A solid suggestion. This recognition at the highest level will send the right signal to the Baloch people. Pakistan honors all who work for the integrity and well being of Pakistan.
imran Jun 13, 2012 07:06am
you reap what you sow.
salim kiani Jun 12, 2012 07:15pm
Truth and patriotism speaks itself........Who is Agent.......the so called militants .........or a patriotic pakistani............The agents of cia ,mosad ,and raw ....they r not militants....they r murderers.....these enemies of pakistan will utimately fail insha allah.Long live Pakistan ...Long live patriotic pakistanies
MBA Jun 12, 2012 09:16am
Thank you for reminding us the humanity. I had no information on Mir Saheb. Let me add just one sentance to your perfect article: Mir Saheb was a Baloch, a Pakistani, but more important than evrything else: he was simply a representative of humanity - a rarity in today´s Pakistan. I only hope that some of his 3000 and more students would follow his way: THE CHANGE CAN ONLY COME THROUGH EDUCATION. I hope, someone would also think about his family.
Capt Mansur Jun 12, 2012 09:22am
A doubt....the government has to take the fight upto these militants otherwise whole of Pakistan will become another Afghanistan/Somalia (Failed Estates).
Ali Ahsan Jun 12, 2012 09:24am
Mir Muzaffar Hussain Jamali was my close personal friend. His loss on 26 May broke the hearts of people like myself, as he had completely changed my own perspective of Balochistan barely 48 hours after meeting him 6 months back. BLA killed him and conveniently called him a "ISI agent" and "riasati mukhbar" in Daily Tawar's 27 May edition. It is tragic that the authorities would rather try to appease rogue exiled elites like Brahamdagh Bugti and Hyrbyair Marri than focus on the real Balochistan heroes like Jamali sahib. Tragic and outrageous. BLA, BRA, BLF, LeB, etc are criminals.
Ahmed Jun 12, 2012 09:45am
A hero to the core ! A martyr. We salute you !!! We hope that government catches and legally punishes the despicable murderers (so called separatists).
Fahad Jun 12, 2012 09:47am
Great article. Long live our Baluch brethrens. We need to highlight more people like Jamali Sb. I am not amazed to know that NGOs are not highlighting this case. Obvioulsy CIA/RAW/MOSSAD nexus does not want them to.
Hummad Jun 12, 2012 09:51am
So heartening to read about such a prolific man (may his soul rest in peace) and I am sure his sacrifices would not go in vain. I hope and pray that he becomes a catalyst for people whose lives Meer Sahib influenced. People like Meer Sahib are rays of hope in the current situation. It is a shame that he was allowed to be killed so brutally.
Zubair Jun 12, 2012 09:57am
Thank you Dawn so much for this article. I had a tear in my eyes after reading this, but I must say that Meer Muzaffar Jamali was indeed a very brave man, braver than most men I have seen. He believed in the power, prosperity, and empowerment that education can bestow, and he was not afraid to stand for what he believed in. Though he was brutally silenced, his legacy, I am sure, will endure. Let us not forget therefore our besieged Baloch sisters and brothers, who live under a perpetual state of fear and tyranny because of the so-called 'militants' who leave no stone unturned to brutally silence those they disagree with. The people of Kharan, and Baluchistan, have a right to live without fear. They have a right to get education, and to pursue their dreams just like everyone us. Let us try to help them in any way we can. And at the very least let us not forget them.
Adeel Jun 13, 2012 11:00am
Hi! does anyone have contact details of his family I am based here in dubai and would like to send some money to his kids . Can someone take this responsibility? I would also appreciate it if my other countrymen / women would be kind enough and extend some financial aid to his family, its the least we can do ! May Allah(swt) forgive his sins, grant him a pleasant afterlife and paradise (ameen) and May Allah, the All mighty protect Pakistan from evil (aameen)
Ahsan Ali Jun 13, 2012 09:34am
That's a good suggestion. He must be rewarded with the highest civil award (cause PA won't allow military ones). Most of all, his family should be taken care of.