Who Was Shari Baloch, the Baluchistan Suicide Bomber?
KARACHI (IANS) – The suicide bombing at the University of Karachi which claimed four lives on April 26 — three Chinese nationals and one Pakistani citizen — has been gaining attention, not just because it targeted foreigners, but for the fact that the bomber was a woman.
What is even more surprising is the accomplished academic and strong family background of the attacker.
When Shari Baloch aka Baramsh posted a good-bye message on her Twitter handle some 10 hours ago before the attack, no one was really aware of what she was going to do next.
It was on April 26, when Pakistan found out that another three Chinese nationals had been targeted for their presence in Pakistan.
Those fueling the insurgency in the restive Baluchistan province are not unknown to anyone, but the background of the bomber in question merits some questioning.
Shari was a primary school teacher in her native Kech district in Baluchistan. She completed her B.Ed in 2014 and M.Ed in 2018. She did her Master’s in zoology from the University of Baluchistan and MPhil from the Allama Iqbal Open University.
She left behind a daughter, Mahrosh, and a son, Meer Hassan, both five years old. Her husband is a dentist while her father served as a director in a government agency. Later, her father also served as a member of the district council for three years. Her brother-in-law is a lecturer.
The family is well-established, highly educated and known to be peaceful. One of her uncles is an author, a former professor and human rights campaigner.
It may be difficult to know what exactly provoked her to join the Baloch armed struggle, but she remained a member of the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO-Azad) in her student life.
Importantly, none of her family members is missing or subjected to enforced disappearance except a fifth cousin who got killed during a military operation in 2018 in Kech.
The tactics to employ a woman in suicide bombings have raised some questions: Is the Baloch insurgency redefining itself? Why use females in such attacks now and not before?