“I am not a terrorist. You never believed it when I said I was right,” Karima finished angrily as she stood up before we walked out of the office. The Canadian Borders Service Agency officer, a lady who at the beginning of the meeting had walked in with a straight face, had now humbled down in understanding. She wrapped the signed paperwork closing down an investigation against Karima for allegations of terrorism brought up against her by another country. After nearly two years of investigations, Canadians had found Karima was innocent of all the charges that Pakistan had accused her.
This was one of several appearances Karima had made in front of the Canadian authorities explaining why she spoke for her people. In her words, telling them why we are alive, or why we all haven’t died yet.
The accusations were ridiculous and made no sense. Some were based on screenshots of old Urdu newspaper cuttings blaming her of leading protests in Balochistan and inciting the people against the state. Others were poor copies of police complaints of sedition against her. One accused her of personally carrying out a bomb blast in Sui. Karima found it the funniest: “How could I carry a bomb and walk from Tump to Sui? I wouldn’t even know where to go!”
She would laugh.
It all began when Chris Alexander announced to run his bid to lead Canada’s Conservative Party. It was a crowd of hundreds in suits, gathered among part of Canada’s top political leadership. Generous as always, Chris took the stage and asked the crowd to join their hands and welcome Canada’s friends from Balochistan, waving to introduce us to the curious attendees.
As the event went on, Karima became the center of everybody’s attention. Diplomats, bureaucrats, their wives and supporters, all were curious to hear Karima’s story. They would come and introduce themselves before leaving in awe of her appearance and bravery. Others would just come to ask about her Balochi dress.
“I have seen people disappear. I have witnessed the pain and suffering of my people. I want you to ask your leaders to act to stop what is happening in Balochistan today,” she told an old woman.
There then came a Pakistani woman dressed in the country’s national green, who was introduced to us by an ex-diplomat’s wife. She jealously scanned Karima from head to toe, as if she was looking for something to pick on her. “Why do you want to break up Pakistan?” she fired.
Her heckling caught the attention of nearby people and before Karima could respond, the woman quickly rephrased her question. “I mean, why don’t you try to work within the federation of Pakistan? We can sort out our problems. There is no need for this,” she said, faking a smile.
The events that followed that day made it clearer Pakistan was now using all diplomatic power to make Karima’s life miserable in Canada
But that was not the illegal part yet. An anonymous reporter had tipped off the Canadian intelligence about two sitting members of parliament in Ottawa using their leverage and position as MPs to secretly push Karima into legal troubles, on behalf of a foreign government.
This was troublesome news. It meant Canada’s democratic system, hailed among the best in the world, was being used by a foreign government to settle scores on Canadian soil. In simpler words, Pakistan had asked two Canadian MPs to use their power and office to create enough trouble for Karima so that she’s trapped and defending herself rather than speaking for her people.
But Canada sat on the news. Despite a high level of confidence in the claims, both the MPs remain sitting members of Canadian parliament to date. One of them even bagged a Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian medal in Pakistan, for her services to the country.
“We are victims of Pakistan’s crimes,” Karima once told an official, “Pakistani generals, war criminals in Bangladesh and murderers in today’s Balochistan. They are living in your cities with millions in looted money. They have blood on their hands. You believe them more than you believe us.”
After her death, it felt like Karima reappeared to look after the funeral procedures and witness herself going back home. Until she was buried beneath her own soil, she knew it wasn’t over yet.
Almost a month since she had died, the receptionist at the funeral house said since the body was going back to Pakistan, it would be going on the country’s national airline. But there was no way Karima’s body was going to go home on Pakistan’s international airline. She would never have agreed to it.
The flight was changed but there was still one problem.
The funeral house would need to send documents to Pakistan’s High Commission prior to the departure of the flight. Knowing that Karima would never trust Pakistan’s embassy, the documents were reluctantly sent hoping she would understand it was done out of official necessity. But it turned out Karima would’ve been right. The next day, Pakistan’s embassy in Ottawa leaked all the documents online pointing out sensitive information and addresses to potential threats.
It felt like Karima kind of knew it was going to happen. She was dead but her body remained a threat.
The breach was immediately reported to the police and the lady on the phone was shocked how a foreign embassy could leak such sensitive information online. She assured she was going to send a team to investigate.
When the police showed up, the officer waited inside the car for a good fifteen minutes. He rolled down the window to test the cold breeze and see if we were wearing masks before he stepped out of the vehicle.
“So, what happened today?” he asked.
It was the same officer who had shown up during the first week of Karima’s death. This time he was furious why the people and media were so angry and questioning Toronto police about her death. The public and international outrage had shocked and angered the police.
“So you think Pakistan sent commandos to kill Karima?” he smirked.
From that point, every word that came out of his mouth was pointed directly to hurt us. As if he was already briefed and had no interest to hear why the police were called in the first place. So absurd, he argued we might be just making things up to defame Pakistan for no reason.
“Call us when anything happens. Not if, but when.” The officer left.
At that moment, it felt like Karima reappeared and stood beside us in the cold. It was her natural spot. To stand by the helpless at a time when their plea was rather met with cold rejections. It smelt like the death of modern day democracy and justice. The war at home had finally caught up with us. The queen had died.