— Usmann Rana (@usmannrana) January 10, 2013
There was devastating news today about the triple bomb blasts today in Quetta, one of them at a snooker club, all targeting Hazara Shia areas. Over 100 killed, including three media men who rushed to cover the blasts. It is hard for the human mind to taken in the mind-numbing numbers, but when someone you know is among the dead it really hits home. Our young friend and comrade Irfan Ali lost his life while helping others when the second blast took place.
Known as @khudiAli on twitter, Irfan was an activist for human rights, women’s rights, Hazara rights. His twitter bio reads: “I am born to fight for human rights and peace. My religion is respect and love all the religions”.
“Please trend #RIPKhudiAli to give salute to his courage” urges @qasirroonjha.
I met Irfan in July in Karachi for the first time at the Social Media Mela, but we had been in touch for some time via email. Such a bright, smiling, courageous, committed young man. Barely a couple of months ago, he had written asking if Aman ki Asha could take up the case of a three year old girl with a congenital heart defect; unfortunately she died before the process could be initiated to send her to India.
Ironically, just hours before the blast that took his life, he had tweeted:
His last tweet, an hour later:
His tweets indicate his clear-sightedness and courage:
Here are some of the many tributes to Irfan that poured in on twitter:
Here’s a tweet by Ali Abbas Zaidi of the Pakistan Youth Alliance, which organised the anti-sectarian demonstration in Islamabad in September, 2012, that Irfan traveled to participate in, despite threats. Rough translation of the banner they are holding: “You who are looting my city of my ethnicty, do you know how sons are raised?”
@khudiali with me. “Meray shehr may meri nasal lootnay waloon, pata hai beta kiss tarha jawaan huta hai?” facebook.com/photo.php?fbid… #RIPIrfan — Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi (@Ali_Abbas_Zaidi) January 10, 2013
Irfan was vocal and outspoken on many platforms. His presence will be sorely missed but his legacy of fearless activism remains. The best tribute we can pay him is to continue fighting the very forces that killed him.