Awami Tehreek rally attack victim died with finger on the trigger of a snatched police pistol to defend herself

Published: May 28, 2012

Ghazala Siddiqui was shot dead near Denso Hall during the May 22 rally.

KARACHI: Ghazala Siddiqui had just snatched a pistol from a policeman and was about to fire when the men who attacked the Awami Tehreek rally at Napier road got to her first.

“When the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally came under attack near Denso Hall, seven people were killed,” recounted her husband, Mazhar Zardari. “Ghazala was crying for help and asked a policeman to shoot the suspects.” When he didn’t, she snatched his pistol to try and defend them.

This information came to the family from women who were with Ghazala at the rally on Tuesday, May 22. “My younger brother had fever. Mom dropped him at her friend’s house, asked us to complete our homework and then left for the rally,” said Abu Zar, Ghazala’s elder son.

Her husband, Mazhar Zardari, who works abroad, said that he used to keep in touch with her every day through Skype. “I called on the morning of May 22 and found out that she had left for the rally. I became nervous because she very emotional about the Mohajir province issue,” he said. Zardari added that he dialled her mobile number, but got no response at first. “Then suddenly a nurse picked up and said that Ghazala had succumbed to her injuries,” he said.

The 43-year-old was working as an assistant manager for the marketing department of Pakistan International Airlines. Her husband currently works for the same organisation as a country manager in Italy. “She was a nationalist by nature and a true lover of Sindh. Her affection was exemplified after the flood in 2010-11,” he said. “Not only did she spend most of her time in relief camps in Karachi, but she sold all her jewelry for the cause as well.” She was trying to open a vocational training centre for flood survivors living in the Gulshan-e-Maymar camp.

“Whenever someone tries to harm the integrity of Sindh, its daughters of will be at the forefront of the battle,” Siddiqui had told a TV channel just minutes before the rally was attacked.

Early years

Ghazala Siddiqui was born in Paat Sharif, a village of Dadu which is known for its high literacy rate. Late Alama II Kazi, a scholar and former vice chancellor of Sindh University, also belonged to the same village. Her father Qazi Qutubuddin was a public relations officer for former chief minister Sindh, Ayub Khuhro. Her mother is a Rind Baloch from Lyari. Usman Baloch, a prominent social worker and trade union leader, is her maternal uncle.

Siddiqui went to primary school in Paat Sharif, but her family moved to Kalakot of Lyari during ‘Dacoit Raaj’ in Sindh during General Zia ul Haq’s reign. She continued her education at the NJV School on MA Jinnah Road. Her family lived in Lyari till her matriculation and then moved to Hyderabad. Siddiqui got her higher secondary education certificate at Zubaida Girls College. She did a diploma in Homeopathy and Medical Science and became a homeopathic physician. She simultaneously continued her education and did her Master’s in mass communication from Karachi University.

She was the only sister of five brothers and was politically inclined given the political environment at her home in Lyari where her maternal uncle, Usman Baloch, used to have meetings with trade union leaders and leftists.

Though the family lives in Gulstan-e-Jauhar, Siddiqui was laid to rest in the Steel Town graveyard. A large number of people, including political and social activists, have offered their condolences to her family. She is survived by her husband and three sons, who are pursuing their education at BVS High School in Saddar.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.

Reader Comments (52)

  • Sindhvoice
    May 28, 2012 - 4:26AM

    Thank you ET. Finally some mainstream paper dared to discuss this issue. You are first main stream media to highlight the role of great princess of Sindh, Shaheed Ghazala Siddiqui. Terrorists attacked innocent people of rally and she bravely resisted those terrorists and She laid down her life for Sindh’s integrity and unity. She will always be remembered as a symbol of sacrifice and resistance in the history of Sindh. She is inspirational role model. May she rests in peace. We are proud of you Adi (sister).

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  • Mehran
    May 28, 2012 - 4:37AM

    She is icon of new Sindh. She is brave daughter of Sindh and Pakistan. If a woman can dare to challenge fascists and terrorist groups, why not we all Pakistanis unite to challenge terrorist group. In this way, we can make a new Pakistan free from fascists, terrorists and mafia gangs. Every now and then Urban terrorist party of Karachi unleash terrorism and violence for their vested interests and they get scot free. Check the history, 12 May, 7 April, Nishtar Park bomb blast, Wali babar Shaheed, ban on IK, Killing of innocent people of different ethnic groups and parties, etc.

    Every party complete democratic right to take out rallies, but shameless terrorists attacked people in rally and they thought through terror and violence, they can intimidate people of Sindh and Pakistan but they should know that people of Sindh has become more united post rally attack. Whole Pakistan MUST unite against politics of violence and terrorism.

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  • Mehran
    May 28, 2012 - 4:58AM

    A biased circle of Urdu media didnt give due coverage to AT rally and massacre of innocent people on 22nd May. Some anchors even said, Ghazala was just some one who came in cross firing on her return from work. Is it called National Media which manufactures “False” news? National Media works on uniting nation and giving due importance to every one but unfortunately our national media seems haunted by particular interest groups and powerful militant groups. This is unfortunate and shameful act. Thanks ET and earlier, it was Talat Hussain and BBC who reported Shaheed e Sindh Ghazala Sindhi’s case. Her sacrifice wont go in vain. She will always be remembered with Golden words in the history of Sindh and Pakistan. She is symbol of resistance and courage against terrorists and violent groups.

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  • Khan a
    May 28, 2012 - 6:12AM

    God Bless you Ghazala. You were a brave lady.

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  • Naila Ameen
    May 28, 2012 - 8:13AM

    This is “SLAP” in the face of those who said “She was passerby” and sustained a bullet on her way. The truth can not be hidden. Good Work by Express Tribune.

    Naila Ameen

    PIA, New York

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  • Rizwan
    May 28, 2012 - 8:23AM

    I fail to understand why other national media has not followed this incident. I have never seen follow up stories. It seems to be bias approach by our national media.

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  • Rarveen Bhatti
    May 28, 2012 - 8:24AM

    Really brave woman, good mother and best friend we have lost.

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  • Syed Faisal
    May 28, 2012 - 8:36AM

    Because of Ghazala siddiqi and all others who killed on 22nd may , their sacrifies will not go wain , sindh will not be divided .
    May Allah bless the souls of all shaheeds.

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  • RizwanTKhan
    May 28, 2012 - 10:15AM

    May Allah bless her soul.

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  • Abdullah
    May 28, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Now, is the media brave enough to nominate MQM even as a suspect ?

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  • Lazarus
    May 28, 2012 - 10:31AM

    She is a real hero and she didn’t stopped till her last breath, May her soul RIP!

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  • Zeeshan Ahmad
    May 28, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Why don’t the people of punjab feel this strongly about punjab as this lady did for sindh? It’s a tragedy she got killed when exercising her democratic right to protest.

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  • shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan
    May 28, 2012 - 10:58AM

    My question is what was she doing at the rally if she was working for the PIA? Can anyone answer that – please don’t tell me it was a holiday. The other question is where do these people get the money from given they are at these huge rallies?

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  • Reasoner
    May 28, 2012 - 10:59AM

    Though I condemn her untimely & tragic death, I’m wondering why did she snatch official gun of a police-man ?
    Wasn’t her act illegal ?
    I’ve heard from an eye-witness that it was participants of rally who first started looting shops in busy commercial area which started scuffle between area people and rally participants which culminate in gun-fight between two groups in which more than two people lost their lives including some shop-keepers and area people.

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  • AV Bhagowal
    May 28, 2012 - 11:24AM

    How incongruous it is that on the same face of ET where late Gazala is shown
    laying her life as a true daughter of the soil,irrespective of the legitimacy or otherwise of the trigger manipulated for the issue, slide shows of a glamorous lot are also framed.Who is right and who is having the best of the world without any remorse on what is happening to this nation.Issues of new provinces and national self-respect are being manufactured to obtain maximum political mileage and ,in the process, innocent lives are being sacrificed.When would we as a nation understand the games the so called leaders play and have some new leadership to take us out of the morass we find ourselves in now.For many families, it is a curtain call
    with prospects of a hollow and destitute future staring into their teary eyes.

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  • Saleem Ahmed
    May 28, 2012 - 11:46AM

    May Allah bless the soul of brave lady. But please avoid criticizing national media, which plays important rule in highlighting the issues.

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  • PunjabVoice
    May 28, 2012 - 11:47AM

    @Zeeshan Ahmad,

    Punjabis do feel about Punjab but carving out two new sobas for Seraikis and Bahawalpur is not creating a mohajir soba.

    Both Seraikis and Bahalwapuris are sons of soil and they have every right on their land. This is not the case for Urdu Speaking demanding mohajir soba. They are migrants and they should never get piece of Sindh.

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  • Sana
    May 28, 2012 - 11:54AM

    we should come out of this debate if she was part of the rally or not. It is matter of great concern that a good lady is no more with us.

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  • Ajamal
    May 28, 2012 - 12:18PM

    May Allah bless her soul.

    When will we have justice in the country ?????????

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  • Haris Khan
    May 28, 2012 - 12:45PM

    Why didn’t the policeman shoot at the militants attacking the rally? isn’t that what the police is supposed to do? Who stopped the police from shooting at the attackers?

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  • Momin
    May 28, 2012 - 12:47PM

    a very sad day. we in pakistan need more brave and committed people like her. May Allah bless her soul!!

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  • Zeeshan Sheikh
    May 28, 2012 - 12:50PM

    She is a truly brave women and a real martyr.

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  • Junaid
    May 28, 2012 - 1:07PM

    @reasoner: if i were at place i would have done same, whole story is she asked policeman to return fire he refused saying we dont have orders, she took his pistol and said you need orders but i dont.
    but i do think conducting that rally didnt help anyone.

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  • Salman
    May 28, 2012 - 1:48PM

    @PunjabVoice:
    The migrants died a long time ago. We are now the sons of the soil too. I’m not in favor of any ‘Mohajir’ province, but it is time that the so called ‘sons of the soil’ start treating us as equals.

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  • Imran Con
    May 28, 2012 - 2:12PM

    @Reasoner:
    Technically police offers are usually told to react as though the person taking it is going to shoot one of them. I can’t think of any law specific to it, though. Only permitted physical reactions to it. It would probably be brought up in court and have it assigned to a more common term of offense such murder, attempted murder, assault and so on. It would take motive into consideration. In her case, if it was looked at in a truly impartial manner it’d likely be written off as self defense. She was attacked, she tried to get help by police but was ignored. It probably wouldn’t even get analyzed too harshly in court due to the obviousness of it as well.
    But, laws vary. I can’t say for certain that it would play out in such a way in Pakistan. Though they’re pretty common laws most places have in common.

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  • WB
    May 28, 2012 - 2:37PM

    Before taking out these meaningless rallies these people should have helped the flood victims of interior Sindh

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  • The Pointer
    May 28, 2012 - 2:46PM

    She went to the rally because her death was waiting there. Anyway, may Allah forgive her and rest her in peace

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  • Mohajir
    May 28, 2012 - 3:05PM

    @PunjabVoice

    We are not migrants, we are the creator of this country. And we are real son of this land named Pakistan, if u proud to be son of Punjab, Saraki or bhawalpur so why don’t you make distance from pakistan and demand you own country .. POOR Thinking .. Same which divide pakistan in 1971 … now again game start by same pplz …

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  • Realistic
    May 28, 2012 - 3:11PM

    Sindhi nation salute your courage and sacrifice. Karachi is Sindh and shall remain forever, please stop killing peoples on the name of Muhajir Soba, which is totally non sense slogan.

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  • Pashtun voice
    May 28, 2012 - 3:12PM

    We are with you Ghazala Shaheed. You will always be remembered as a true martyr.

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  • Pagall
    May 28, 2012 - 4:14PM

    Salute to the BRAVE LADY

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  • Rational
    May 28, 2012 - 4:59PM

    If some one dies for yyy party he/she is Shaheed and if some one dies for xxx party he is also shaheed………..the truth is that only truth is shaheed in both cases…..let’s not misuse this word
    strong textRecommend

  • Amir Nasiruddin
    May 28, 2012 - 5:54PM

    She is Proud of Sindh.

    Ghazala Siddiqui Tuje Salam.

    These Women Keeps Country Alive….

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  • Asif Iqbal
    May 28, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Sindhvoice:
    Pakistani journalists lack ethics. The Fourth Estate function of the media becomes a joke when it comes to journalism in Pakistan. It is easier to criticize outsiders — aka USA, India, Israel and, generally, the West — and blow with the wind in deference to the diktat from the military and mullahs. I hope Pakistan’s media can someday become fiercely independent and dedicate itself to its watchdog role, as they do in neighbouring India where the media scoops out all the dirt that goes on behind closed doors. I am glad that ET has successfully ferretted out the facts of Ghazalla Sidique’s death. Keep up the good work.

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  • Rahimtullah
    May 28, 2012 - 7:21PM

    @Asif Iqbal:

    I agree with your comment about Pakistani journalists who, as one German media expert put it, are “presstitutes” working for those in power. Pakistani journalists lack the basic intellectual honesty and write, generally, to please their readers and not to discriminate between fact and fiction, between right and wrong. We need a strong and free press. ET has done a good job.

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  • R3VLEFT
    May 28, 2012 - 9:45PM

    We are proud of you Ghazala Shaheed… You will always be remembered as a true martyr…

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  • Ayaz Bukhari ( Voice of Sindh)
    May 28, 2012 - 10:08PM

    Martyrs never die. they always remain alive in our hearts,………..
    STANDING SALUTE TO SHAHEED GHAZALA
    MAY ALLAH REST HER SOUL IN JANNAT UL FIRDOUS.

    JEAY SINDH JI NIYANI.Recommend

  • usmang
    May 28, 2012 - 10:43PM

    I am an “urdu-speaking” pakistani. I opposed any sort of “muhajir” province. My salute to this lady. we all need to respect each other. Regards

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  • Shazad
    May 28, 2012 - 11:36PM

    Any kind go violence is not acceptable ,may ALLAH keep her soul in his blessing, we all love u and u will be remembered for ever, I wish we can change name of cheel cheowk to ghazal cheowk with her statue there.

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  • Raees
    May 29, 2012 - 12:09AM

    I am a Mohajir Sindhi, a proud son of the soil whose parents migrated to Pakistan and settled in Sindh. I’m not in favor of any ‘Mohajir’ province, and believe that our issues are all common. We are destined to live and die together and the sooner we realise this the better we can work to improve the lives of all in this province and this country. Both the so called Mohajirs and the so called ‘Sons of the soil’ who again are mostly earlier migrants themselves should realise that this is all nonsense encouraged by political parties on both sides to create a base for themselves.

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  • Kumar
    May 29, 2012 - 12:53AM

    We are going to tell the cruel people who killed her that fear the day when we the public will rise and wake up.
    Stop the cruelty. Stop this violence to Sindh and Sindhis.

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  • Juman Darbadar
    May 29, 2012 - 1:20AM

    As per UN charter, the Mohajir is a person who has come to live permanently in a country that is not their own. They should ideally live in the camps. I wondered that even after passage 60 years these people call themselves Mohajirs. Please be Sindhis and think better for the province and its people.

    Jeay Sindh

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  • Ali Brohi
    May 29, 2012 - 1:32AM

    A haunting character of a daughter of this land, who has rendered unprecedented scarify.

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  • Hassan
    May 29, 2012 - 10:13AM

    @ Ali Brohi: You have correctly pinpointed. Agreed

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  • Jugno
    May 29, 2012 - 10:31AM

    there is need to probe, why police was silent spectator. Was it following the ruling parties reconciliation policy ?

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  • Faheem
    May 29, 2012 - 11:18AM

    First of all we all are in very deep sorrow and grief due to this incident in heart of Sindh Karachi, Sindh pays salute to her braveness and courage and sacrifice for Sindh. She will remain alive forever in history ….
    We are in deep grief …..really….

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  • May 29, 2012 - 2:53PM

    It’s a Great loss, our nation knows worth of any inlectual only after it is taken away

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  • ashar
    May 29, 2012 - 5:33PM

    Well, reading the article and reading the above comments, I am sad too. Sad, for her sad demise but also for our national attitude which is refecting in the above comments.

    Dear All, who have written this touchy story and contributed towards it through comments, do you know that PIA is a government body and someone employeed in it cannot take part in active politics, especially at the officer’s level.

    This is our attitude that we are immediately moved with the breaking news

    Actually the above news, no matter how painful it is, also tells us the reasons behind the present status of our national airline.

    May Allah bless her soul and give patience to her loved ones left behind.Recommend

  • May 29, 2012 - 8:16PM

    I am proud of her, although I don’t know her. She stood against the terrorists and was able to snatch gun from a lame policeman standing like a dumb there. What good is our police and rangers when it cannot protect our citizens against foreign-trained terrorists. Anyone who wishes to break Sindh or Pakistan for that matter will have to shoot every true Pakistani first.

    It is a major shame that no mainstream paper has been able to discuss this issue. One needs to ask MQM, what were they planning to do by blocking all the roads of the rally route? Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 30, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Itz the matter of great sorrow. We proud of the brave daughter of soil. May Allah bless her soul in heaven.Recommend

  • Zaki
    May 30, 2012 - 1:06AM

    she had contacts with gangsters of Lyari who have made the citizens lives miserable.

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  • Hassan
    May 30, 2012 - 12:05PM

    Great lossRecommend

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