Pakistan suicide-attack hero had family links to Thailand
Siraj Raisani, a candidate for party opposing ethno-nationalism who died on July 13, leaves son and daughter in Southeast Asian country he came to call home
Newspapers and websites in Pakistan had quite naturally wide coverage of a suicide attack on July 13 in which at least 128 people were killed. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and among the victims was Siraj Raisani, a candidate for the Balochistan Awami Party, which stands for a united Pakistan and opposes local ethno-nationalists.
In July 2011, Raisani lost his 14-year old son in a bomb blast in Balochistan that was carried out by militants from the Balochistan Liberation Army, an insurgent group fighting against the Pakistan state. However, what has not been reported in the Pakistani media is that Raisani was a resident of northern Thailand. He traveled there as a tourist three decades ago, had an accident and was taken care of by a local farmer who lent him money so he could contact his embassy in Bangkok and travel home to Pakistan.
Raisani later returned to Thailand, paid the debt to the farmer, married his daughter and acquired a substantial plot of land in Chiang Mai province. They had two sons and a daughter. The surviving boy now plays for the Thai national football team while the daughter is studying for a master’s degree in international relations and reportedly intends to join the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Raisani had been advised by friends to become active in Thai politics and forget about Pakistan because of the volatile situation there. Raisani has been hailed as a hero in Pakistan and the attack has been condemned by President Mamnoon Hussain as well as the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.