June 03, 2011

BALOCHISTAN: Prof. Saba Dashtiyari: Voice of Freedom from the Slums of Lyari

By Imtiaz Baloch

From a poor family of Lyari, Karachi to a jostling crowd around his bullet-riddled body, Prof. Saba Dashtyari has established his place in the emotions of Baloch people. My hands are shaking and eyes full of tears when I heard the news of Prof Saba Dashtayri’s assassination. I cannot claim to have known Prof. Saba Dashtayari well, but I am touched so as thousands of other Baloch political workers in some way or other by this legendary Baloch scholar, teacher, linguist, poet and writer. I recall my first meeting with Prof. Saba Dashtayari in the early 1980s. I missed my university bus so as Prof. Saba , we both hop on the same bus to University of Karachi. The meeting with Prof. on the bus to Karachi University stirred my interest in Balochi poetry and literature and opened my mind on Baloch history and language. This great man changed my complete political outlook. One can always find him in his typical shalwar- kameez, and glasses and sharing emotional hugs to the Baloch political workers in the procession against the slow motion genocide of Baloch masses.

According to the eyewitnesses, masked persons gunned down Professor Dashtiyari on Wednesday night allegedly by the goons of Pakistan Army in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The professor instantly succumbed to the injuries after receiving bullets in his head and neck. This assassination further substantiates the state policy of eliminating the Baloch scholars, intellectuals, poets, and teachers by the death squads of Pakistani Army.

Prof. Saba Dashtyari was born in a poor family belonging to the slums of Lyari, Karachi in 1953. Along with being fluent in Balochi and Urdu, he knew English, Persian, and Arabic with an in-depth understanding of history and philosophy. He authored several books on Balochi language and literature. Prof. Dashtyari also is the pioneer of Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi Reference Library in Malir area of suburban Karachi, with more than 150 thousands titles and research documents in various languages particularly on Balochi literature, culture and civilization. It also is the Balochistan’s largest library on Balochi literature.

Cowardice seems to be the destiny of this God forsaken country where the Pakistan Army and its network of agencies have failed to stop the volcanoes of militancy by the Taliban. A nuclear-armed state is showing their brutal force against the poor Baloch masses and its intellectual elite. Balochistan is under colonial occupation by the Pakistani military for the last 62 years.

Today the Baloch motherland will embrace the first martyred Baloch linguist, poet, writer who did not only donated his monthly earning to the Zahoor Shah Library but also sacrificed his professional teaching career to join the movement of armed resistance for the national liberation of the Balochistan. After the martyrdom of Baloch National Movement chief Ghulam Mohammed, Professor Dashtyari took the responsibility of organizing and educating the Baloch youth. He was an active participant in protest rallies and an outspoken advocate of independent Balochistan. He sacrificed his life for the rights and freedoms of Baloch people. Prof. Dashtyari felt and expressed the pulse of common Baloch in his beautiful poetry. In his death, he has become the mirror of the Baloch national struggle, shining the path to freedom.
By Imtiaz Baloch
Information Secretary

The writer can be reached at imtiaz2000@hotmail.com

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