Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obituary: Shaheed Bashir Khan Qureshi by Prof. M. Anwar Noorani

Bashir Khan Qureshi’s sudden and untimely tragic death is a major setback and a huge loss for the Sindhi nationalist movement, Sindhis and Sindh. He was a brave man, who throughout his political career fought for the fundamental rights of oppressed and downtrodden Sindhi people. He is perhaps the only Sindhi nationalist who did not play into the hands of the establishment. May God bless his soul. I met Bashir Khan Qureshi in the early 1980s during General Zia’s tyrannical rule when he was a prisoner in Hyderabad. During his imprisonment he was subjected to serious torture resulting in grave bodily injuries. He was brought to my unit in LMCH for examination, where I had recently joined as Professor of Surgery.  There, I was horrified to see Bashir Khan being brought up with handcuffs, his legs chained. He could hardly walk; his legs were full of wounds and his body bearing the marks of torture. Despite pain and humiliation Bashir’s morale was high. I asked him ‘Bashir kehra haal aahin?’ (How are you) to this he said with a pleasant smile ‘Saeen teyar laga pia aahyoon’. (Sir I am ready as always). I admitted him to our ward, had his chains removed and wrote a stern letter to the jail authorities that if he was kept in prison in this condition he would surely die. At that time I had a feeling that this young man has guts and one day he will be able to lead our people. The successful rally that he organized and the thundering speech he delivered on the 23rd of March is a proof to this. Alas death has taken yet one more leader from Sindh. The huge success of his rally was an eye opener for the establishment that for the first time in the history, Sindhi nationalists were making inroads into the political arena of Sindh.  He was potentially a threat and a strong contender in the future politics of Sindh. He was also an emerging force that threatened the balance of power in local and national politics. 
Bashir Khan Qureshi’s death has raised many questions and suspicions. Is his sudden death just 2 weeks after his powerful speech in the rally for independence of Sindh just a coincidence or preplanned action? The general impression is that the Late Bashir Khan was extremely fit as seen in his recent strenuous rallies and tours. His untimely death certainly adds to conspiracy theories that he could have been eliminated. Regardless, Bashir Khan Qureshi will be remembered for his bravery, dedication and commitment to the people of Sindh. He certainly has laid a cornerstone for a new beginning in the future politics of Sindh and Pakistan.

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