A faqeer who dedicated over 35 years of his life to reciting Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s poetry in front of his shrine, was murdered late Sunday night near his village.
Fifty-five-year-old Faqeer Khan Muhammad Lanjwani from Kehar Lanjwani village had been invited to the UK, France, Germany, Holland and Austria, to read out Shah Latif’s poetry for which he had earned much respect.
It appears that Lanjwani was murdered on the way to his village. “When he left for home he telephoned us at around 9pm but he never reached,” said his younger brother Bisharat Lanjwani while speaking to The Express Tribune on Tuesday. A villager found his body about half a kilometre from the village. “It seems like an attempted robbery but he was shot in the leg and nothing was missing, including his motorcycle and mobile phone.” A distraught Bisharat said he failed to understand why anyone would do such a thing as they didn’t have any enemies and were a ‘faqeer’ family.
Lanjwani’s grip on the poetry was recognised at home as well by well-known writers, poets and intellectuals who liked to listen to him whenever they visited the shrine. He performed on Radio Pakistan and PTV for 20 years and his forte was the ‘raag’. Indeed, he was considered one of the best faqeers to have memorised Shah jo Risalo with a grip on the meaning and pronunciation of the Sufi saint’s verse. Two years ago, for the August 14 celebrations, President Asif Ali Zardari had especially invited him to the presidency for a sitting with some special guests.
Also, it was on the directives of former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, that the Sindh government approved a monthly stipend for the faqeers who regularly play Shah’s music in front of the shrine.
The investigation officer, Khadim Hussain Solangi, was confident they would find the culprits. “The family has not indicated that anyone was involved in the killing but we are trying to investigate from all angles,” he said. “Though he was a respected person we can’t ignore anything suspicious.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2012.