Baloch Cultural Day: Setting politics aside, Lyari parties for peace

Published: March 3, 2012

Zulfiqar Mirza and Uzair Baloch were showered with rose petals upon their arrival as Lyari celebrated Baloch Cultural Day at the stadium on Friday. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Akhtar Channal sang ‘Dannay pe Danna’ much to the crowd’s delight as Lyari celebrated Baloch Cultural Day at the Lyari Football Stadium on Friday. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
Two small boys turned up fully dressed in Baloch attire for the event. Lyari celebrated Baloch Cultural Day at the stadium on Friday. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS Zulfiqar Mirza and Uzair Baloch were showered with rose petals upon their arrival as Lyari celebrated Baloch Cultural Day at the stadium on Friday. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

“I feel at home!” exclaimed former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza as he sat next to Uzair Jan Baloch, known as the head of the defunct Peoples Amn Committee at the Baloch Cultural Day celebrations on Friday night.

Lyari knows how to party, and on Friday, it sparkled with excitement.

Mirza was swept into the celebrations with people showering rose petals on him. When asked why he chose the event to make a public appearance after a considerable period, Mirza said, “I was abroad on a mission and then I had some private visits. I was in the field for my son’s by-election for a month and just got free two days ago.”

The relaxed Mirza soaked up the atmosphere and met people being introduced to him by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s long-time worker, Habib Jan Baloch.

He said he expected his son, the newly elected MPA Hasnain Mirza, would take a principled stand on issues. “He’s a bright, young, educated man,” he told The Express Tribune. “He’s seen the world and he’s more educated than I was… or am.” When asked if people expected Hasnain to be as vocal as his father on issues he felt strongly about, Zulfiqar Mirza said, “His way might be different than mine. Mai hathoray maarta tha, woh shayad hathorian maare.” (I would throw hammers, he might throw lighter punches.”

Uzair Jan said that the event showed that Lyari and the Baloch were peaceful. “All ethnic groups and communities should do these events. We are all united for peace.”

He smiled as he looked at Zulfiqar Mirza. “He’s our brother, the one who stands up for us.”

But while the former home minister was the star attraction for the cameras and the guests from other political parties, the crowds had their eyes set on others.

“This is Balochistan’s number one star,” a young volunteer offered, pointing to Shahjahan Dawoodi, before he took the stage.

When he began to sing “Nazenah Balochana”, the thousands gathered at Lyari Football Stadium erupted into spontaneous dancing and applause. “It’s a song calling out to the Baloch,” another man said. The stadium was full of men, women, children – with the men in turbans and the baggy shalwar kameez. No one could resist the call of the music – old bearded men broke out into dancing and the women clapped in beat with the music.

A rousing performance of “Dane pe Dana” by Akhtar Channal was part of the event – which began gathering steam around 7 pm. Bedecked camels with sword-wielding men strutted around the ground and dancers whirled in a circle.

Mahnoor, 10, wore a black dress with traditional embroidery. “It’s a really nice event, I like everything. I’m going to go sit on the camel too! All my friends are here.”

A beaming Zafar Baloch from the defunct Peoples Amn Committee, hobbling around on crutches, introduced the area police officer to their guest of honour, Zulfiqar Mirza. “People should come here and see how wrong they were about us,” Zafar said.

“Today is a historical day for the Baloch nation,” added Uzair Baloch. “We believe in peace. I appeal to the president, chief justice and Kayani to readdress the issue of Balochistan. Karachi’s Baloch population has been ignored for years.”

Among the attendees at the event were Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Malik Riaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Sindh General Secretary Dr Hasan Raza Memon, Sindh National Party’s Ameer Bhambro and Sindh United Party’s Sain Ghulam Shah as well as Sindh Human Rights Minister Nadia Gabol’s father Mama Latif.

There were fireworks for 15 minutes before Uzair Jan stepped up to the stage for his speech.

But even at 10 pm, the night was young for many, who expected the party would carry on till the early hours of the morning.

(with additional reporting by Sameer Mandhro)

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of the article stated that Ameer Bhambro was from Jeay Sindh Tehreek instead of Sindh National Party. The error has been rectified.

Reader Comments (16)

  • Ahmed
    Mar 3, 2012 - 6:42AM

    Good to see cultural vibrance in Karachi!

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  • abdul shakoor
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:39AM

    baloch cultural day 2 march 2012 in lyari

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  • usman786
    Mar 3, 2012 - 10:25AM

    United we stand

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  • DevilHunterX
    Mar 3, 2012 - 10:43AM

    So did they bury alive any innocent females at the end?

    After all its “centuries-old traditions” as quoted by Nawabzada Mir Israr Ullah Khan Zehri (Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Postal Services and is president of Balochistan National Party Awami)

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  • Zaman Aajnabi
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:30AM

    @DevilHunterX So did they handed over to dust their companionship with Punjabis – now go and look up the meaning of ‘biased’ in a dictionary.

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  • syed mahmood
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:03PM

    Love to see that ….. Looks amazing .. Love from pindi.

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  • salman arif
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:06PM

    its really good for baloch n evey tym we made baloch culture day on 2nd march

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  • sarim
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Amir Bhambro is not from Jeay Sindh

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  • sohails
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:55PM

    Nice to see our balochi brothers. But what about Mr. Mirza? He went to UK with lot of documents claiming to get rid of Mr. Altaf. So, anything happen or he came back empty hands? :)|hahahah

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  • Concerned
    Mar 3, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Good to see a cultural day but Why lyari and its leaders never condemn Baloch separatists and its leaders like Hirbeyar Marri, Barahamdagh, Akhter Mengal etc?
    These of people Lyari and Baloch specially who are quick to stage rallies against operation of Rangers and Police against terrorists to stop those operations have stage not a single rally in support of Pakistan and condemning US and Baloch Separatists after call for Independence from US Congress Why?
    Haabib Jan Baloch Zulfiqar Mirza went to UK against Altaf Hussain for his plans to break Pakistan but are quite on Anti Pakistan rhetoric by Baloch leaders in London?
    Lord Nazir is quite on Hirbyar Marri Why not launching a campaign against him to strip his asylum like he did against Altaf Hussain?
    Why people of Lyari and Amn Committee never condemn killings of Punjabies and Urdu Speaks in Balochistan including a female professor of Balochistan University from ancholi Karachi?
    Why people talk about Rana Sana ullah rendezvous with Banned SSP and ignore the same when it comes to PPP and Banned Amn Committee?

    ET please publish the comments so that I might get answers of these questions.

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  • ProudPakistani
    Mar 3, 2012 - 1:48PM

    Proud to be a Baloch…Proud being a Pakistani!!

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  • Hameed
    Mar 3, 2012 - 1:50PM

    What actually happened was that out of nowhere hordes of uncouth youths came of the roads on motorcycles and buses. Blocked main Shahrah-e-Faisal and proceeded to Lyari. They made a mess of the traffic in the name of a procession. I’d prefer if they had stayed in Lyari. Don’t know what the big deal is with celebrating Baloch cultural day. It wont make any difference in their lives. It ironic how the politicians and gangsters and joined forces in conning this nation.

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  • Adeel759
    Mar 3, 2012 - 3:25PM

    From NY with love. Good to seeMirza Sahib and Baloch brothers.Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala
    Mar 4, 2012 - 11:27AM

    So after eating his words out ,Mirza is going suave ? Uzair Bloch is known criminal and drug baron of Lyari.ET do some investigative journalism independently in Lyari instead of promoting the Thug turned Robinhood .

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  • DevilHunterX
    Mar 4, 2012 - 2:53PM

    @Zaman Aajnabi:
    You condone the barbaric and un-Islamic practice?

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  • Mar 5, 2012 - 7:40PM

    I like to Balochi Culture day I salute to all Baloch is very brave nation and every time ready for help other people the Islam is first came in Baluchistan all force of Muhammad Bin Qasim was Baloch we hope other time better program for Baloch Culture day will be held at Nishtar Park or Superhighway or Gadp Town

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