Prominent Baloch intellectual and assistant professor at the University of Balochistan Saba Dashtiari was gunned down by unidentified assailants on Wednesday.
According to eyewitness accounts, Dashtiari, 58, was on his routine evening walk when an armed man opened fire at him from close range, resulting in instant death. “He received four bullets in his head and chest,” a hospital official said.
“After he killed Dashtiari, the man escaped with another man who was waiting for him on a motorbike,” another witness told The Express Tribune.
The incident took place in close proximity of Saryab Police Station but the assailants seemed very calm and confident and managed to escape within no time. “The assassin fired more bullets to scare away people after killing the professor,” an eyewitness said.
As many as four teachers of the University of Balochistan have been killed in the recent past. The University of Balochistan has announced three days of mourning to condemn the professor’s killing.
In recent years, Saba Dashtiari, whose real name was Ghulam Hussain, usually took part in protest rallies and demonstrations held by Baloch Students Organisation Azad, Balochistan National Front and Baloch Republican Party against disappearances and target killing of Balochs nationals.
Dashtiari taught Islamic Studies at the university and frequently travelled between Karachi and Quetta. His literary contributions include more than 24 books on Balochi literature, history, poetry and translations. He also established the Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi reference library, Pakistan’s largest library on Balochi literature, in Malir, Karachi.
The Baloch National Front, Baloch Republican Party, Baloch Students Organisation -Azad, Baloch Unity Conference and other nationalist parties have condemned his killing, saying state functionaries were behind the murder. The parties have also announced a three-day shutter-down strike across the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.
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