Dashtiari’s killing: Intellectual’s murder sparks strike across Balochistan

Published: June 3, 2011
A militant group calling itself Ansarul Islam claims responsibility for the murder. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

A militant group calling itself Ansarul Islam claims responsibility for the murder. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE


A complete shutter-down strike was observed in most parts of Balochistan on Thursday to protest against the killing of prominent Baloch intellectual Prof Ghulam Husain Saba Dashtiari.

The strike call was given by Baloch National Front and was observed in Khuzdar, Kech, Pasni, Gwadar, Nushki, Panjgur, Hoshab, Tump, Mand and adjoining areas, suspending all trade and business activities. All major markets, banks and even chemists in these areas remained closed for the day. The University of Balochistan was also shut to mourn the killing.

Prof Ghulam Hussain, commonly known as Saba Dashtiari, was gunned down in broad daylight near the Saryab police station in Quetta.

Dashtiari was known for his affinity with Baloch nationalist groups and his anti-establishment views.

The professor was stopped by an armed man on the Saryab Road, where he was shot in the head three times at point-blank range. His body was later sent to Lyari in Karachi for burial. The Ansarul Islam, a little-known militant organisation, claimed responsibility for the murder. Its spokesperson, who identified himself as Saifullah, said that the group would target anyone it deemed anti-jihad.

The man that was killed

Dashtiari became an active member of the Baloch nationalist movement in 2007 because of the dramatic increase in numbers of ‘missing’ persons and army operation. He attended gatherings of the Baloch Republican Party, the Baloch Students Organisation and Baloch National Front. He was often a keynote speaker at demonstrations and seminars arranged by these groups.

He blamed the military and the intelligence agencies for torturing and killing Baloch activists and even refused a presidential award from former president Pervez Musharraf in protest against the violation of human rights in Balochistan.

The professor’s commitment to the Baloch cause transcended politics. He was equally critical of the Iranian government for suppressing the Baloch community in that country.

Dashtiari is the author of more than 24 books on Baloch literature, history, poetry and translations. He also established the Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi Reference Library, Pakistan’s largest library on Baloch literature, in Malir, Karachi.

Prof Saba Dashtiari was born in Karachi in 1953 and moved to Balochistan in 1988. His area of focus as an academic was Baloch poetry and the Balochi language.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • CP
    Jun 3, 2011 - 4:55PM

    XYZ dominated Army at its worst denying the balochis of their legitimate “right to self determination”Recommend

  • Muhammad Asghar
    Jun 3, 2011 - 5:24PM

    This report is far better than the previous two reports, where your Quetta reporter , in the haste of movement,reduced the slain intellectual into merely a Urdu Proffesor of a University. Surely he was much more than that and we expect from your news paper to be more balanced than those which make lot of noises but are without mature contents.
    it is good to note that the mistake has been rectified.Recommend

  • Muhammad Asghar
    Jun 3, 2011 - 5:33PM

    sorry forgot to mentioned one factual mistake, regarding his to Balochistan. he was teaching there for 30 years. so 1988 is not correct.any way factual mistakes are not considered serious enough when campared to editorial baises.Recommend

  • Zain
    Jun 4, 2011 - 12:29AM

    I know the reporter and he used to sit with Saba Sahb at University.. Saba he was not teaching for 30 year. he moved to Balochistan in 1988 from Karachi. As far as the previous report concern so it was released by AFP, a foreign news agency…. This reporter5 i think compiled two stories which are balanced and accurate…. so kindly correct yourself Recommend

  • sohaib ahmed
    Jun 4, 2011 - 10:53AM

    why doesn’t our media raise this much hue & cry when punjabis are deliberately targetted & killed in balochistan? hundreds of punjabi civilians have been brutally murdered but our media doesn’t give it any coverage at all.Why this discrimination against punjabis?Recommend

  • Salah Baloch
    Jun 5, 2011 - 10:35PM

    discrimination against Panjabies ??? Now thats a first in PakistanRecommend

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