KARACHI: Veteran politician and chief of the Awami Tehreek Rasool Bux Palijo passed away early Thursday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 88 years old.
The Sindhi nationalist leader was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Karachi. The deceased’s body will be taken back to his hometown and his funeral prayers will be offered tomorrow in Jungshahi, district Thatta.
Sindh’s Caretaker Chief Minister Fazlur Rahman, Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah and PPP’s Sindh President Nisar Khuhro expressed grief and sorrow at Palijo’s demise.
In a condolence message, Bilawal said that several decades long struggle and sacrifices of Palijo for democracy and his contribution in Sindhi literature will always be remembered.
Palijo was born near Jungshahi on February 21, 1930. He received his early education at his village and the secondary education at Sindh Madressatul Islam Karachi. Palijo did his law graduation from Sindh Law College Karachi.
He was a prolific writer, scholar and served as an advocate of the Supreme Court. The polyglot was fluent in Sindhi, Urdu, and English languages, and later became conversant in Hindi, Arabic, Balochi, Bengali, Siraiki, Punjabi and Persian.
He remained a political prisoner, and was jailed under political charges for more than 11 years during his life including incarceration during the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against dictatorial rule in 80s.
He formed the Awaami Tahreek party in 1970 and is also considered to be a founding member of the Sindh Qaumi Ittehad, Sindhiani Tehreek, Sindhi Adabi Sangat, and various movements for youth, women, peasants and other marginalised communities.
He also worked towards the abolition of one-unit and was a vocal critic of the Kalabagh Dam. He was also very active in bringing women into politics in Sindh.
The leftist Marxist leader struggled against feudalism, martial laws, colonialism and imperialism, and was as an outspoken critic of the feudal system and bureaucracy.
He introduced a non-violent trend in Sindh through long marches. He was the author of more than forty books on numerous subjects, ranging from literature to politics, prison dairies, culture and poetry.
He was married to Sindhi folk singer Zarina Baloch until her death on 25 October 2006. Their son Ayaz Latif Palijo is the current chairman of the Quami Awami Tehreek.