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Gomal University 2

Fayyaz Baqir

February 28th, 2017

 

 

Political leaders and intellectuals who visited DIK during my 5-year stay included Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Raja Anwar, C.R. Aslam, Ishaq Mohammad, Bacha Khan, Afrasiab Khattak, Pervaiz Saleem, Inayat Baloch , Tahir Yasub and Akmal Hussain. Bhutto Sahib made the first visit soon after the establishment of the university. He was accompanied by Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Federal Minister of Education and Raja Anwar, his advisor on student affairs. In the evening Umar Khan Miankhel drove to my house and said that Raja Anwar had asked him to take me to his guest house for a meeting. I refused to accompany him on the ground that I do not support PPP politics and I don’t want to be seen as an associate of PPP; had Raja come here in a personal capacity I would have loved to meet him. Umar was shocked and surprised but he became a close friend after this event. After Raja’s departure, one of our students told us that he was part of a delegation sent by the VC to meet the Minister of Education. The Minister sent them to Raja Anwar. During the meeting, one or two planted students complained against the subversive activities of Professor Baqir and Professor Barkat. Raja snubbed them and told them “you are lucky that you have got such learned professors. You should learn from them instead of complaining about them”. I was touched by this gesture. Perhaps Raja wanted to alert me about the intrigues against us. In his visit to DIK a few years later did not even mention it.        

 

In the meanwhile, we started study circles for socialist education. A couple of years later when Tahir Yasoob arrived we started a full blown counter culture movement inspired by him. We were seen singing, smoking, drinking and dancing on the streets along with our students. It raised alarm bells in the local community. We acted like the proverbial bull in a China shop but due to our strong links in the community we survived. The university administration and Mullahs could not do much against us. At this time the Registrar came up with a novel idea. He registered a complaint against our undesirable activities with the Deputy Commissioner (DC). DC summoned me to his office to express his concern. At that time Hamid Qazilbash was General Secretary of Federal Union of ASAs and he sent a strong note of protest to Abdul Hafiz Pirzada against this harassment. DC was soon transferred. This further built an aura of power around us. Later on, Afzal Bangash told me that he had contested a pro bono case for the DC and I should have told him if there was any problem. Our opponents' next move was to mobilize a local Mulla to speak against us during the Friday sermon. We got wind of this plan. Our supporters in JUI assured us that they will retaliate to any remarks made against us on the spot. The plan was canceled.

 

Manzur Ejaz had set up Punjab Adbi Markaz in Lahore and expressed the desire to establish a branch in DIK. We persuaded the local president of MKP Dr. Mahmood Bukhari to manage the shop. He agreed. When Afzal Bangash heard about this he was infuriated. He wrote a letter to Bukhari saying that it was a Punjabi conspiracy. Punjabis were setting up their posts in DIK like East India Company had done in Bengal. As Manzur (The East India Company) moved to the USA sometime later, the shop was closed and the issue resolved.

 

By this time I had formally started working with MKP in DIK, Bhakkar, Darya Khan, Wan Bhacharan and Mianwali. I was engaged in preparing educational material for MKP’s student wing Inqalabi Mahaz e Talaba and interacted closely with Taqi Nayab, Meeru, Arshad Mir and other activists at NCA.  MKP in Bhakkar was led by Ustad Ijaz Khan, Head Master Government School Khansar. Ijaz Khan was a very learned and wise man and had established a group of committed workers in the area. In Darya Khan MKP was led by Ghulam Abbas Shakir, General Secretary of Darya Khan Sugar Mill. Malik Dost Mohammad Bhachar was president of MKP in Mianwali district. It was a privilege working with these people and I learned a lot from them during my Gomal University years.

 

The best thing about this period was our very close cooperation and solidarity with all the groups of Left. We arranged big meetings for C.R. Aslam and Ishaq Mohammad and arranged very informative interactive sessions for the exchange of ideas between them and local workers; they were impressed by the quality of debate and democratic norms of our friends. When Bacha Khan visited DIK Baqir and Barkat were the only two nonPukhtuns invited to his session with PSF. When Afrasiab Khattak visited DIK after being released from Haiderabad Jail PSF activists brought him to our house. We had a very detailed and cordial meeting and Afrasiab told us that he had heard our names in Haiderabad Jail. We also had a similar meeting with Pervez Salim after his release from Haiderabad Jail. Pevez hailed from DIK and was a staunch Baloch nationalist. We had such close bond with both Pushtun and Saraiki students that IJT found it very hard to stigmatize us. Finally, a group of IJT lecturers begged us to start class politics and relinquish collaboration with the ‘nationalists’. While PG group had seen our alliance with the nationalists as a source of our weakness IJT saw it as a source of our strength. 

 

We used to receive a copy of Jabal published by Balochi Guerillas through some unknown source. It was widely circulated and discussed in our circle. Decades later when went to a visit of Marri area with Asad Rehman, he told me that he was the editor of this journal and was known as Chakar Khan. Three very interesting events happened before I finally left DIK in December 1978. I shall narrate them in the next post. 

 

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