By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom
Extremely saddened and shocked to learn about the passing-away of one of the most cherished, loved and illustrious son of Sindh, Saaeen Bashir Khan Qureshi.
The glorious ship of our motherland, Sindh, was so ably, bravely, passionately and fervently and, of-course, single-handedly, steered and guided by the indomitable, invincible and indefatigable will and leadership of Bashir Qureshi, the ardent believer and follower of the great Sindhi leader, Saaeen G.M. Syed’s legacy, and philosophy. Now, Sindh is left alone, bewildered, broken, shocked and in extreme pain and anguish.
Each and every time that I had an honour and privilege to visit my beloved Motherland on an annual pilgrimage, I was always blessed, illuminated and enriched by the few serene and tranquil moments that I had spent with Bashir Qureshi at his house at Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Karachi, Sindh just a walking distance from my brother’s house, where I used to stay.
We talked about Sindh, nothing but Sindh, because Sindh was his passion, the struggle for Free, Sovereign and Independent Sindh was his mission and the guiding of Sindh to take its historically-proclaimed rightful place amongst the community of the nations of the world was his vision as he always used to recite, with great gusto and fervour as well as tears in his eyes, this couplet of Saaeen Ustad Bukhari:
“Sindhu saan ahrree jindu jarree, jo mbiyaa dil waaraa wisree w1yaa,
Jiyei Sindhu sadaaeen jiyei, mbiyaa sabhu naaraa wisree wiyaa.” (Ustad Bukhari)
“Such is my love for Mother Sindh, Other beloveds all forgotten, ‘Long live, forever live, dearest Sindh!’ Yes, other slogans all forgotten.” (Ustad Bukhari: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
Bashir Khan Qureshi was a leader par excellence and a human being extraordinaire. Personally, he was a wonderful friend and a very generous and hospitable carer and comforter to his guests at his home. As Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), (the Long Live Sindh National Front), he carried himself with great sense of responsibility and immaculate character.
I will sadly miss his inspiring company during my next and subsequent pilgrimages to my Motherland! The glorious land of Sindh and the generous and gregarious Sindhis will miss his wise helmsman-ship, courage, enthusiasm, patriotism and charismatic leadership.
Bashir Qureshi joined the movement for the liberation of Sindh from the ignominious chains of slavery brutally tightened around the neck of Sindh by the Punjab-dominated Pakistan in 1976 when he was just 17 years old. This movement known as Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) – Long Live Sindh National Front – was founded by the Great Helmsman of Sindh, G.M. Syed. As an ordinary worker and member of this Front, Bashir carried out his duties and responsibilities with great zeal and patriotic ideals, fervour and ardour, enthusiasm and exuberance and with remarkable energy and prowess.
During the 1980s, Saaeen G.M. Syed was jailed, even though he was old and feeble, and Bashir through has sagacity and love for Syed and Sindh organised many protest rallies and hunger strikes, where he was always in the forefront. After the passing-away of Saaeen G.M. Syed, the baton of leadership was passed over to Bashir Khan Qureshi, who performed his duties as a successor of the great Syed with so much bravado and competence, earnestness and eagerness and with complete reverence and loyalty to his Motherland, Sindh. During his Long March for the Freedom of Sindh he was threatened by the Pakistani Security establishment, shot at by the heartless and senseless Pakistani Armed Forces and savagely jailed for several years by the dictatorial Punjab-dominated Secret Service and Intelligence agencies of the failing state.
And, despite all brutalities and animal-like behaviour of Pakistani vile and arrogant authorities, Saaeen Bashir never lost his patience, calm-nature and candour. He mobilised Sindhi masses to carry out peaceful, non-violent Gandhi-like protests on the streets of cities, town and villages of Sindh from Karachi to Kashmore, many times bringing the heavily-armed savage Pakistani civil and martial authorities down onto their knees. He vociferously demanded the economical, linguistic, cultural, political and hereditary rights for the hapless, helpless and long-suffering people of Sindh.