HYDERABAD/UMERKOT: Renowned scholar, writer, researcher and nationalist leader Abdul Wahid Arisar passed away in a hospital in Karachi after long illness on Sunday. He was 66. He has left a wife and a daughter.
Arisar had been suffering from a kidney ailment for quite some time and had remained under treatment in a private hospital in Hyderabad before being shifted to a Karachi hospital, where he died of renal failure.
His body was transported to his hometown, Unnarabad, near Chhore cantonment bordering India, and then taken to Aauri village graveyard for burial.
Chairman of his own faction of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, which was known as JSQM-Arisar, the deceased leader was born in on Oct 11, 1949 in a village in India while his parents were away visiting their relatives on the other side of the border.
A simple and soft-spoken person, Arisar received his basic education from religious seminaries in Sabho Sharif and Bhindo Sharif after his parents migrated to Pakistan. He also got education from Hashmi Madressah in Sujawal and Madressah Muftahul Uloom and Shah Waliullah Academy in Hyderabad. Allama Ghulam Mustafa Qasmi was one of his teachers.
During his early studies in a religious school in the Kangoro area, he wrote his first (Sindhi) write-up, Rabiul Awwal ja char chand (Four crescents of Rabiul Awwal) in 1966.
He was highly inspired by Congress luminary Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He never missed any opportunity to quote Azad’s words or writings in his own speeches, according to his contemporary Abdul Khalique Junejo, the chief of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz. Arisar devoured books in Persian and Arabic languages, he said.
He led prayers in a mosque in Memon Mohallah, Hyderabad and also taught religion in Silawat Mohallah of the city for some time.
Impressed by the philosophy and political views of the late statesman, G.M. Syed, Arisar joined the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) founded by the veteran leader on June 18, 1972 and also managed a periodical Paigham later.
According to Mr Junejo, Arisar remained part of the JSM for many years and became convener of its organising committee in December 1977. Later he served as the committee’s chairman for around 15 years. His contemporaries, besides Mr Junejo, were Ghulam Shah, Ali Nawaz Butt, Hashim Khoso and Jam Saqi.
Mr Junejo said that Mr Arisar took the nationalist movement from educational institutions to the streets of cities and villages which helped broaden the political base of the JSM.
When the JSM witnessed a spilt after Syed’s death in 1995, Mr Arisar along with Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, Bashir Khan Qureshi and Shafi Mohammad Burfat founded the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM).
He remained its chairman for one term. Later Mr Qureshi became its chairman and Mr Arisar the secretary general. In 2006, differences cropped up between the two and Mr Arisar formed his own faction of the JSQM.
JSQM acting chairman Aslam Khairpuri is the likely successor of Mr Arisar.
The Sindhi publication, Paigham, faced a ban during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government. Mr Arisar himself faced trial and tribulations as well as imprisonment during the civilian dispensation and then General Zia’s rule. He went ‘missing’ for about eight months during the first term of Nawaz Sharif-led government.
Moving scenes were witnessed across the Karachi-Umerkot route of the ambulance carrying the body of Abdul Wahid Arisar. Weeping activists of various nationalist parties and shocked supporters, along with writers and scholars lined up at various places along the route showered rose petals on the ambulance.
At Hyderabad bypass near Wadhu Wah, a large number of mourners formed a human chain and had the last glimpses of the deceased leader.
Among them were Dr Mir Alam Marri, Aslam Khairpuri, Dr Niaz Kalani, Abdul Khaliq Junejo, Abdul Fateh Channa, Ashraf Noonari, Taj Joyo and Naz Sanai.
Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party chairman Dr Qadir Magsi and other party leaders in a press release expressed their shock and grief over the demise of Mr Arisar.
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2015