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LARKANA: Dr Arbab Khuhawar, the founder of the Sindh Watan-dost Inqilabi Party who died after a long illness in Karachi at the age of 67, was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Warah town here on Monday.

A large number of political activists, besides his family members, relatives and friends, attended the funeral.

Born in Warah on April 12, 1947, Dr Khuhawar got his primary education within the town, secondary education in Shikarpur and then studied in the Govt Degree College, Larkana.

He joined the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) in his student life when he was studying medicine at the Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro.

Later, he served at the Chandka Medical College, Larkana, in 1973-74 as a demonstrator. He also served as the Thatta Civil Hospital medical officer for a few months.

Senior journalist Suhail Sangi in his article Sindhi nationalists stand divided mentioned Dr Khuhwar when he wrote that a Marxist activist joined the Jeay Sindh camp. According to Mr Sangi, Dr Khuhawar was the first [known leader] to part ways with [Jeay Sindh Tehrik leader G.M.] Syed arguing that a nationalist movement should have socialist orientation.

Dr Khuhawar formed his Sindh Watan-dost Inqilabi Party, which was based on socialist ideology, in 1979. The party played an active role in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy but eventually disappeared from the political scene although it had effectively mobilised labourers and left a deep impact on the labour politics.

The founder leader later dropped the word ‘Sindh’ from the party’s name.

In the initial days of his political career, Dr Khuhawar had joined the Bazm-i-Soofia-i-Sindh and worked with G.M. Syed. According to the Watan-dost Mazdoor Federation leader, Aziz Abbasi, Dr Khuhawar had on Jan 5, 1978 formed the Jeay Sindh Progressive Party after parting ways with G.M. Syed.

In 1980, the late leader was jailed for participating in a protest for the rights of Palestinians, said Mr Abbasi. He joined the Awami National Party (ANP) after the National Awami Party (NAP) was banned. He later joined the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz before one of its leaders Abdul Wahid Arisar formed its breakaway faction. During the last tenure of prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Dr Khuhawar joined the Pakistan Peoples Party and hardly one-and-a-half year later, he defected to the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) led by Abdul Khaliq Junejo in 2009. He was elected senior vice chairman of the JSM at its convention on March 16, 2010.

Dr Khuhawar also remained the editor of a Sindhi-language periodical Sarwan which carried research articles on the Kalhora dynasty.

He has authored a comprehensive book on Sindh’s history which is at the stage of proofreading.

The late leader has left a wife, a son and two daughters.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2016