HYDERABAD, Aug 9 Nationalist and leftist leaders have called upon that the government and judiciary to reopen the Nazir Abbasi murder case and punish the armymen involved in it.

Speaking at a public gathering held at the press club on Sunday to mark the 29th death anniversary of the leftist leader, they said the government and judiciary should also take up cases the activists killed during the dictatorial rules, particularly under Zia's dictatorship.

Veteran activist Jam Saqi said that Brigadier Imtiaz Billa, who was accused of torturing Nazir Abbasi to death during the early days of Gen Zia's martial law, had been arrested in Swat but the government was not making his arrest public.

Jam Saqi said that before his arrest in Karachi, Abbasi had been kept in a 'safe house' of intelligence agencies in Quetta and was warned that if he was arrested again he would be dead.

Imdad Qazi, however, said that the Brigadier named Imtiaz arrested in Swat was not the Brig Imtiaz of the Nazir Abbasi case. The PPP government should have exposed the killers of activists but instead it appeared to be interested only in grabbing more power, he said.

Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party leader Ali Hassan Chandio regretted that no FIR about Nazir Abbasi murder had been lodged during the 29 years since his murder. His party also died with him, he said.

He said that the PPP had come to power three times but it did not reopen the Abbasi case. Even the “murderer of Benazir Bhutto is being accorded protocol in the country and abroad”, he said.

He called for unity of left-wing nationalists, adding, that only a united fight and struggle could bring about a change in the situation.

Jeay Sindh Mahaz-J's vice-chairman Hashim Khoso called for a joint struggle by nationalists and communists against the system of exploitation.

He said that people who believed that everything had been lost because of disintegration of the USSR were ideologically weak. The present system had brought about a state which had deprived people of their resources, he said.

Dr Qadir Bux Jatoi, a nationalist student leader of the 80s who has recently returned after a two decade of self-exile in Europe, said that Abbasi sacrificed his life for the cause of people.

He called upon the people of Punjab to raise their voice against excesses to which people of smaller provinces were being subjected to.

National Workers Party's Hassan Askari criticised what he called the 'new breed of pseudo-intellectuals' who took pleasure in criticising communists.

“Don't teach us Marxism. You use your pen for Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and to praise Asif Ali Zardari,” he said. Liaquat Aziz said that Abbasi did not compromise on principles because he belonged to a rare breed of committed people. Dr Jabbar Khattak, a companion of Abbasi, narrated his own ordeal in a Peshawar “camp” and claimed that as a result of torture the lines on his palms drawn by nature had disappeared. He then decided to create his own destiny as a true socialist, he said.

A declaration adopted at the gathering pledged to the mission of Abbasi until people's democracy and an exploitation-free society was established.

The declaration that a chapter on Nazir Abbasi be included in textbooks. A one minute's silence was observed at the meeting to mark the death anniversary of Abbasi.

Haresh Kumar, Yunus Rahu, Ms Amar Sindhu, Zulfikar Halepoto, Imdad Chandio and Hamida Ghanghro also spoke at the gathering.

The Sindh Hari Committee held a separate gathering to mark the death anniversary in Kalhoro Colony.

In Khairpur, the Sindh Hari Committee observed the anniversary at the press club and in Mirpurkhas, the Trade Union Rights Campaign held a ceremony.

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