September 29, 2022
By Xari Jalil
Veteran Baloch political leader and an advocate of Baloch rights, Yousuf Mustikhan passed away early Thursday morning on September 29. He had been suffering from cancer. He was laid to rest at the Mewashah Graveyard on Thursday evening.
Mustikhan was known widely, particularly in Balochistan and Sindh for his left-leaning political activism.
Born in Karachi, in 1948, he received his education from eminent schools including Karachi Grammar School and Saint Patrick’s High School.
Friend and comrade Abdul Wahid Baloch informs Voicepk that he began his political career from the Baloch Student Organisation (BSO) and later also joined the National Democratic Party, when Sherbaz Khan Mazari announced its formation. Mustikhan was elected President of the Karachi chapter as well as a member of its Central Committee. Later, Mustikhan also served as President Pakistan National Party.
“He was good friends with our respected senior political leader, Lal Buksh (Lala) Rind, who was a resident of Lyari, and Yousuf Mustikhan often visited him,” says Wahid Baloch. “Along with the other great political personalities, including Khair Bux Marri and Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, Mustikhan was also part of this clique of progressive leaders. He was a big part of the Lyari left wing.”
In 2012, after the formation of the Awami National Party, Yousuf Mustikhan became its Sindh President and later it’s federal President.
Bashkhal Talho, the General Secretary of AWP says that Mustikhan was a very dedicated and progressive individual.
“Courageous, open-minded, and a very consistent worker, that is how I remember him,” he said while speaking to Voicepk.net. “He started his political career with BSO alongside Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo. He always spoke for downtrodden people and was a firm advocate of democracy.
Talho said that Mustikhan always spoke up for the issues of the Baloch, the Sindhis and even the Saraiki people.
“He spoke about real deep-rooted issues, structural issues, not superficial ones,” says Talho.
As a human rights advocate, Yousuf Mustikhan never stopped fighting for the rights of the marginalized. Specifically, however, he was much against the intervention of the armed forces in politics.
Last year the 77-year-old was arrested despite being sick with cancer after he joined Mullah HIdayatullah’s protest in Gwadar. He was arrested on charges of sedition for delivering a speech ‘against state institutions.
As a result, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Hina Jilani issued a statement condemning the arrest and adding that he had done nothing more than demand that the state give Gwadar’s residents the civil, political and economic rights to which they were entitled.
Women Democratic Front is extremely saddened at the demise of veteran left-wing leader Yusuf MastiKhan, president @AwamiWorkers. He was a true voice for people’s liberation and continued his struggle despite sickness. You will always be remembered. Rest in power comrade! pic.twitter.com/0k1M6NzkBj
— Women Democratic Front ناری جمھوری محاذ (@wdf_pk) September 29, 2022
Meanwhile, journalist Saeed Sarbazi says that Mustikhan was the first ‘proper local leader of the Baloch in Lyari, Malir, Maripur and other Baloch areas, who was also well educated.
“He was a leader of the oppressed class, and was a popular person,” says Sarbazi. “When we were children we often used to go visit Lala Rind because Mustikhan used to be there and we liked sitting with them. We knew that other political leaders would also come because of them.”
Sarbazi says that Mustikhan was a political successor of Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and that is when he joined BSO – but after his death, he began to take more part in local politics.
He says Mustihkan’s contribution in raising a hue and cry over the Bahria Town issue, and the Malir Expressway issue was prominent. “He was a very outspoken man, often saying things that others did not. He never became part of the system and never bargained on his principles.”
Always very active, Mustikhan even came to sit-ins and camps even after he was visibly ill with cancer.
“Today at his funeral I saw his popularity among people who were known to be the respect members of society – from human rights defenders to bureaucrats and others.”
Other personalities expressed their condolences at the death of Mustikhan.
A giant has fallen.
Yousuf Mustikhan, AWP Fed President and stalwart of the struggle for the rights of Baloch and other oppressed nations and marginalised people lost the battle against cancer on Thursday, Sept 29, at 6am. He remained committed to his ideals till last. pic.twitter.com/wZbKhfOeed
— Awami Workers Party (@AwamiWorkers) September 29, 2022
Very saddened to learn of the passing away of Yousuf Mustikhan Sb. Condolences to his family and to AWP. He will be remembered for speaking truth to power and for his struggle for the rights of the opressed. May he rest in peace. https://t.co/ziWNAw7uOp
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) September 29, 2022
In May 2022, Mustikhan lost his wife, Shireen. He leaves behind three sons.
Comrade Yousaf Mastikhan, founder and leader of the Awami Workers Party has passed away this morning.
We send our condolences to all comrades. pic.twitter.com/BxtjHb4Q42
— Dr. Taimur Rahman (@Taimur_Laal) September 29, 2022