Sajid Hussain Obituary

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Author: Miran Mazar (Chief Editor The Balochistan Post)

Sajid Hussain was well known in the Baloch society since he began his journalistic career, particularly to anyone who followed the politics of Balochistan.

He was 39, when his dead body was found from a river by Police in Uppsala, Sweden in April 2020. He went missing from the Swedish town on 2nd March 2020, where he had moved to a student accommodation because of his studies.

Sajid Hussain was born in Mand on 16 January 1981 and grew up in the nearby locality of Nizarabad. However, he received majority of his schooling in Karachi.

His early education was from Nasra Primary School and he later also studied in Bahria College Karachi.

In 2002 Sajid joined Baloch Students Organisation and remained its member for at least 4 years. In 2004 he became a member of BSO’s central committee, the highest decision-making body of the organisation.

Sajid earned his bachelor’s degree from Karachi University in 2006/07 with majors in Economics. He received his master’s degree with a first-class grade from University of Balochistan in 2012.

He left political activism after he began his career as a journalist in 2007 and achieved great success in the field. He worked for Pakistan’s mainstream media outlets including Daily Times and The News.

Sajid’s work as a journalist covered an array of issues from Balochistan. He wrote extensively on human rights violations including Baloch missing persons issue. His article in The News International about a drug lord from Makkuran made waves in Pakistan and the region. However, at some point his brilliant journalistic work also irked Pakistan’s powerful secretive agencies.

In 2009 Sajid’s uncle and renowned Baloch leader Ghulam Mohammad Baloch was killed. The Baloch leader’s organisation BNM and other human rights group alleged Pakistani authorities as culprit of Mr. Baloch’s murder.

In 2012 Sajid moved to Quetta, capital of Balochistan, and was assisting international news agency Reuters for a story when Pakistani authorities broke into his house and stole his laptop and other documents.

Soon after Sajid moved to UAE and later to other countries including Oman and Uganda before eventually reaching Sweden in 2017. In 2019 he was granted asylum in the European country.

Throughout this period, he continued his journalistic and literary work. One of his main contribution to the field was launching Balochistan Times, an online magazine covering Balochistan. He was the Editor in Chief of the magazine.

While in Sweden, he also worked with linguists Carina Jahani and Taj Baloch on an online Balochi-English dictionary and the “first ever standardized” book of Balochi grammar.

Recently, he had got admission in a master’s degree in the Uppsala university’s Balochi department in Sweden. He also planned to earn a PhD in the language.

On 28th March 2020 the editorial board of the Balochistan Times announced the disappearance of Sajid, who had been missing from Uppsala, Sweden since 2nd March 2020. A formal case was filed with the Swedish police on 3rd March 2020.

Sajid Hussain was added on a missing persons database on 5th March.

Various international organisations including Committee to Protect Journalists urged Swedish authorities to ensure Sajid Hussain’s safety and locate the missing journalist.

However, today on 1st May 2020 Balochistan Times announced the sad news of recovery of Sajid Hussain’s dead body by Swedish police from a river near Uppsala.

Sajid is survived by his wife, Shehnaz Sajid, and young children Taheer and Shahan, who were planning to join him in Sweden later this year.

Sajid once, while talking about Balochistan’s missing persons issue, had said “the dead do not haunt me as much as the missing do. To tell the truth, I feel relieved when I hear about the discovery of a missing person’s body.” However, recovery of Sajid’s dead body has saddened all his colleagues and friends, who were wishing for safe return of the intelligent Baloch journalist.

Sajid’s death is a huge loss and it will take years to fill the vacuum left with his sad departure.

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