Panjgur, one of the most insurgency-ridden districts in Balochistan, has become a breeding ground for violence and oppression. Death squads operate with impunity, engaging in looting, enforced disappearances, and killings. Numerous young individuals have fallen victim to enforced disappearances, and many have lost their lives due to their mere involvement in political activities.
The people of Panjgur have persistently protested against the brutal actions of these death squads. However, it is alleged that these elements receive covert support from the military establishment. For the past decade, there has been an unannounced ban on nationalist and student politics in Panjgur. Girls’ schools have been set ablaze by religious organizations, and music programs have been canceled by religious parties through the Deputy Commissioner’s office. The university refuses to permit student organizations to host book fairs and engage in political and literary activities, effectively obstructing students’ access to politics.
Saba Dashtiari has made invaluable contributions to Baloch literature, with the Syed Hashmi Reference Library being a cherished repository of Baloch literary heritage, a testament to his tireless efforts. The organization of the Saba Dashtiari Literary Festival in Panjgur is a commendable initiative. It has the potential to pave the way for political and literary engagement, as societal progress demands the active participation of politics, literature, and the arts.
There are concerted efforts to instigate religious extremism, hindering political movements in Balochistan. This underscores the importance of progressive institutions taking on greater responsibilities. To counter the influence of non-political forces in Baloch society, progressive organizations and parties must continue to foster political and literary activities. Similar literary festivals, akin to the Saba Dashtiari Literary Festival in Panjgur, should be organized in other regions of Balochistan.