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August 26, 2019

Icon of Left politics BM Kutty passes away

Karachi

August 26, 2019

KARACHI: Noted trade unionist, political activist and author Biyyothil Mohyuddin Kutty, known as BM Kutty, passed away in Karachi on early Sunday morning. He was 88 and had been fighting age-related illnesses for the past few years.

A Malayali from Kerala state in India, he spent his entire life in Pakistan as a committed political worker and rights activist.

His funeral prayers were held at Jama Mosque Abu Hanifia in Gulshan-e-Iqbal after Zuhr prayers. He has been survived by two sons and a daughter.

From Kerala to Karachi

Born on July 15, 1931, in Tirur, in present-day Kerala’s Malappuram area in India, Kutty migrated to Pakistan in 1949. He had started taking part in political activities in India in the 1940s as he was an active member of the Kerala Students Federation, a Communist Party-affiliated student outfit.

Between 1950 and 1957, he was associated with the Azad Pakistan Party in Lahore and later with the Pakistan Awami League in Karachi. From 1957 to 1975, he was actively involved in the politics of the National Awami Party (NAP).

A picture of MRD movement's meeting (1987, Karachi) headed by Benazir Bhutto (late) and BM Kutty is seen in the first from the left. Kutty drafted the fundamental document of the MRD campaign formed to oppose the then military dictator, General Ziaul Haq. (Photo. BM Kutty's Facebook).

After NAP was banned in 1975, Kutty worked with the National Democratic Party till 1979. From 1979 till 1997, he remained associated with the Pakistan National Party, which was founded by prominent Baloch politician Mir Ghous Baksh Bizenjo.

He also supported the National Workers Party in the 1990s. He also served as the joint secretary general of the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) for three years.

Among Pakistan’s political circles, Kutty was known for his excellence in drafting of manifestos, constitutions, resolutions and press releases of various progressive political parties, and political campaigns and alliances, particularly the MRD.

Sohail Sangi, a veteran journalist who spent jail with Kutty, said the late activist drafted the fundamental document of the MRD campaign formed to oppose then military dictator General Ziaul Haq.

“Being a political secretary of Bizenjo during his governorship of Balochstan, Kutty also drafted documents of alliances between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the NAP-JUI,” Sangi told The News.

Peace activism and books

Apart from working for a few commercial organisations in his early years in Karachi, Kutty was also associated in the 1960s and 1970s with economic journals, such as the Trade and Industry, and Finance and Industry, which later on became Pakistan Economist.

The late activist was also one of the founding members of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), one of the country’s leading workers support body in Karachi formed in the 1980s. He also participated in the foundations of several cross-border peace initiatives, such as the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy and the Pakistan Peace Coalition.

Kutty recorded his political struggles in his memoir – Sixty Years in Self Exile: No Regrets. Besides, he also edited ‘In Search of Solutions: An Autobiography of Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo’, published jointly by the Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, and Pakistan Labour Trust, Karachi. He also authored ‘Lenin and the Changing World - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’.

At the launch of his memoir in Karachi in 2011, journalist and rights activist IA Rehman said when Bizenjo was called Baba-e-Balochistan, Kutty was described there as ‘Chottaa Baba’.

Condolences

Politicians and journalists expressed condolences over Kutty’s death and paid him rich tributes for his services to Pakistan, and particularly Balochsitan.

“Heartbroken about the passing away of veteran Leftist legend, comrade B M Kutty. He has as many contributions in Baloch politics as any Baloch leader. He was a close aide to my father Mir Ghous Buksh Bizenjo; also wrote his autobiography. He was more of a family than a friend,” the National Party’s former central president Hasil Bizenjo tweeted.

Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Law Barrister Murtaza Wahab tweeted: “RIP BM Kutty sahab. You will be remembered for your principles & struggle for an egalitarian Pakistan.”

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