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Baba Haider Zaman dies in Islamabad hospital

Baba Haider Zaman dies in Islamabad hospital

ABBOTTABAD: Baba Haider Zaman, the chairman of Tehreek-i-Sooba Hazara, died at a private hospital in Islamabad on Wednesday where he was admitted for the last several days. He was 86.

Baba Haider Zaman got nationwide fame after Abbottabad riots in 2010 when he opposed re-naming of the erstwhile NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He demanded that Harzar division should be given the status of a separate province.

Till his death, he was organising rallies and holding meetings for creation of a new province for the people of Hazara. Although the movement for Hazara province could not be run effectively yet he addressed large public meetings in Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan and other areas for the purpose.

Baba Haider Zaman was a soft spoken but straightforward person. In his speeches, he would point out the mistakes and wrongdoings of the local and national leaders. He would accuse the major political parties of ignoring poor segments of the society, especially the people of Hazara.

Baba Haider Zaman remained a provincial minister in the cabinet of the then chief minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Shearpo. He contested elections against Mian Nawaz Sharif in the general elections of 1993 and in 1997 for National Assembly seats. However, he lost both the times.

He was offered party ticket for provincial assembly elections by PML-N to withdraw from the National Assembly seat but he turned down the offer. Later, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, who had won two seats of National Assembly, retained the seat of Abbottabad and was elected prime minister.

Baba Haider Zaman also remained district nazim of Abbottabad in 2005.

Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, the former governor and chief minister of the province, in his message on the death of Baba Haider Zaman said that he was a symbol of pride and a committed person, who stood for the rights of the people of Hazara.

He said that Baba Haider Zaman never compromised on principles. “He was a hardliner for the cause of his supporters and never let them down at any stage,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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