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Nawaz Atta – the poet-cum-social activist

Nawaz Atta was an aspiring poet who helped the family members of Baloch missing persons, and then he himself went missing.

Born in 1995 in the small town of Gichk in district Panjgur of Balochistan, he had long dreamt of becoming a poet and a fiction writer. Therefore, after completing his primary education from his home village, he moved to the metropolitan Karachi city to live up his dreams.

But he was more of a social worker by nature than a poet. He developed this strong urge to help bring his fellow villagers to Karachi for better education opportunities. He kept a list of education institutions and their upcoming admission schedules. He would text this list to any willing youngster from his village.

Gradually, his contact list for these text messages grew multifold, eventually including people from all areas of Balochistan.

His social work did not end there. When these youngsters moved to Karachi, they had no place to live. Nawaz offered them his house, which could easily resemble a hostel, or more precisely, a general ward of a hospital.

Nawaz also maintained a list of cheap and quality hospitals in Karachi for those people from Balochistan who frequented the city for medical treatment. Village people of Balochistan have little know-how of which specialist to visit for which ailment. Nawaz was their guide. He would even accompany them to hospitals and shared his apartment with them.

When he realized that he needed to know more about health issues to better help his people, he did a training as an Operation Theatre Technician from the Sindh Medical Faculty.

The scope of his social work did not stop their either. Thousands of Baloch seek to find jobs in the Middle East. Fraudulent travel agents would extort thousands of rupees from them and then vanish in thin air. Nawaz knew which travel agencies were reliable. This was another list he maintained.

When someone becomes a victim of enforced disappearances in Balochistan, his relatives have little options to press personnel of security forces to release their loved ones. What they usually do is to sit outside the Karachi Press Club in protest so that the media people highlight their case. Nawaz took care of many such families. That is how he became the central information secretary of the Baloch Human Rights Organization.

He was abducted by paramilitary Rangers personnel in Karachi on 28th of October 2017. He is still missing along with eight other students from Balochistan, all abducted from Karachi.

Baloch students are still seeking help to apply for admission at a Karachi institute, ailing villagers still frequent the city, and so does the travelers. But Nawaz Atta is missing and his family members are sitting outside the Karachi Press Club to highlight his case.

About Taj Baloch

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Taj Baloch is a poet and linguist. He published the first anthology of his poetry in 2016 in both Roman and Arabic scripts.

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