Sindhi writer and poet Taj Muhammad Joyo has refused to receive the Pride of Performance Award that was announced by President Dr Arif Alvi on August 14 as his son was forcibly disappeared three days earlier.
“On 11th August, they abducted my son and on the 14th they wanted to give me this nomination as a lollipop,” he told SAMAA Digital over the phone on Saturday.
His son Sarang Joyo, who’s a human rights activist and a research associate at Karachi’s SZABIST, was picked up from his residence in Akhtar Colony Tuesday night. An FIR has been registered at the Mehmoodabad police station on Joyo’s complaint.
“The police, Rangers and several men wearing [balaclava] masks took my son away, his books and computer as well,” Joyo said.
He had protested with his family against missing persons outside Karachi Press Club on Friday. During the protest, he broke into tears and his health worsened.
“I believe that I can’t accept the award when the federal government has occupied Sindh’s resources, religious extremism is being incited in Sindh and its secularism has been destroyed,” he said.
He is a follower of Ghulam Murtaza Syed, a politician who founded the Sindhudesh movement that demands the creation of a separate homeland for Sindhis.
“When there’s ban on freedom of speech and nationalist struggles, social and political activists such as Aqib Chandio, Murtaza Junejo, Shafqat Malik, Naseem Baloch are going missing, then receiving the presidential award is like sauda kerna,” Joyo added.