Prominent Baloch elder Hameedullah Sardarzahi dies from Covid-19 in Tehran

Prominent Baloch tribal leader Sardar Hameedullah Sardarzahi died from Covid-19 related complications in Tehran last night. He had been critically ill and was in the ICU at a hospital in the Iranian capital. He was the chief of the Sardarzahis.

The 60-year-old was an influential elder in the Balochistan region, officially called Sistan and Baluchestan, and was thought of as a fatherly figure by sections of the Baloch population, especially in the Chahbar district. He is remembered as a humble and a learned man with a fondness for Balochi literature.

“We are alone now,” Hasan Yadgarzadeh, a reputed sculptor in Sistan and Baluchestan, posted on Instagram with a black picture.

“(Hameedullah) was a pillar, an elder, that left us,” said Homayoon Mobaraki, a Baloch filmmaker based in Sweden.

The deceased was also well known in the eastern Balochistan region. “A big loss indeed for Baloch people,” tweeted MPA Sanaullah Baloch. “(Hameedullah) was a fatherly figure and respected Baloch elder in Iran.”

Human rights activist Mama Qadeer Baloch tweeted: “The void left by Hameedullah cannot be filled. He was a lover of literature and a true leader of the Baloch.”

Hameedullah Sardarzahi was born in Qasarqand Iran but spent quite a lot of time in Karachi due to his family being in exile in Pakistan. His father, Mir Mauldad, had to leave Iran with his family after the Iranian revolution and the Baloch uprising in 1979 against ‘the Islamist regime’. Hameedullah had a Masters degree in Political Science from Karachi University. Later, he returned to Iran after his father, Mir Mauldad was murdered in Karachi and the Iranian regime announced a general amnesty for the exiled Baloch tribes.

Moreover, Baloch Sardars do not wield the same amount of power post-revolution as the Sardari system was abolished in Iran, but they still command respect and influence among local Baloch people who go to them to seek assistance and settle their disputes.

Sardar Hameedullah will be laid to rest in Chahbar district tomorrow.