Kerala-born Pakistani leader B M Kutty dies at 89

Shaju Philip
Biyyothil Mohyuddin Kutty, popularly known as BM Kutty, migrated to Pakistan from Kerala 70 years ago in 1949 when he was 19.

Kerala-born Pakistani political leader and rights activist Biyyothil Mohyuddin Kutty, popularly known as B M Kutty, died in Karachi on Sunday, according to family sources here. He was 89.

During a public life spread over seven decades, Kutty had been actively involved in Pakistani politics and had stood for human rights and justice. In the initial years of his political life, Kutty had worked with the Azad Pakistan Party in Lahore and later with Pakistan Awami League in Karachi. He joined the National Awami Party and following its ban in 1975, Kutty worked with the National Democratic Party for a short stint before joining the Pakistan National Party.

He had been one of the founding leaders of Pakistan-India People s Forum for Peace and Democracy. He had also worked as the secretary-general of Pakistan Peace Coalition. Kutty had served as political secretary to Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo, the governor of Baluchistan province in 1972.

Born at Tirur in Kerala s present Malappuram district, Kutty had moved to Pakistan in 1949. The lone member from the family to leave for Pakistan, Kutty, however, wasn t among the refugees who had then migrated to Pakistan. While a degree student in Madras, Kutty went on a journey to explore different places and landed in Karachi, where he was embraced by the earlier settlers from Malappuram. Initially, he didn t intend to settle in Pakistan, but Kutty later built a career and a life in the country.

Kutty easily synched with the Left political leaders and intellectuals in Pakistan, particularly in Lahore. He had authored Sixty years in self-exile: no regret. He is survived by three children. His wife Birjis Siddique had died in 2010.

In his condolence message, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kutty had always stood for promoting amity between India and Pakistan. Also a journalist, Kutty had fought against fundamentalism. He had always maintained good relation with Kerala, said the CM.