Hyrbyair Marri was born on August 4, 1968, in Balochistan. He is the fifth son of veteran Baloch national leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri. He did his primary education in Quetta Grammar School and higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Russia, where he studied journalism. In the 1980s he moved to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, along with his father and other family members. He paid several visits to Hilmand where Baloch refugees fleeing Pakistan’s repression had sought refuge.
People close to Mr. Marri say he has been a Baloch patriot since adolescence. While studying in Russia, he designed Balochistan Liberation Front stickers and badges and distributed them among his class fellows. He has never described himself as a Pakistani, not even as a child.
Mr. Marri returned to Balochistan in the early 90s. In 1997 he took part in Balochistan provincial elections, winning an overwhelming majority of votes to become Minister of Road and Communications in the Balochistan state government in Pakistan. He was the youngest and first Baloch minister to decline to pledge loyalty to Pakistan. Instead of the words ‘I shall remain loyal to Pakistan’ he vowed “I shall remain loyal to my Nation”. Mr. Marri was also the first Baloch minister to protest against conducting nuclear tests in Balochistan in May, 1998.
In 1999, Mr Marri traveled to Europe and sought exile in the UK, the same year Musharraf came into power through a military coup and dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif, including all provincial governments. In early 2000 a Balochistan High Court Judge, Mir Nawaz Marri, was killed by unknown assailants, but the Musharraf government arrested Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, along with hundreds of other Marri tribesmen. Mir Hyrbyair Marri and his brothers were also implicated in the murder case. During his stay overseas Mr. Marri has continued to play a key role in the cause for Balochistan’s indepedence.
On December 4, 2007, Hybyair Marri was arrested at the behest of the military government of General Pervez Musharraf and put in Britain’s high security Belmarsh prison. He is the first Baloch leader, along with Faiz Baluch, ever to serve prison abroad for the Baloch cause. In February 2008 he and Faiz Baluch were acquitted of terrorism charges by a British jury. He remains steadfast in his demand for an independent Balochistan. He is open to the idea of a dialogue, but insists that the issue of Balochistan’s independence must be a part of any such talks.
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