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Civil society demands removal of fisheries minister for attacking PFF chief

By our correspondents
January 02, 2018

Expressing anger over a recent armed attack on Muhammad Ali Shah, the chairman of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, in Sujawal district, civil society and rights activists from Sindh have demanded that the chief minister order an impartial inquiry into the attack.

On December 25, Shah and his colleagues, including the PFF Sujawal President Noor Muhamamd Thehmore were injured in an alleged attack carried out by armed men of Minister of Fisheries Muhammad Ali Malkani.

According to reports, Shah and other PFF members were surveying various lakes in Sujawal to ascertain the extent of their illegal occupation when they were allegedly forcibly taken to the residence of Shaukat Ali Malkani, a local influential who is also the brother of the fisheries minister. However, after protests from the community and interventions at the higher level, the PFF team members were released.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, a number of rights and civil society activists expressed serious concern over the use of force by a provincial minister, who holds the portfolio of livestock and fisheries department and is allegedly involved in illegal encroachment of many Thatta and Sujawal lakes, which are traditionally public properties and livelihood sources for thousands of fishermen. They also demanded the chief minister to implement the orders of Sindh High Court (SHC) to remove illegal occupation of all the lakes in Sindh.

According to the PFF, there are 1,209 freshwater bodies in the province but most of them are under the occupation of influential persons in the respective areas. The activists demanded the removal of Malkani from the ministry and the registration of a case against him and his brother for illegal occupation of lakes in coastal districts.

They also demanded that all encroachment and illegal occupation be removed from all freshwater bodies in the province which they said were mostly occupied by members of the ruling political party.