The Sindh government will not let any conspiracy aiming at causing ethnic strife succeed anywhere in the province, a statement issued on Thursday quoted Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah as saying in reference to 27-year-old Bilal Kaka’s killing in Hyderabad during Eidul Azha.
A demonstration against Kaka’s murder allegedly by a hotel owner over a food bill turned the Super Highway in Karachi into a battlefield for over four hours, while protests continued in other cities of the province.
The CM asked the Sindh police for a detailed report about the killing and the subsequent incidents in different parts of the province. He told them to investigate all the incidents in a professional manner to bring the culprits to book.
He said the murder should be investigated as a crime but without giving it an ethnic angle. He pointed out that criminals do not belong to any ethnicity, nationality, community or linguistic group, and that they should be treated only as offenders.
Regarding the Super Highway protest, he said nobody will be allowed to disrupt law and order. He advised the protesters to remain peaceful. “This is not the time to clash with one another, but to support one another.”
In the evening, speaking as the chief guest at an event at the Arts Council to mark the 44th death anniversary of Sindhi short story writer Naseem Kharal, Shah said the province’s enemies have started giving ethnic colour to their crimes.
He reiterated that a criminal must be treated only as a criminal without considering his linguistic or ethnic affiliation. “This fact should be understood by all of us.”
On the occasion, Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah also appealed to the people not to become part of any conspiracy to accentuate ethnic and linguistic divide in the province. He said Sindh can never afford any ethnic strife.
A statement quoted Information Minister Sharjeel Memon as saying that the provincial government has approached Awami National Party leader Shahi Syed and Qaumi Awami Tehreek leader Ayaz Latif Palijo to request them to help promote peace in the province.
Memon said that both leaders have assured the government of making their best possible efforts, adding that the law will take its due course if anyone attempts to disturb the peace.
He said that a few suspects have been arrested following some unpleasant incidents in the province, adding that one of the suspected killers has been arrested in Hyderabad, while some youngsters involved in vandalising businesses in the city have also been detained.
Police in Karachi said the Super Highway remained a battlefield for over four hours. Officials said miscreants blocked both tracks of the road with burning tyres, adding that they also torched a passenger bus, two cars and two motorbikes as well as snatched a traffic policeman’s official submachine gun.
Police said the miscreants also damaged several vehicles by pelting them with stones, adding that during the riots, unidentified suspects looted several commuters stuck in a traffic jam, while two citizens were shot dead.
Officials said that over a dozen people, including Sharea Faisal SHO Malik Ishaq, were injured after the protesters attacked them with stones. They said women stuck in the traffic jam were also reportedly subjected to misbehaviour.
Police said the situation had turned violent after scores of people gathered on the Super Highway near Al-Asif Square in Sohrab Goth to protest against the Hyderabad incident.
However, they added, police and Rangers officials dispersed the protesters with tear gas shells and aerial firing, thus resuming the movement of traffic after around four hours.
Officials said Najmul Hassan, 30, and Nazeer Allah Wadaya were gunned down by muggers, adding that some miscreants also fired at the office of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the area, and removed the party’s banners and boards. They said that over a dozen miscreants were detained after cordoning off Al-Asif Square.
Demonstrations also continued in Hyderabad, Larkana, Jacobabad, Umerkot, Kazi Ahmed, Meero Khan and other cities, with the protesters demanding the arrest of all those involved in Kaka’s murder. Many eateries remained closed during unrest in different cities.
Kaka’s mother Sahib Khatoon released a video statement saying that her family only wants justice and the arrest of all the suspects nominated in the murder FIR. She clarified that her family has never believed in ethnic conflict and damaging people’s properties.
According to sources, Kaka has 12 FIRs registered against him at different police stations in Hyderabad, with six of them including the Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 324 (attempt to murder). Six of the FIRs are lodged at the Naseem Nagar police station and two at the Tando Jam police station.
The FIRs are registered under different sections: attempt to murder (324), common intention (34), assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty (353), wrongful restraint (341), rioting (147) while armed with deadly weapon (148), unlawful assembly (149) and sedition (124-A).
Reports claim that Bakhtiar Pathan, who has been nominated in Kaka’s murder FIR, is serving as a social mobiliser in union council No. 16 (Halla Naka Hyderabad) for a programme launched by Unicef to eradicate polio.
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