The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that on the 66 celebration of the Independence Day of Pakistan, three more Sindh nationalists were gunned downed in a fake encounter in Karachi and many young Sindhi activists were arrested from different districts of Sindh province and their whereabouts are unknown. In a fake encounter a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) was also shot dead by the head of the police raiding party to settle an old score. On this occasion of the country’s Independence Day nationalist groups observed a ‘black day’ by holding protests.
After the police encounter, the chief minister of the province announced a reward of Rs two million for the shooting of the activists but the very next day the Station Head Officer (SHO), who was in charge of the police party, was suspended on the charge of killing the DSP.
Earlier a student leader, Afzal Panhwar, was also killed in a fake encounter on 15 August 2013 in Kotri, Sindh. He was also a Sindhi activist who was held in military detention for one year (For further details, please see, AHRC-UAU-024-2013).
The role of the national media, which is dominated by Urdu and Punjabi speaking media houses, was exposed as being biased and holding anti Sindhi sentiments.
On 14 August 2013, nationalist and separatist groups from Sindh province observed a Black Day by closing down their businesses and hoisting black flags in their dominated areas. Madho goth, Gulistane Johar, Karachi is dominated by Sindhi speaking people and there are forced to deal with police touts who grab land and collect extortion from the people of the area.
On the day of the incident the Station Head Officer (SHO), Inspector Saleem Malik, visited Madho goth and asked the activists to stop observing the Black Day as the provincial government was not happy. The nationalists told them they were political workers and they could not stop their activities. In the meantime there was a scuffle between shopkeepers and the police touts over the payment of extortion money to the police. The activists supported the shopkeepers and people scuffled with one of the SHO’s enforcers, Wasim, and injured him. When the SHO reached the scene of the incident he rescued Wasim and told the young Sindhis that he would return and be guest at their Goth and they would have a chat.
SHO Malik reached their place at 1 am in the early hours of August 15, with 20 private guards who were in plain clothes and entered the house of Syed Zamen Shah in Madho village. There were six people inside the house, namely Zamin Shah, Yameen Chachar, Umed Ali Dehar, Imran Wahoocho, Ahmar Peerzado and Sindhrani. They were asleep at the time the raid was conducted and three persons, Imran Wahoocho, Ahmed Peerzado, and Sindhiani were abducted. While the rest were taken into custody Zamin Shah, Yameen Chachar and Umed Ali were atrociously tortured and were later extrajudicial killed in a fake encounter. Zamin Shah was from JSMM and the other two were from Jeay Sindh Tehreek.
According to the postmortem in the doctor’s report, Syed Zamin Shah and the other were heinously tortured and shot at close range of 7 feet. There were several bruising marks of blows to the face and nose of Syed Zamin Shah.
When the police was targeting to kill the activists, other criminal groups, one lead by Paryal Shah and other by Arshad, who were providing extortion money to the police, thought that the police had attacked them for not enhancing the rate of the extortion money which the police had been demanding and they immediately opened fire on police party. Generally in Karachi, the capital of the province, keeping arms is not a big issue as the government and political parties provide arms licenses and the weapons themselves are abundantly available on the black market.
The gunfight between the police party and the armed groups continued and a police officer, ASI Ejaz with two other policemen, was killed. SHO Malik took the advantage to take revenge on DSP Qasim Ghouri to settle a previous insult when Malik was posted to another police station at Preddy as SHO. He immediately called DSP and told him that the Taliban had attacked the police party and to come immediately. DSP Ghouri reached the scene with his police officials and according to the brother and other relatives of the deceased, the SHO and his party fired nine rounds at him then left him injured on the road for hours so that he could not have any medical treatment.
On the other hand the family members of the late DSP have raised their voices through a press conference, against SHO Malik Saleem of Gulistan e Johar and have insisted on him being arrested and terminated from his position. They also lodged an FIR against the killing of the three police men and the three nationalists.
The Pakistan Rangers were called to the scene of the fake encounter and when they realised that it was a fake encounter they left immediately. The police and government claim that the young Sindhis who were killed were hardened criminals and land grabbers. However, the government has not produced any criminal case against any of them in any police station.
The narrative released by the police tells of an encounter which was initiated at 1 am and lasted till 10 in the morning. However, the question must be asked as to how come it was possible that the mere number of three people fought for nine long hours with 300 commandos!
It is also reported in the local Sindhi speaking media that on 14 and 15 August the government arrested 40 activists of the Jeay Sindh Mutehda Mahaz (JSMM), from different districts of the province for holding black day protests on the Independence Day.
The whereabouts of the three persons, who were taken into custody by the police during the encounter, Imran Wahoocho, Ahmed Peerzado and Sindhiani are still not known.
The national print and electronic media has revealed its bias against the Sindhi ethnic groups and reported the incident in a very negative fashion. The Urdu and Punjabi media are working against the struggle of the Sindhi people as they maintain ill feelings against them which go back to the days of the movement of the Urdu and Punjabi people for independence from the exploitation of Pakistan. They treat the Sindhis as if they were dacoits, land grabbers and an anti state element.
The mockery of the governance was also exposed when the chief minister of the province announced a reward of Rs. two million for conducting a successful encounter against the “criminals’ but the very next day the police department suspended the SHO for staging a fake encounter and filed a case against him.