May 17, 2021
Translated by Shahnilla Fayaz
You will always find, the seven districts of northern Sindh will remain engulfed in bloodshed. The Katcha, forests on both sides of the Indus River are qodowns of arms and ammunitions. The arms trade remain unchecked as Russia, China and the United States brand arms are also available here. Be it anti-craft guns or small rocket missiles. Be it Kalashnikov or 3mm, 7MM, G3 or any kind of government non-government guns. Ammunition is available here.
The first question is who brings weapons in such a huge quantity to the forests? There might be some government, or state? There be any police or any other government machinery in these districts? If so, is it sleeping on opium or is there a partnership in this entire business?
I can say for sure that in Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Khairpur and Ghotki districts, tribal chiefs, Nawabs, Nawabzada and Waderas are involved from supplying arms to dacoits and fugitives, to kidnapping for ransom, and to tribal disputes. There is always a hand of chiefs and big houses.
Elected members from these districts have been involved in this whole game since decades. It doesn’t matter, which political party they belong to or which party is in power. It counts little. Political positions, the government, assembly all of them are directly or indirectly involved in this game. Sometimes humans are like roosters and like dogs fight. Let them fight and the influentials stand silent spectators.
The tribal chiefs turn the innocent people of their tribe into roosters to fight each other. They kill and then hold their jirgas – the private courts. In jirgas, minor girls are given blood money and then given as “Sangg chatti” (compensation). Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had banned jirgas in Sindh. But jirgas are continuing on for years.
Disputes are decided in the presence of the ministers, elected assembly members and the police. The jirga decisions includes fine of crores of rupees, girls as compensation and divorces. There are bloody decisions that are completely out of court settlement, do not carry legal cover.
Surprisingly, these jirgas and decisions are not hidden. They are regularly reported in the media as if the state law is equal to like slave of tribal chiefs and nawabs. Police officers are also an army of slaves. If a good police officer had ever messed up, he would not have been able to stay long. Ever since he regained consciousness, this process has been going on.
This is what I have been witnessing since my childhood. Seems state has closed its eyes, the government is deaf and dumb. Parliament and Assembly turned to be political safe sanctuary, devoid of law. Police is slave army.
In the Katcha area of Kandhkot, the district headquarters of Kashmore of nothren Sindh, armed men from the Jagirani and Sabzoi community, killed ten members of the Chachar community. Two groups remained entrenched and firing continued for several hours. Neither the police nor the government reached there. The police traditionally arrived hours late when ten people were shot dead. Did the gunmen escape or were they given a chance to escape? Prior to the incident, there was tension between the two warring groups. Police and local assembly members and influentials were very much in knowledge of it. Sardars were issuing statements which provided oil to this fire work.
Finally, on the second day of Eid, it all exploded. Result was Kandhkot tragedy. A collective funeral prayer of ten innocents was offered. Four real brothers were shot dead. What were feelings of old father? No words to describe.
A 12-year-old boy attends a funeral prayer under the shadow of a gun. He holds a gun and puts a strap of bullets around his neck, saying, “I will take revenge.”
According to media reports, clashes are ongoing in the area.
Seeing mass funerals, one feels a mass drowning, because this is not the Sindh of Shah Latif, a Sindh of Sachal Sarmast.
Today, North Sindh has become North Waziristan. Everyone is silent or everyone is involved in making Sindh North Waziristan.
This mass funeral is a message of mass drowning. Let’s drown together. Because the government and the rulers cannot sink, they need a drop of water and a drop of pride to sink.
The writer is senior journalist, can be reached at @ajizjamali