HYDERABAD: Sindh remains disturbed

Published Dec 30, 2007 12:00am

HYDERABAD, Dec 29: “Mob rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride”, said Plato. Nothing can best explain the prevailing chaotic conditions ruling the country. All 22 districts of Sindh right from Thatta to Jacobabad are in the grip of mob rule since Thursday evening. Police has been locked in their kiosks leaving poor citizens at the mercy of street urchins.

The situation can better be gauged from the fact that scores of government offices, including Madadgar Police Post in Jacobabad, which is supposed to help people, have been torched. Reign of terror has been unleashed across the Sindh.

In just one day, 10 people, two each in Jacobabad and Thatta, a 12-year-old boy in Mirpurkhas and one each in Badin, Khairpur, Khairpur, Matiari and Tando Allahyar districts lost lives at the hands of unruly mob, on Friday. Two vehicles carrying newspapers - Juraat, Jang and The News - were torched on the Super Highway.

Miscreants taking refuge behind the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, it appear, are settling their scores to discredit the party. All engaged in acts of loot, arson and vandalism, surely, are not PPP activists.

Those who besieged a multinational pharmaceutical company - Novartis on Thursday night, held more than 500 workers as hostages and at dawn on Friday, destroyed machinery, medicines and about two dozen vehicles inflicting loss of tens of millions of rupees to foreign investors, were certainly not PPP activists.

They had clearly warned the managerial staff that the company was being punished for not providing jobs to local people. The PPP has certainly no grudge with the Sindh University either. Disgruntled youths who destroyed the book bank, digital library containing 100 computers, seminar library of the English Department of Sindh University and damaged 40 Hino buses had nothing to do with the PPP. They had their own axe to grind.

Reports from different districts of Sindh said dozens of scheduled banks have been torched and over 400 shops ransacked and looted in Naushahro Feroze, Dadu and other places. It is unfortunate that these shops mostly belonged to the people who speak other than Sindhi language.

The torching of Zarai Taraqiati Banks in different districts indicates that the miscreants wanted to destroy the record of their mortgaged lands. In fact, all scheduled banks, post offices and government buildings for the last two days have remained the main targets of the protesters.

All telephone exchanges in different districts have been torched and the entire communication system completely collapsed. Even cell phones of some companies are not working. The reporters are on the horns of a dilemma to transmit their reports.

The acts of loot, arson and vandalism are clear acts of sabotage. Many a railway stations have been set ablaze and tracks destroyed as a result of which the up and down trains have been halted at different stations.

The road traffic between up and down country has also come to a grinding halt as scores of buses, trucks, and trailers have been set ablaze on National Highway. Scores of petrol pumps have also been put to torch and even motorcyclists cannot get petrol for their bikes. Travelling within and on the outskirts of the city has also become extremely difficult.

According to reports, the people including women who had come to Hyderabad for shopping from Kotri and other adjoining areas on Thursday evening, had to take refuge at the MQM’s zonal office where they had to stay for the night as all public transport had gone off the roads.

Similarly, at least 300 passengers, travelling by train for upcountry stations, were also accommodated and provided food and shelter by the MQM in different schools and mosques.

The help of Army has been sought too late when the government and private properties to the tune of hundreds of millions of rupees have already been destroyed in interior Sindh. It was only on Friday evening the Army began patrolling roads and one can only hope against hope that the situation would be normalised within next 24 hours.

No curfew has been imposed in any town of Sindh as reported on some TV channels.


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