HYDERABAD: Railway tracks were blown up, two trailers set on fire, two persons were killed and at least six others wounded when gunmen threw crackers and fired at buses, roadside restaurants and a police check-post during the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz’s province-wide strike on Monday.
The banned JSMM had given a call for strike to protest the killing of its activists, Amir Khuhawar and Sajjad Markhand, whose bodies bearing torture marks were found lying on a link road near Dadu a day before.
A party spokesman claimed the activists had been picked up by personnel of law enforcement agencies in Larkana on April 24.
Three people, including a minor girl, were injured in incidents of firing and cracker-throwing in Hyderabad, where a partial strike was observed in response to the JSMM’s call.
A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Jamshoro and Kotri towns where armed men fired in the air in different localities early in the morning to cause widespread fear and keep people indoors.
One Abdul Wahab, a cook, suffered minor injuries when attackers lobbed a cracker at a roadside restaurant in the morning in Citizen Colony, and driver of a coach and a minor girl were injured when three armed men in a car fired at the coach at bypass near Al-Falah petrol pump, said DSP Ghulam Rasool Panhwar.
The injured identified as Rabail Tayyab and driver Akash Ahmed Kalhoro were taken to Liaquat University Hospital (LUH).
One Imtiaz Ali, 35, who suffered serious gunshot wounds on Sunday night when armed men fired at an ice cream shop, died in the LUH on Monday, said police. The shop owner Rehmanullah Khan, 40, had died in the attack.
Head constable Khair Mohammad and a pedestrian Ali Hassan Zaunr were injured when three armed men riding a motorcycle attacked a check-post near Channel Mori in the evening, said SHO of Tando Yousuf police station Mohammad Tahir Khanzada. The injured were taken to LUH.
In Sanghar, a railway track was blown up at about 8.20am on Monday near Shah Mohammad Zardari village, three kilometres from Lundo town in Shahdadpur taluka.
Police registered a case against JSMM chief Shafi Burfat and two villagers and suspected an improvised explosive device had been sued to blow away the track.
Due to the blast, Karachi-bound Tezgaam was stopped at Sarhari railway station and the Punjab-bound Shalimar Express was halted at Tando Adam till the track was repaired and rail traffic restored after three hours.
In Khairpur, a rail track was blown up about a kilometre from Setharja railway station in the morning as a partial strike was observed in the town in response to JSMM’s call for protest.
Luckily, no one was reported hurt in the blast, according to police.
Driver of a trailer suffered injuries when he resisted attempt by three men on two motorcycles to set ablaze the vehicle near Rasoolabad. The vehicle was partially burnt before area people and police rushed to put out the fire.
The strike call received mixed response in Nawabshah district where armed men torched a trailer at Four-Miles stop on the National Highway near Sakrand, and four motorcycle-riding gunmen killed owner of a roadside restaurant owner in Qazi Ahmed town near here.
The deceased was identified as Asmat Gul, 21, a resident of Quetta. Police have lodged an FIR against unknown persons.
A complete strike was observed in Dadu and almost all adjoining towns as miscreants lobbed crackers at several places in Dadu town, which caused panic and forced people to remain indoors.
Activists of JSMM, JSQM and JSM activists took out a procession in Bhan Syedabad town while in Mirpur Mathelo of Ghotki district, a number of JSMM activists were picked up by Rangers personnel when they tried to force a canteen owner in Rangers’ Colony to shut the outlet during the party’s strike.
A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Badin, Shaheed Fazal Rahu, Tando Bago, Kario Ghanwar and Talhar towns while JSMM and JSQM activists took out a procession in Umerkot to protest killing of activists.
SLA claims responsibility of blasts on rail tracks
A shadowy outfit, the Sindhudesh Liberation Army (SLA), has claimed responsibility for blowing away railway tracks in Nawabshah, Shahdadpur, Setharja and Gambat, cracker explosions in Hyderabad and murder of an ‘inspector of ISI’ in Kotri over the past two days.
An email sent to Dawn on Monday by one Darya Khan, who described himself as chief commander of the SLA, said that ‘all activities that followed JSMM workers’ killings have been carried out by the SLA’.
He said the Sajjad Markhand and Amir Khuhawar were national martyrs and warned of ‘similar reaction if state institutions returned bodies of nationalist workers again’. Sindhis should avoid harassing SLA workers at the instigation of state institutions, he warned.