HYDERABAD: Following violent protests overnight near the Sindh University’s boys hostel that had led police and the Rangers to beat up nationalist activists, lob teargas shells and fire into the air to disperse them, a complete strike was observed in Badin city and parts of several other towns of the district on Thursday against what was described as ‘enforced disappearance and killing’ of an activist of the Jeay Sindh Students Federation, the student wing of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), in Larkana.
The body of the activist, Asif Panhwar, was found near Moenjodaro airport late Wednesday evening months after he was allegedly taken away by police and plain clothe personnel in Hyderabad on August 15.
According to sources, Mr Panhwar was picked up in the Nasim Nagar area along with another JSSF activist, Raza Noohani, in a raid on the residence of Amir Hussain Azad Panwhar, the spokesman for the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz-Arisar group.
Mr Panhwar and Mr Noohani belonged to the JSMM’s student wing, the Jeay Sindh Students Federation.
The body of Mr Panhwar was sent to Golarchi town in Badin district where his funeral took place.
As soon as the news of the ‘missing’ activist’s death reached Hyderabad a couple of hours before midnight Wednesday, a number of charged student activists came out of the SU boys hostel and held a sit-in near its gate.
They raised slogans against the government, police and intelligence agencies and, according to police, some of them fired into the air.
Police and Rangers personnel rushed to the spot and baton-charged the protesters. They also fired shots into the air to disperse the activists.
However, the sit-in continued till 4am when law enforcers finally lobbed teargas shells to disperse them and reportedly picked up 40 of the participants.
Although the police denied having picked up any of them, sources said that 40 activists were taken to the Lunikot, Kotri, Nooriabad and Jamshoro police stations and most of them were released on Thursday morning. Those still detained were not identified, the sources said.
Meanwhile, situation on Thursday remained tense throughout the day at the SU campus, where classes could not be held. The point buses were not operated in the city area of Hyderabad to avoid an untoward incident.
An SU spokesman said that point buses did pick up students from the Hyderabad bypass and Kotri railway crossing but they didn’t move into the Kotri and Hyderabad city areas or other places. He admitted that classes remained off but attributed the closure to the upcoming examinations. He said other academic activities on the campus remained by and large peaceful.
A student leader, Shiraz Pirzado, alleged that law enforcers fired into the air and lobbed teargas shells without any provocation.
BADIN: Badin city and Golarchi town came to a standstill while a partial strike was observed in several other towns of the district on Thursday in protest against the alleged custodial death of Asif Panhwar.
Angry activists of various nationalist groups took to the streets of the affected cities and towns to hold protests and observe mourning. They held a sit-in at the Badin section of the National Highway to condemn the killing and demand arrest of those responsible for his death. The sit-in was continuing when last reports came in late in the evening.
All business, trade, educational and commercial activities in Badin and Golarchi were kept suspended throughout the day while vehicular traffic on roads remained thin.
Kashif Panhwar, a brother of the JSSF activist, told the media that the government and senior police officials had continuously been approached ever since Asif Panhwar was taken away by the security agencies personnel.
The court of law had also been moved for his recovery but in vain, he added.
He said his friends had informed him on Tuesday that Asif had been freed and was on way home but only a day later he got the news about recovery of his body in Larkana.
In Golarchi, a complete shutterdown was observed in response to a joint call given by the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tehreek and other nationalist groups.
Several hundred people including political and student activists attended the funeral of Mr Panhwar in the town. He was buried in a local graveyard amid a tense atmosphere.
Mr Panhwar’s close friends and party colleagues said he was the final year student of IT department at the Sindh University, Jamshoro. They claimed that his body bore multiple bullet wounds. They said the body was dumped at a desolate place near Bakrani town of Larkana district.
Protest rallies were also organised by various factions of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek in Matli town, where a noisy demonstration was led by Ali Raza Sodho, Mohammed Ali Khaskheli, Rafiq Memon and Awais Khaskheli.
The leaders announced a shutterdown in Matli town on Friday.
A partial shutterdown strike was observed in Kario Ghanwar, Tarai and Khorwah towns of Shaheed Fazil Rahu taluka to condemn the killing.
Rashid Ali Panhwar and Sheeraz Ali Panhwar, the other brothers of the deceased activist, told journalists in Golarchi that their brother was killed in cold blood.
They accused security agencies of having kidnapped, tortured and killed him.
They claimed that his body bore marks of intense torture including burns.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2014