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MITHI: A multi-party conference (MPC) held here on Thursday accused leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party of being involved in harbouring criminals and forcing police officers to obey their illegal orders.

The MPC voiced serious concern over recent killing of two trader brothers during a robbery attempt and overall rise in crimes, which had created a sense of insecurity among Tharis.

The conference organised by the Mithi chapter of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) decided to issue call for shutdown strike and launch protest movement if the killers and their facilitators were not arrested within a week, the time sought by Thar SSP from Sindh High Court.

Noted activist Dr Sono Khanghrani lashed out at dilly-dallying tactics both by police officials and elected members in the probe into the double murder case.

Dr Sono believed people from other areas who had settled in Thar over the past few years were behind the rise in crimes in the region. Land-grabbing mafia had also reared its head after the launch of mega projects in Thar and the menace needed to be nipped in the bud, he cautioned.

Haji Qamaruddin Rahimoon, chairman of Chhachhro town committee, accused PPP lawmakers, including Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani and others, of deceiving protesters, who had staged historic sit-ins soon after the double murder.

“It was an attempt by PPP leaders to weaken the case,” he alleged and warned that if the real killers were not arrested Tharis would stage even bigger demonstrations throughout the district.

Nizaumuddin Rahimoon, PTI Thar district leader, said that education, health and other government institutions had almost ceased to exist in the area and people were committing suicide out of sheer frustration over the prevailing state of affairs and abject poverty.

“It is a matter of great shame for the government that on the one hand newborn babies are dying from complications caused by malnutrition while on the other hospitals face acute shortage of life-saving drugs,” he said.

Faqir Arshad Kumbhar, PTI activist and chief organiser of the MPC, alleged that police were reluctant to lay hands on the real killers and their facilitators despite being in the know of all facts.

Arbab Ahsan of Arbab group said that instead of protecting lives and property of Tharis PPP leaders were busy looting the remaining resources of the region. Many PPP leaders were also involved in harbouring criminals and forcing police officials to obey their illegal orders, he said.

He said that Thar was rife with romours that facilitators of the double murder were being protected by local leaders of the ruling party.

Advocate Raisingh Sodho of Thar Bar Association said that it was need of the hour to make joint strategies to steer Thar out of the present volatile situation, which was threatening the area’s exemplary communal harmony.

Advocate Shahnawaz Hingorjo, district president of Quami Awami Tehreek, said that police had miserably failed to arrest the killers because they were relying on local influential persons to get to the real culprits instead of impartially investigating the gruesome incident.

Police should not accept any political pressure and show courage in arresting the culprits, he said.

Mushtaq Qasmani, local leader of Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party, alleged that both PPP leaders and police were least interested in arresting the killers and end widespread unrest in the area.

Subhan Samejo of Jamaat-i-Islami saw a deep conspiracy aimed at tearing apart Thar’s peace. It was sheer inefficiency of police not to arrest the killers and restore peace, which had come under threat from miscreants, he said.

Umar Nohrio of Sindh United Party demanded that all the criminals and their facilitators involved in the double murder and other crimes should be immediately brought to justice.

No PPP leader turned up at the conference and the chair reserved for the ruling party remained unoccupied throughout the programme.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018