KARACHI: Recent back-to-back violent incidents in Sindh, including killings of policemen and tribesmen, are likely to become another bone of contention between the federal and the provincial governments, led by the PTI and the PPP, respectively, as the Centre announced on Tuesday its direct role over the issue and assigned the federal interior minister the task of evolving a strategy in this regard.

The announcement came from the federal government’s spokesman who said Prime Minister Imran Khan had “serious concern” over growing violence and rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in Sindh. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had been asked to submit a report to the prime minister at the earliest after completing his task, he said.

The prime minister took the decision after receiving a briefing from some key members of his team.

“The prime minister held detailed talks over Sindh issue with [provincial] governor Imran Ismail and planning minister Asad Umar,” said federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet. “Both the dignitaries shared their concerns with the prime minister about administrative mismanagement and fast deteriorating law and order in the province. The prime minister while taking an immediate notice directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to visit Sindh and set strategy to sort out these issues after holding meetings with the law-enforcement agencies. The interior minister would share his report after the Sindh visit.”

Two policemen, a private guard of an SHO and a private photographer working with police were killed in an anti-bandit operation in the Garhi Tegho area of Shikarpur district while seven policemen, including two SHOs, were injured on Sunday.

The Shikarpur police claimed to have arrested a tribal chief and his two sons from Karachi on Monday for allegedly patronising bandits in the riverine area to put pressure on the criminal gangs in the district.

However, social media platforms turned abuzz with criticism against the Sindh government and the police authorities sharing pictures and video footages of the incident and sound bites of local people and policemen. Several pictures and videos shared on social media showed lack of resources for the policemen taking part in the operation and how they became easy target of armed bandits despite being inside armoured personnel carriers (APC).

Earlier this month, nine people were killed when armed men said to be belonging to Jagirani and Sabzoi tribes opened indiscriminate fire on members of Chachar community in a village in the Kandhkot area.

The incidents have prompted activism in rural Sindh where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders have made several visits after the tragic episodes.

On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh visited the families of the victims of the Kandhkot killing and assured them of every possible support from the federal government.

“Some days ago 10 individuals were brutally killed in the Kandhkot area, adding to the many killings that’ve taken place in Sindh due to increased presence of dacoits and tribal violence. Today I am visiting the affected families for Fateha. Sadly, the Sindh government hasn’t cared enough to even visit,” he tweeted.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2021

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