THE ghastly murder of Nazim Jokhio in Karachi’s Malir district reflects the macabre reality that thousands of families must live with under the shadow of feudal influence. Those who muster the courage to question the authority of these powerful feudal lords are threatened, physically abused and kidnapped. And if they still resist, their voices are silenced forever. Nazim Jokhio met the same fate on Nov 3. His tortured body was found at the farmhouse of PPP MPA Jam Awais in Malir. Jokhio, a father of four, was said to have been tortured to death for reportedly trying to stop the lawmaker’s foreign guests from hunting the houbara bustard in his village in Dhabeji, Thatta district. Twenty-seven-year-old Jokhio is also said to have filmed the illegal hunting and had made another video detailing the death threats he had received from ‘influential people’ . The police have so far booked a total of 21 suspects, including the owner of the farmhouse, MPA Jam Awais, and another PPP MNA Jam Abdul Karim for their suspected involvement in the murder. Only six suspects were arrested, including Jam Awais who had surrendered to the law enforcers a couple of days after the murder. However, it remains to be seen if the law is strictly applied so that there is no recourse to feudal or political influence that could allow those responsible to slip through the cracks of the justice system.
Despite the lip service paid to democratic principles and the passage of laws to ensure law and order, the strong link between feudalism and politics is no secret. Ironically, it is perhaps fortunate that the murder took place within the jurisdiction of Karachi and not somewhere deep inside the province where feudal lords can rule with an iron grip. This case is a test for the PPP-led provincial government to put its money where its mouth is and take every measure possible to try those responsible for Jokhio’s death and mete out exemplary punishment to the guilty.
Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2021