Zardaris withdraw from disputed land in Benazirabad to end row with Bhands

Published February 15, 2022
Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses the sit-in. — Photo via Twitter
Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses the sit-in. — Photo via Twitter

HYDERABAD: Negotiations between protesting heirs of five Bhand community members — backed by Sindh United Party (SUP) — and Zardari clansmen accused of the murders made some progress on Monday when the latter agreed to hand over 154 acres of the disputed 390-acre piece of land in the riverine area of Qazi Ahmed taluka of Shaheed Benazirabad district to the former.

Former provincial law minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, MPA Ghulam Qadir Chandio, Syed Zain Shah of the SUP, Deputy Commissioner Amir Panhwar and SSP Amir Saud Magsi are mediating between the two sides. Khamiso Bhand is leading his side in the talks.

Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh and Special Assistant to the PM on Sindh affairs Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim had arrived at the sit-in venue last night whereas Sindh Taraqqi-passand Party (STP) chairman Dr Qadir Magsi and Qaumi Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo visited the protesters, expressed solidarity with the Bhands and strongly criticised Pakistan Peoples Party leadership for allegedly supporting the Zardari clansmen in the matter.

Burial of the five bodies was not carried out till late Monday evening and the Qazi Ahmed section (N-5) of the National Highway remained blocked for a third day due to the sit-in. The vehicular traffic was diverted to the Indus Highway.

Sit-in for arrest of PPP MPA, others over six murders continues on third day

After getting the Bhand community’s major demand accepted by the Zardaris, further talks were under way in the evening on the demand of FIR against MPA Haji Ali Hassan Zardari, Mohsin Zardari and Abid Zardari as well as arrest of all those responsible for the Saturday (Feb 12) killings.

Immediately after agreement on the disputed piece of land, armed members of the Zardari clan withdrew from the field while the protest sit-in, continuing since Saturday evening, had not ended.

Khamiso Khan Bhand confirmed the withdrawal. According to SUP leader Roshan Buriro, the Zardaris agreed to hand over papers of 154 acres out of the 390 acres to the Bhands.

Sources privy to the negotiations suggested that the Bhands were ready to drop the name of MPA Ali Hassan Zardari from their proposed FIR but they kept insisting on arrest of Mohsin Zardari and Abid Zardari, along with some other suspects, as a condition to call off the protest. “MPA Ali Hassan Zardari was not present on the spot due to his brother’s death,” the Bhands were quoted as saying.

“The Zardaris have forged the land’s documents. The 390-acre piece belongs to us,” said Khamiso Bhand.

In the meantime, police released two villagers, Mahmood Mahar and Ghulam Hyder, who were among the 16 suspects picked up soon after the incident, in which five Bhands and a police inspector, Hameed Khoso, were gunned down.

A police officer from Shaheed Benazirabad district described the disputed land as “very precious having a market value of around Rs1.2m per acre.

Also on Monday, protest demonstrations were held in many cities and towns of Sindh in response to a call given by the Sindh Action Committee of the SUP against the Feb 12 killings.

Activists of various political and nationalist outfits took part in the protests held in Shaheed Benazirabad, Hyderabad, Dadu, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and several other districts.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2022

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