LARKANA: Businessmen, traders and activists of various political and nationalist parties on Saturday started a campaign in Larkana against increasing incidents of violent robberies and mugging in the city after two days of street protest following murder of the manager of a famous food outlet.

The victim, Abdul Mannan Shaikh, was shot dead in an area falling within the jurisdiction of the Ali Gohar Abad police station on Thursday. The incident triggered a wave of resentment among the local businessmen community and traders’ organisations, as well as political and nationalist parties.

In an instant reaction, leaders of the local businessmen community had held a sit-in at SSP Chowk soon after the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the killers and an effective check on street crimes.

The newly-elected office-bearers of the Larkana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) went into an emergency session under the chairmanship of its president, Ahmed Ali Shaikh, and decided to launch an anti-crime campaign from Saturday (today) by wearing black armbands. Banners inscribed with slogans deteriorating law and order in the city were hanged at different public places. Demonstrations over Mannan Shaikh’s were also held in the city by businessmen, traders and people from different walks of life.

The LCCI meeting demanded safety and security of businessmen and traders as well as members of the general public.

Meanwhile, police remained clueless about the killers after passage of two days. They said they seemed to be muggers apparently intending to snatch the victim’s mobile phone and upon resistance, they might have shot him and fled. Mr Shaikh was taken to the Chandka Medical College Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Former Larkana mayor Aslam Shaikh has also condemned the poor law and order in the city and called for concrete measures by police to effectively check such incidents and take action against criminals. He said police appeared unaware about a motive for the attack on Mannan Shaikh. LCCI leaders were pondering over convening a meeting of the Small Traders’ Federation to discuss the issue and chalk out a strategy to deal with the situation.

Activists of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) led by Azizur Rehman Shaikh, Athar Soomro, Ashraf Kalhoro (Jeay Sindh Students Federation president), Jamil Gaad and others also held a demonstration outside the local press club.

Carrying placards and party flags, the participants raised slogans to condemn the fragile law and order in the city with robberies and murders having become the order of the day. They told reporters that several people had been killed in violent incidents within the last month in different areas of the city.

They criticised police for their inaction and also the indifferent attitude of elected representatives of the district. They also criticised Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for his inattention to the city’s law and order. They called for an early arrest of the Mannan Shaikh’s killers.

The grief-stricken mother of the deceased was quoted as saying that her son had never spoken of any threat to him from anyone but she had been hearing such whispers from others as he had contracted a love marriage.

In choked voice, she said Mannan’s wife had left him about two months back and, therefore, he unfortunately could not even see his recently born son.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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