QUETTA: Hundreds of Marri tribesmen, who had been protesting for the last five days in the city’s Red Zone along with three bodies found in the Barkhan area, called off the sit-in on Friday evening after the wife of Khan Muhammad Marri reunited with him along with their children at the sit-in camp and authorities accepted their demands.
Moving scenes were witnessed at the camp when Ms Granaz and her children, who are believed to have spent years in a private jail, reunited with Mr Marri after four years.
Two of the dead were sons of Khan Marri while the third one, a woman, is yet to be identified.
The participants of the sit-in took the three bodies with them and announced they would be laid to rest. However, they did not disclose the place where the three would be buried.
Bodies taken away by Marri tribesmen for last rites; minister defends arrest of female suspect in separate case
Jahangir Marri, general secretary of the Marri Ittehad Pakistan, while announcing the end to the protest, said the government had accepted their demands.
He said the government had also assured them that an FIR would be registered after recording of the statements of the victim family members who were detained somewhere and recovered by the security forces the other day.
Earlier, Ms Granaz, wife of Khan Marri, and their five children — a 17-year-old daughter and four sons — reached Quetta on Friday morning in a procession amid tight security.
The woman and her children burst into tears while meeting Khan Marri after over four years. Khan Marri remained in hiding all these years somewhere out of Balochistan and returned to Quetta the other day amid tight security.
Granaz, who was constantly crying after seeing the coffins in the ambulance, wanted to have a glimpse of her sons, but was not allowed to do so.
Later, the police took Ms Granaz and her children into protective custody.
“They would be produced before a magistrate for recording their statements about their captivity,” a police officer said, adding that after recording their statements they would be handed over to the family.
Khan Marri, who was happy after reuniting with his family, said: “My wife and children have been recovered, so there is no need to continue the sit-in. I am thankful to the Marri tribesmen and people of other communities who supported me and participated in the protest which helped in the recovery of my family and acceptance of our demands.”
Senator Agha Omer Ahmedzai, the younger brother of Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Dawood, who is in self-exile, visited the sit-in camp along with some other tribal elders and after meeting the leaders of Marri tribesmen announced ending the protest.
Some youngsters opposed the decision of calling off the sit-in, but leaders of the Marri Ittehad refused to continue the sit-in, saying their demands regarding the recovery of Khan Marri’s family and arrest of Sardar Khetran had been fulfilled.
Minister’s media talk
Meanwhile, Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove told a press conference that the entire provincial machinery, including the police, Levies Force and intelligence agencies, had played an important role in the recovery of Khan Marri’s family.
The JIT and special police team were investigating the Barkhan killings, he added.
“It was a joint effort of all forces and intelligence agencies, which proved successful as the wife and five children of Khan Marri were traced out and brought to Quetta after their recovery.”
He expressed displeasure over using of the tragic incident for political point-scoring and said these people, instead of extending help and cooperation, had started playing politics and blame game.
“The JIT has started its investigation and will submit its report within 30 days,” he said, adding that whoever was found responsible for this tragedy would face strict legal action.
The home minister said some people wanted to do politics over the issue as they were demanding that bodies should not be buried till the acceptance of their demands about a detained female suspect, Mahal Baloch.
He said an investigation in that case was underway.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2023