Clamour for action as opposition parties slam ‘bandit rule’ in Sindh

Published March 20, 2024
Teacher Allah Rakhiyo Nandwani. — X/Iqbalanzar
Teacher Allah Rakhiyo Nandwani. — X/Iqbalanzar

• Schoolteacher’s merciless killing by Katcha dacoits triggers strong reaction
• GDA demands army action in riverine areas

KARACHI: Amid loud calls for an immediate launch of an army operation against dacoits in the riverine areas of Sindh, opposition parties on Tuesday lambasted the provincial government for its continued failure to control the law and order situation across the province and rising cases of kidnapping for ransom in Katcha areas.

The recent spree of killings of kidnapping victims and the broad daylight murder of a primary schoolteacher triggered a strong criticism and condemnation of the provincial government by the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami, Grand Democratic Alliance, Awami Tehreek and Sindh United Party who demanded immediate actions against dacoits in the riverine areas.

On Monday, dacoits shot dead two hostages and threw their bodies into Indus River near Ubauro town in Ghotki after their families failed to pay them ransom before the deadline.

On the same day, dacoits gunned down a primary schoolteacher when he was on way to his school in a village of Kandhkot-Kashmore which was considered a ‘no-go’ area. The dacoits managed to escape with the teacher’s motorcycle into the nearby riverine area.

Almost every opposition party demanded a strict action against lawlessness, but the GDA went one step ahead and demanded that a military operation was launched in the riverine areas.

The approval of an operation in riverine area has been given multiple times by the Sindh Apex Committee, a forum of civil and military officials.

First, the then Murad Ali Shah-led cabinet in March 2023 approved an operation clean-up and then the caretaker cabinet took up the matter in its meeting on Sept 14, 2023 and decided to launch a massive operation in the riverine area and shutdown of internet services.

On Sept 22, last year the 28th meeting of the Apex Committee approved yet another time a comprehensive joint operation with army and Rangers against dacoits in the riverine areas.

However, the operation against dacoits in Katcha remained merely in pipeline for one reason or the other.

One of the reasons for delay in the operation was stated to be the lack of sophisticated military-grade weapons such as sniper rifles, grenade launchers, mortars, night vision devices, and drones required for the operation. A no-objection certificate (NOC) for the purchase of such weapons has been pending approval with the interior ministry. Later, the authorities of the two provinces put off the operation till the water level in Indus River dropped.

The three interim provincial governments had time and again discussed the launch of a joint operation in the three provinces simultaneously for several weeks, but they did not appear to have completed their preparation and removed the bottlenecks to launch the action in riverine areas of Sindh and Punjab.

PTI expresses grave concerns

Expressing grave concerns over the alarming upsurge in the criminal activities of dacoits in riverine areas, the PTI said that the dacoits had intensified their gruesome acts and heinous crimes since the new provincial government ‘seized’ the powers through ‘rigging’ in elections.

In a statement released in Islamabad, a PTI spokesperson said that social media activists, media representatives and ordinary people were constantly warning and highlighting gruesome and heinous crimes of Kacha’s bandits, while the national media was observing silence and was unable to report the alarming situation under the shadow of strict restrictions.

He urged that the governments at the Centre, Punjab and Sindh must stop ‘patronage’ of dacoits of Kacha to ensure safety and security of lives and property of people of the country.

JI’s slams waderas

Jamaat-i-Islami leader Sirajul Haq said that there was unrest in the whole country and bandit rule was imposed in Sindh. “No one’s life, property and honour are safe, people from all over the country are kidnapped and imprisoned here,” he said.

According to a party statement, the JI chief was talking to media at the funeral prayers of JI Sindh deputy general secretary Abdul Hafeez Bijarani, who was killed in a traffic accident near Karampur.

Mr Haq said that feudal lords, tribal chief and police were involved in the cases of kidnapping for ransom.

“The waderas are playing a role of middlemen and getting their share from the robbers and victims’ families.”

GDA seeks military operation

GDA secretary general Sardar Abdul Rahim in a statement said that Ghotki, Shikarpur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Khairpur and other districts were ruled by dacoits.

He demanded the recovery of the kidnapped victims and launch of a military operation against dacoits in Katcha, saying that life could return to normalcy only after the bandits were eliminated.

The GDA leader said that the provincial police had completely been politicised and they had been rendered inactive by putting them on protocol duties.

He said that the ruthless bandits were shooting hostages to death openly and making their videos viral on social media.

Sardar Rahim said that an effective military operation should be conducted in the affected areas until the bandits and their patrons were completely eliminated.

SUP condemns schoolteacher killings

Sindh Untied Party President Syed Zain Shah strongly condemned the killing of primary school teacher Allah Rakhiyo Nandwani in Kandhkot and said that the PPP government had handed over the province to dacoits.

“The PPP leadership is looting Sindh while their representatives are robbing the people by sponsoring robbers,” he added.

In a statement, he said that the law and order situation in the province had become alarming, despite spending billions of rupees.

AT slams safe haven for dacoits

Awami Tehreek president Lal Jarwar said that the province had turned into a safe haven for dacoits who had established a reign of terror over the people.

In a statement issued in Hyderabad, he said that as soon as the government of the PPP came to power, the dacoits were granted a licence to run their illegal and immoral business of robbery.

He said districts Sukkur, Kashmore, Kundhkot, Jacobabad, Ghotki and Shikarpur had fallen under the shadow of dacoit rule, with civilians facing routine kidnappings and extortion.

The AT leader said that the feudal lords who facilitated the dacoits must be brought to the court of law.

The Awami Tehreek also demanded from the Supreme Court and Sindh High Court to intervene and restore the rule of law in the province.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2024

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