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HYDERABAD, Mar 6: The Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz called on Sunday for a strike in Sindh on March 10 to protest against what it called the death of its vice-chairman Samiullah Kalhoro as a result of atrocities in police custody.

The call was given at a protest rally held by the JSMM outside the press club. Activists of the party carried the body of Kalhoro, wrapped in the Jeay Sindh movement's flag. Raising slogans against Hyderabad SP (investigation) Pir Fareed Jan Sarhandi, intelligences officials and the Punjab, they said that they were true followers of late G. M. Syed and believed in independence of Sindh.

The rally was addressed by Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chairman Bashir Qureshi, Abdul Wahid Areesar, the grandson of late Syed and chief of his faction of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Zain Shah, Dilshad Bhutto of the Sindh National Party, JSMM's Nawaz Khan Zaunr, Dr Dodo Maheri of the Sindh National Council and Qamar Bhatti of the Jeay Sindh Qaumparast Party. They accused the Punjab and government of persecuting people who struggled for the rights of Sindh.

The recording of a message of JSMM chief Shafi Burfat, who is in hiding, was played at the rally.

Mr Qureshi and Mr Areesar said that followers of Syed would continue their struggle while adhering to his ideology of non-violence and human progress. They said that the national identity of the people of Sindh was being distorted. They accused Punjab of usurping the resources of Sindh and trying to monopolize the River Indus.

They alleged that Kalhoro was subjected to torture by agencies and police.

Shafi Burfat alleged in his message that Kalhoro died after his kidney failed as a result of torture. He said that the JSMM was being punished for pursuing the ideology of G. M. Syed. He criticized acting PPO Sindh for branding Fayyaz Janwari, Asghar Shah, Mazhar Bhatti, Imran Leghari and Rafiq Leghari as agents of RAW and accusing them of working for some foreign countries and indulging in anti-state activities. He rejected these allegations as rubbish.

He also said that "JSMM leaders Sikandar Soomro and Munawar Mari are missing and I fear that they might have met the fate of Kalhoro." He said that an FIR would be lodged against state functionaries for causing the death of Kalhoro. He called for a united struggle by Sindh's nationalist parties.

After the rally, Kalhoro's body was buried in Jamshoro near the graves of workers of the Jeay Sindh Students Federation who were killed in Thori Phathak incident on Oct 17, 1984.

Kalhoro, an employee of the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, was arrested in November last year along with Fayyaz Janwari in connection with investigations into cases of bomb explosions on railway tracks and Wapda's transmission lines. He died in a Karachi hospital on Friday.

Our Dadu Correspondent adds: A strike was observed in Mehar, Faredabad, Thrari Mohabbat and Kolachi towns on Sunday to protest the death ofKalhoro of alleged police torture. Traffic in the towns remained thin and the main bazaars remained closed.

A large number of residents and activists of the JSMM and the JSQM took out a procession in Mehar and marched through different roads and streets. They also staged a sit-in at the Ghanta Ghar Chowk and blocked the Mehar-Dadu road for three hours.

The protesters demanded that a murder case should be registered against the SP, investigation, Hyderabad, Pir Fareed Jan Sarhandi, and other law-enforcement agency personnel.