Tribal chiefs, certain lawmakers unwilling to see peace in upper Sindh, says police report

KARACHI: The recent killing of nine people in a bloody tribal feud in Kashmore district has once again highlighted one of the major security challenges being faced by law enforcement agencies in upper Sindh as well as the role of tribal chiefs and influential people in it. Kashmore SSP Amjad Ahmed Sheikh had told the media recently that 15 “criminals’ had been killed in his district and peace was restored but certain influential persons did not like the achievement. He did not name any person, however.

A ‘secret’ police report prepared by senior police officer SSP Kamran Nawaz, who had recently served in Shikarpur, had identified several personalities including certain lawmakers who were allegedly supporting embattled tribes. PPP, GDA men named in police report The report revealed that a Teghani-Bijarani bloody feud in Kandhkot-Kashmore and Shikarpur districts started in 2012 over stealing of buffaloes.

“Teghanis enjoy support of MPA Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, whereas Bijaranis are supported by MPA Mir Shabbir Khan Bijarani,” claimed the police report seen by Dawn. Both Mr Shaikh and Mr Bijarani are provincial ministers in the Pakistan Peoples Party government.

‘Bloody feuds can be settled if influential persons stop supporting rival sides’

It has been pointed out that a Qambrani-Marfani feud in Shikarpur started in 2006 after a murder that took place over a land dispute. “Qambranis enjoy support of Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, Speaker Sindh Assembly, whereas Marfanis are supported by MNA Mir Abid Khan Bhayo and his brother Babul Khan Bhayo, who is also the tribal chief of Marfanis.”

Mr Durrani and Mr Bhayo also belong to the PPP. The report said that Odho-Kharos bloody feud in Shikarpur district erupted in 2010 over a land dispute. “Odhos enjoy support of Agha Siraj Khan Durani, Speaker Sindh Assembly, whereas Kharos [sub-tribe of Jatois] are supported by ex-MNA Dr Muhammad Ibrahim Jatoi and his brother ex-MPA Mir Abid Jatoi.”

The Odho-Jakhrani bloody feud in Jacobabad started in 2018 over a scuffle between two groups of children during a cricket match in a village. The police report alleged that Odhos enjoyed support of Sardar Muhammad Panah Odho, the former district council Jacobabad chairman, whereas Jakhranis are supported by MNA Mir Aijaz Khan Jakhrani, who is also the chief of Jakhrani tribe. Both Odhos and Jahkhranis are associated with the PPP.

The Shar-Seelra feud in Ghotki district erupted in 2007 over possession of katcha land. The police alleged that Shars enjoy support of MNA Khalid Khan Loond, whereas Seelras are supported by ex-MNA Ali Gohar Khan Mahar. Mr Loond belonged to the PPP whereas Mr Mahar is associated with the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).

The Pitafi-Gadani feud in district Ghotki started over the sale of a piece of land. “Pitafis enjoy support of MPA Abdul Bari Pitafi, whereas Gadanis are supported by ex-MNA Ali Gohar Khan Mahar.” Mr Pitafi is a provincial minister in the PPP government.

The Kanasra-Pitafi feud in Khairpur district started in the year 2014 when the cattle of a young boy belonging to the Pitafi community entered the fields of Kanasra community. “Kanasras enjoy support of MPA Rashid Shah Rashdi, whereas Pitafis are supported by MPA Abdul Bari Pitafi.” Mr Rashdi belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional which is currently part of the GDA.

The Narejo-Bhutto feud in Khairpur district took place after the killing of two policemen and a suspected dacoit belonging to the Narejo tribe in an encounter. The killed suspect’s relatives took ‘revenge’ and gunned down relatives of a policeman belonging to the Bhutto community. The SSP stated in the report that “Narejos enjoy support of MPA Syed Javed Shah Jilani, whereas Bhuttos are supported by MNA Nafisa Shah”.

Both Mr Jilani and Ms Shah belong to the PPP. Recommendations The senior police officer recommended in his report that the bloody tribal feuds could be settled if the influential personalities “play their role for the resolution of the tribal feuds or withdraw their support”.

The report was also critical of the police for registering blanket FIRs against hundreds of people regardless of their involvement. The registration of criminal cases forced these people to become absconders, who later got involved in criminal activities. The report pointed out that in the Qambrani-Marfani feud a total of 23 FIRs had been registered against 429 people.

It said 320 of them have become absconders. It has recommended that police must file charge sheet only against ‘genuine accused’ in courts and “names of falsely implicated people are kept on column No.2 so that there is a minimum number of absconders in each case”. Call for legal assistance, uplift projects

Regarding the role of jirgas, the police report pointed out that many tribal feuds had been settled but resurfaced because of the reason that the fines imposed by the jirgas to settle the disputes could not be paid. The report stated that two major issues — Shar-Seelra and Teghani-Bijarani disputes — had been settled by jirgas in the year 2017 and 2019, respectively, but they resurfaced “just because of the reason that money transactions decided by the jirgas could not be executed in time”. The report recommended provision of legal assistance to a large number of people wrongfully implicated in the cases at the behest of respective influential personalities.

It also called for initiating uplift projects, including economic activities, in the conflict-hit areas with increased accessibility to hard-to-reach regions and regularisation of the katcha area lands.

The SSP stated in his report that these measures were necessary “to free people from the clutches of the tribal system”.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2021

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