Coastal community activists have expressed concern over what they deemed as the ‘irresponsive attitude’ of the provincial authorities. They are reluctant to pursue the case and find the murderers of the two slain leaders of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Abdul Ghani and Haji Abu Bakar, the organisation alleged. They were found dead on Thursday.
The deceased were former councillors and active members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Keamari Town.
Dispelling the notion that the deceased were victims of a feud between two rival groups, the PFF said they were leading the campaign against land grabbers to protect the mangroves, which resulted in their murder. “Despite the government’s tall claims, the killers have not been arrested. Now, people campaigning for the protection of mangroves are scared. We are not satisfied with the government’s assurances because we believe the police supported the murderers and allowed them to escape after the incident occurred,” said PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah. He was presiding over an emergency meeting of the governing body, held at the PFF secretariat in Ibrahim Hyderi, Bin Qasim Town.
The fishermen welfare body announced it will observe Sunday as a black day in all the district headquarters of Sindh. Coastal communities will take the streets to condemn the killings of their leaders, who, they allege, were murdered by supporters of the land mafia.
The meeting also decided to observe a protest week from May 10 to May 17, in which all the district action groups will take part.
On May 17, hundreds of people will travel to Karachi to demand the immediate arrest of the killers.
The two slain leaders were also eulogised at the meeting and PFF activists asserted that they will continue their struggle for the preservation of mangroves despite the “threats they face from land grabbers and outlaws”.
PFF leaders said the attackers also destroyed the organisation’s office with a hand grenade to create fear among the activists.
Meanwhile, fisher folk communities assured the PFF leadership that they are ready to offer any assistance for the cause.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011.