The Khairpur police arrested ten suspects during overnight raids conducted in different villages following the attack on a PPP rally which left six persons including a journalist dead.
The key suspect is, however, still said to be at large.
Four to five unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire on a public rally of the ruling party in Sadoro Janwri Village near Khairpur late on Sunday night. As a result, journalist Mushtaq Khand, Zafar Ali, Raza Mehdi, Salahuddin, Dilshad and Munawar lost their lives while ten others were wounded, some critically.
Taluka Municipal Administrator (TMA) Niaz Janwri had arranged the gathering in support of the new local government system in Sindh.
DIG Sukkur Dr Ameer Ahmed Shaikh had earlier cited a family feud as the reason behind the attack. But PPP lawmaker Syeda Nafeesa Shah, who was scheduled to address the rally, refuted his claim on Monday, saying political rivalry was at play. “The attack is aimed to keep [party] workers away from PPP leaders,” she said.
The police have decided not to reveal the names of the ten suspects they have rounded up. Some insiders allege Azizullah Janwri, a close relative of Niaz Janwri, to be the mastermind behind the shooting. Azizullah, however, has not yet been arrested.
They said Niaz failed to provide adequate security despite having received open death threats from Azizullah, who is also his political opponent.
Journalists stage protests
Thousands of people including a large number of journalists attended the funeral of slain reporter Mushtaq Khand, who was buried in his native village of Ameer Bux Khand on Monday. While different political leaders from other parties could be seen, not a single PPP leader attended his funeral prayers.
Some said Nafeesa Shah had personally invited him to cover the rally, but failed to show up for his last rites.
In Sukkur, scores of journalists gathered outside the press club and chanted slogans against the government for failing to protect the lives and property of its people.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has announced Rs500,000 each for the families of those who lost their members, and Rs200,000 for the injured.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2012.