Scuffle after MQM’s first public rally in Shikarpur

Published: April 3, 2011
Police have to intervene between MQM and NPP supporters.

Police have to intervene between MQM and NPP supporters.


A fight broke out in Shikarpur city between supporters of the National Peoples Party (NPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) a day after the MQM held a massive rally on Friday.

The fight ended only when Mir Abid Hussain Jatoi, the Sindh minister for livestock, intervened and the police arrived.

At the rally, senior MQM leaders such as Mustafa Kamal addressed a crowd estimated to be in the hundreds. “Revolution is now in store for the country,” he said, “because people have been denied their rights, feel neglected and have given up hope.” He said that 89 per cent of MQM supporters are from middle class families and want an end to feudalism from this country. Two other leaders, Ashfaq Mangi and Yousaf Shahwani, also spoke.

“The time is now right for people from the lower and middle classes to fight for their rights under the MQM umbrella,” said Mangi. While Shahwani added that the MQM had helped “millions” of people displaced by the floods.

While the MQM has had a presence in the area for the past two decades, their influence in local politics has been almost negligible. Shikarpur has never elected any member of this party to either the provincial or national assemblies.

The traditional bastions of power in Shikarpur and its surrounding areas have largely been the Soomro and Jatoi families. A few decades ago, it was mainly the Soomros who held power in the area – with their most influential member, Illahi Bukhsh Soomro, formerly serving as speaker of the National Assembly and as federal minister.

Slowly, however, the influence of the Soomro family began to wane. The first person to engineer a shift in power dynamics was Aftab Shaban Mirani – a former chief minister of Sindh and current member of National Assembly from Shikarpur. Another influence behind the shifting dynamics of power has been Agha Siraj Durrani.

Local journalists also say that the arrival of the Pakhtun to rural Sindh has the potential to alter the vote bank. Additionally, the less well-off members of the Soomro clan have been migrating to other cities such as Karachi and Hyderabad for jobs.

Despite these small shifts in the making, it is unlikely, according to some observers, that the political landscape of Sindh will change in the near future. The magnetic pull of the Pakistan Peoples Party and its effect on Sindhi voters is not a phenomenon that will soon undergo a remarkable transformation — particularly with the emotional appeal of the slain Benazir Bhutto. One local journalist pointed out that the floods did engineer some social unrest – as people were extremely unhappy at the inundation of their lands with the influential landlords doing all it took to save their own. Despite this, most analysts are of the view that it will take time for the MQM to establish a foothold in the local politics. Landlords are still extremely influential and can twist voter registration centres to suit their needs. The MQM is still primarily viewed as a party representing the Urdu-speaking people and is ideologically different from what the Sindhi nationalist parties offer.


Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Apr 3, 2011 - 6:25AM

    I have just seen a photo of the referenced meeting of MQM in Shikarpur on a pro-MQM blog and it shows not less than some thousands people have attended the meeting. its really a good sign that now MQM as a national party is stretching itself to top and bottoms of the country. The irritation of the feudal mindset is also depicted by the way they welcomed this middle class party. However, Sindh is famous for its hospitality the NATIONAL Peoples Party shown a bad taste of it. Hats Off for the local people of Shikarpur who are not standing against their Feudal Lords, either they are joining MQM or not atleast they are coming out of this slavery. Recommend

  • An Ordinary Person from Tehsil Khanpur
    Apr 9, 2011 - 12:19AM

    @Imran… what you and other Pakistanis have not seen is “massacre” by group of dacoits and looters supported by NPP minister, Abid Jatoi in Tehsil Khanpur Distt Shikarpur on 3 Apr 2011 ( and onwards…)…First a brief background…. Residents of Khanpur city have been facing the looting, ‘bhatta khori’, ‘badmaashi’ and beating by Dacoits/looters belonging to Abid Jatoi and Dr Ibrahim Jatoi, for about last 30 years or so…. Snaching of Motor Cycles, Snatching of cash and valuable items, by local Jatois is a regular occurrence in and around Khanpur city. The people of Khanpur in general and ‘settler’ in particular have been bearing this for last 30 years. The barbarianism of Jatois further increased when Jatoi Dacoits shot to death an old shopkeeper of khanpur named Abdullah, infront of his two sons about an year ago. The two sons registered an FIR with local police station and police arrested two persons who were identified by the two sons as murderers. The Jatoi feudalism didn’t like this and tried to pressurize the bereaved family to withdraw the case but they refused as they had seen the murder of their father infront of their own eyes. This resulted in continuous tussle between jatois and residents of Khanpur. The Jatois also attempted to kill two sons by attacking them twice with automatic weapons… one brother got serious injuries, as a result. To situation got worsened when Anwar Shaikh was posted as DSP Khanpur. He is on pay roll of Jatois and supports Jatois in their looting etc. Coming back to 3 Apr massacre by Jatois… It was planned by Jatois and Anwar Shaikh as most of the policemen were moved for PPPP’s event on 4 Apr and DSP khanpur had excuse of not controlling the situation due to shortage of policemen. The Jatois attacked Khanpur on 3 Apr 11 and tried to kill as many people as they could… The people of Khapur also tried to defend themselves by returning fire to Jatoi attackers as a result persons from both sides got injured and two of Jatois attackers died… later Jatois shot dead 3 unarmed and innocent persons of Khanpur and looted 3 Tractors, 6 Motor Cycles, a rice mill and others… In this complete 2-3 days event, DSP Anwar Shaikh fully supported Jatois instead of providing security to residents of Khanpur. On morning of 4 Apr 11, Anwar Shaikh reached height when he disgraced the “Chadar and Char Devari” by breaking the doors of about 20 houses and grabbed the young and aged alike from their beds including beating and abusing their “prada dar” women… This had never happened in Khanpur in history of 60+ years what DSP Anwar Shaikh and Jatois have done on 3-Apr 2011 onwards. Now current status is all men and boys of “Arain” brothery have been arrested by DSP and there is no man or boy left in any house of Arain community. Complete Khanpur is closed down since 3 Apr due to threat and the fact that there is hardly any man left in house to open shops etc… DIG larkana visited Khanpur on 7 Apr and promised to release the innocent people but as of today, i.e 9 Apr… no one has been released.He also seems to be tout of Jatois. Police have done no arrests from Jatois side who killed 3 and injured more than dozens and looted properties worth about 5 Million rupees …. Media is silent on this as their local reporters are also harassed by Jatois. Where is Media.. where is Judiciary… where are the champions of human rights…. Believe it or not even Taliban had never done this what Police and Jatois are doing to people of Khanpur….. The life is stand still in Khapur… and no one seems to take notice of this…… Who is going to provide justice to residents of Khanpur…? Recommend

  • Imran A. Azeem
    Apr 20, 2011 - 6:39PM

    Oh My God !!!!Recommend

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