A tribal warzone

Express July 25, 2010

RAHIM YAR KHAN: The bloodbath in Machka, Kot Sabzal and Aubado continues as hundreds of Kosh tribesmen recently attacked several villages of the Solangi tribe ‘Azeem Solangi’.

Kosh tribesmen opened fire and used rocket launchers on several villages, as hundreds of frantic villagers ran for cover. A stampede occurred in the Machka village following the intense firing as two young boys were severely injured after they fell to the ground.  Solangi tribe’s Allah Bachaya and Mai Marvi were killed in the attack. “Nothing made any sense and we didn’t know of their death till much later as everyone was scrambling for cover from the shower of bullets,” said Asad Marvi, Mai’s son.

After the incident hundreds of Solangi tribesmen carried the bodies of Allah Bachaya and Mai Marvi to the Machka police station, where they shouted slogans against the police. Police officials have registered a case against the Kosh tribesmen responsible. Machka superintendent police Liaqat Rana said, “we cannot register a case against an entire tribe and it is hard to pinpoint those responsible for the night-time raids but these villages are being terrorized,” he said, adding that police would take tribal Kosh leaders into custody for questioning.

According to villagers, Pastri Machi Busti’s, near Machka, Kosh tribesmen had killed Abid Solangi while he was working in his fields. During the crossfire a woman named Marvi Solangi was also severely injured. Following the incident in June 2010, a Solangi tribesmen attacked a woman, Hayatan Kosh, belonging to the Kosh tribe and injured her. She was shifted to Rahim Yar Khan in critical condition, where she died a day later. Afterwards the killing panic had gripped the area and both tribes have dug trenches outside their villages. “The sound of gunfire is becoming increasingly common, sometimes it is a one off firing noise, other times it is a full on attack and the police have kept silent,” Suleman Haq, a Kot Sabzal resident said.

According to a Machki reporter, armed men recently kidnapped Haji Akbar Solangi, Sajan the son of Muhammad Bukhsh Solangi, Shams Ali Solangi and Ghulam Rasool Solangi. On information Machka station house officer (SHO) Yousuf Pehlwan reached the scene along with other officials and an armed vehicle and freed the people. “We set the three men free, but it turned out the Kosh had already killed four others,” he said. The bodies of the four deceased were sent to Sadiqabad for an autopsy. A FIR has been filed against Shahbaig Kosh, Ghania Kosh, Serpata Kosh, Nadir Kosh, Allah Dad Kosh, Peeral Kosh, Mir Kosh, Gullo Kosh, Pandi Kosh, Bhagia Kosh, Jamal Kosh, Baga Kosh on the complaint of Jam Solangi.

Over 86 people have been killed in blood feuds between these two tribes in the past decade. District police officer (DPO) Rahim Yar Khan, DPO Ghotki and several political representatives have tried time and again to resolve the dispute but have failed to achieve desired results.

“The situation has never been this bad as we are living in constant terror. The villages have become a war zone and we are the victims,” said Saqib, a villager, adding that the people of the village were appealing to the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for a solution.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.


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