Disability activist gunned down with toddler in his arms

Published: October 25, 2010
Protesters gathered to demand that Jaffar Shah’s assailants be caught. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Protesters gathered to demand that Jaffar Shah’s assailants be caught. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Two-year-old Shahzaib was playing with his father’s hands in the moonlight on Friday when a bullet fired at 9 pm brought the father-son interaction to an end.

Sindh Disabled Mobility Forum’s (SDMF) leading member, Jaffar Shah, was shot in the skull when he was sitting outside his house in Nazimabad with his son during a power outage in the area.

“He was harmless. How can a person sitting on a wheelchair threaten anyone?” Shah’s brother, Najam, told The Express Tribune.

“Nobody picked up his body. Somebody just shot him dead in the darkness without thinking for a moment that he was with a two-year-old child. His body fell on the child and it stayed that way for 15 minutes. When one of Shah’s neighbours tried to lift him, the child wouldn’t let go of his father. For a while it seemed as if the child was bleeding,” he added. According to Najam, his two-year-old nephew has become so emotionally disturbed that he starts to cry if anyone touches him.

Representatives of the SDMF gathered at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday, where 200 people in wheelchairs demanded that the government arrest Shah’s killers within 48 hours. They vowed that they would not bury Shah until the perpetrators were jailed.

Members of the SDMF later tried to gather outside Governor House to stage a protest, but were stopped by the police. “The SDMF people have taken a stand for Shah. They will take his body to Governor House if his killers are not arrested. And as Shah’s brother, I am supporting this stand,” said Najam.

Jawed Rais, a member of the SDMF who worked with Shah for more than eight years, started the campaign along with 10 other NGOs working for the disabled across Sindh. He said that they want to take a stand against the government as it has failed to provide security to innocent people.

Through this protest, we want to prove that being in a wheelchair is a sign of perseverance instead of weakness, said Rais.

Shah was the kind of activist who left no stone unturned in making sure that the voice of the disabled community could be heard. He wanted to spread awareness about his cause so that the disabled people could be granted the minimum two per cent quota for jobs provided by the government, said Rais. “We fail to understand why Shah was targeted? He worked for the rights of those people from the middle class and lower middle class who had lost their ability to walk. I think it’s high time the government opened its eyes.”

Jafar Shah’s life in retrospect

Shah lost his legs in a car accident 20 years ago. While working for the city district government as the executive district officer for the last 10 years, Shah had also been running Apna Sahara, an NGO for the disabled, for nearly a decade. This was the platform through which Shah helped the disabled people in getting jobs and organised activities that helped them become a part of mainstream society.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • MAD
    Oct 25, 2010 - 9:40AM

    I fail to comprehend a reason for this. I obviously condemn it but this is so shocking that I dont know what to write.Recommend

  • SA
    Oct 25, 2010 - 10:38AM

    Disgusting, shocking and depressing… this state of country’s affair is maddening!!Recommend

  • Oct 25, 2010 - 10:45AM

    What a shame. Crippled govt let loose the mafias on Karachi. Recommend

  • ali
    Oct 25, 2010 - 12:11PM

    thank you sipah e sahabaRecommend

  • ali
    Oct 25, 2010 - 12:13PM

    also thankful to all molvi hazratRecommend

  • Oct 25, 2010 - 12:49PM

    …Innalil Allahe va Inna Ilaihe Raji oon.
    May Allah give you a high place in Jannah and may He awaken the conscience of those murderers and protect all of us from such harm. Ameen.

    This is the death of a hero. These are true martyrs as opposed to fallen leaders.Recommend

  • Maryam
    Oct 25, 2010 - 3:01PM

    shame on the government n shame on its ppl….Recommend

  • NGH
    Oct 25, 2010 - 4:51PM

    ‘Easy saying than doing’ is the rule of the our politicians’ game.Hence, they all just say and dont do (anything). And those who do die as ill-fated.
    I feel sorry for the child.Recommend

  • sid
    Oct 25, 2010 - 7:10PM

    Now I know the reason why God created Hell. I have seen the worst of the worst, however opening up this news paper every morning always has a way to surprise me. I cannot comprehend this, i am lost for words, what disturbed mind can do this, yet the killers roam free. I guess the day will come soon when ignorance will indeed be bliss. end of days are now near. Recommend

  • Hassan
    Oct 25, 2010 - 10:11PM

    Another sad episode from a country that is slowling slipping in taliban-isation.Recommend

  • Oct 26, 2010 - 8:08AM

    @ sid … i second your thoughts … I pray god strikes down … and does it again until man begs … until he swallows the fact that he is not GOD … he is nothing … he does not have the right to take lives … to control lives … to lie … to deceive … to cheat … to make others suffer …

    End of days are indeed … near … there’s nothing else that will put a stop to this tyranny … this oppression … this cruelty …

    Allah help us all … Recommend

  • Oct 26, 2010 - 11:05AM

    shame on the government n shame on its ppl……Recommend

  • Waqar
    Oct 27, 2010 - 4:35AM

    Utterly, despicable!Recommend

  • fawad
    Oct 28, 2010 - 12:49AM

    He was my uncle. I lost my uncle because of these stupid target killings. May your soul rest in peace Jafar chacha :(Recommend

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