The Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) will not postpone the Freedom March Rally in Karachi despite the murder of one of its top leaders, Maqsood Qureshi – the younger brother of former party chairperson Bashir Khan Qureshi.
“The killers thought that we will postpone our freedom march but we won’t,” said party chairperson Sanan Qureshi. “They killed my father after our successful public meeting in Karachi two years ago. Now they have done the same to my uncle, days before our upcoming rally.”
The party has decided that the funerals of Maqsood and Latif Sangat president, Salman Wadho, who was also found dead with Maqsood, will be held during the march. The bodies, which are being transported to Karachi, will be taken to Sanan’s house, located in Gulshan-e-Hadeed. According to JSQM leadership, after the funeral, the deceased will be buried in Ratodero where Bashir is also buried.
“We will lodge an FIR after a post-mortem and a consultation with our lawyers,” claimed JSQM’s senior vice-chairperson Dr Niaz Kalani. He added that Maqsood and Wadho went missing on Thursday night and their dead bodies were found on Friday morning. “They were picked up, tortured and then murdered, before being burnt in their car,” said Kalani.
Tensions run high
All business activities remained suspended in various parts of the city, including Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Ibrahim Hyderi, Bhittai Abad, Faqeera Goth, Khamesa Goth, Safora Chowrangi, Gadap Town, Quaidabad, Pipri, Shah Town and Marvi Goth.
Party activists also staged sit-ins and blocked the National Highway. Police and Rangers were deployed in areas where tensions ran particularly high. Party workers dispersed as the leaders announced that the bodies were being brought to Karachi. JSQM supporters also held demonstrations in all the districts of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions and blocked Indus and National highways.
A JSQM supporter, Manzoor Channa, succumbed to gunshot injuries in Benazirabad’s Peoples Medical College hospital while another, Rashid Chandio, was injured. The injuries were sustained as the workers protested on Sakrand Road. The party blames the police for opening fire but the police said the workers were attacked by unknown persons on a motorbike. The protesters attacked and stoned several offices and hotels while also targeting vehicles.
An unidentified passerby was also injured during aerial firing in Badin. The Sindh Taraqi Pasand party had scheduled its annual public meeting of ‘Motherland day’ for Friday. However, STP chairperson Dr Qadir Magsi postponed the event to express solidarity.
Unprecented rally in Karachi
Former chairperson Bashir, who was leading that rally, also died mysteriously on April 7 in Sakrand in the Shaheed Benazirabad district. His party and family alleged that Bashir was killed and demanded a post-mortem from a reputable foreign laboratory and samples were sent to the United Kingdom.
An FIR was lodged at the Sakrand police station and Bashir’s murder case is still ongoing at the Hyderabad bench of the Sindh High Court. Maqsood was the complainant in his elder brother’s murder case. Maqsood was the only brother of Bashir and left behind three minor children, including a daughter.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2014.