Making an appeal: Sindh writers want action against ‘human rights violations’

Investigations into JSQM leader’s mysterious killing hit snags.


Sameer Mandhro April 03, 2014
JSQM followers gather for Maqsood Qureshi's funeral in Ratodero. PHOTO: PPI/FILE

KARACHI:


Sindhi writers have written to the president, the prime minister and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take action against the people behind the killing of two nationalist leaders.


The Sindh Writers and Thinkers Forum (SWTF) wrote a letter to draw the authorities’ attention to the ‘human rights violations’ in the province. “Like Balochistan, abductions, brutal killings and dumping of mutilated bodies has become a routine in Sindh,” the letter states, while referring to the killings of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leader Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho, of the Jeay Sindh Latif Sangat.



Qureshi and Wadho were mysteriously kidnapped and their charred bodies were found in their torched car on March 21. The SWTF writers claimed the two men had a spotless political career. “They were never implicated in any criminal or objectionable cases. Their barbaric killings have hurt the sentiments of the people of Sindh, which is a matter of serious concern.”

The letter warned that such incidents are becoming more frequent in Sindh and are creating an environment that can be exploited by those who want to infuse violence in a relatively peaceful political ambience of the province. “PM Nawaz Sharif visited Maqsood Qureshi to condole the death of [his brother] Bashir Qureshi and Maqsood received him,” said SWTF organiser Muzaffar Chandio. “He [the PM] should immediately take notice of the killings.”

The killings were not an ordinary incident that the people of Sindh will forget easily. “Such ways of suppressing political struggle won’t work,” he added.

Investigations

The investigations into the killings of the two nationalist leaders have failed to show any significant progress. The bodies were badly burnt and reduced to half of their original size, said the investigators, adding that only a few small bones survived for DNA testing.

It seems like the killers tried to spoil all possible evidences, including the identification of the bodies. “We were only able to identify them through their teeth,” said Dr Jalil Qadar Memon, the police surgeon on the case.

According to the post-mortem report, the cause of death of was bullet injuries. “The bodies were set on fire after the two were killed,” said Dr Memon, adding that they died about 20 hours before their bodies were brought to Karachi.

The circumstantial evidence shows that their bodies were brought to the spot in the same vehicle that was set on fire. Qureshi’s body was on the passenger seat while Wadho’s was found on the back seat. The hand brakes were pulled, showing that ‘someone’ drove the car and parked it at that particular location.

“It is understood who is behind the killings,” a police official tried to hint. “We know who killed our fellows and we also know why,” was another vague response given by the party’s senior vice-chairperson, Dr Niaz Kalani.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Kalani said that ‘outsiders’ have settled in the area stretching from Mehrabpur to Nawabshah. The party suspects that the killers, after completing their task, received shelter in the area.

The investigation team is struggling, nevertheless, as they have yet to fine even a single eyewitness. Some people saw some suspicious vehicles moving from the spot where the burnt vehicle was found, others said they saw two vehicles.

“No, it’s not an explosion,” denied SSP Naushero Feroze, Niaz Chandio, who heads the investigation. “But some of ‘material’ used in the explosion was found, such as ball-bearings and nails.”

The police claimed the incident took place at around 4:30am but they were informed at around 6am. “Everything was finished when the police team reached the spot,” said Chandio.

For this part, Dr Kalani explained that the FIR registration was delayed because they were consulting their lawyers. “We are sure it was not an explosion,” Dr Kalani said. “We are a political party, therefore, we didn’t have any immature reaction to the tragedy.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2014.

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