Archive for April, 2022

Sindh Human Rights Defenders Network (SHRDN) Fact Finding Report on Maher incident
Sindh Human Rights Defenders Network (SHRDN) delegation (Zulfiqar Halepoto, Zulfiqar Qadri, Komal Hingoro, Faiza Khanzada, Anu Solangi, Fida Chohan and Ali Plah coordinator SHRDN) visited village Faiz Mohummad Chandio near Mehar District Dadu in Sindh province where 8 children and one women were reported dead due fire. More than 20 men and women were serious;y injured who suffered serious burns when fire raged through Faiz Mohummad Daryani Chandio village 30 kilometres away from Mehar taluka of District Dadu.

This tragic incident took place on Monday night dated April 18, 2022 which reduced around 60 houses to ashes, burnt grains, tractor, tube well machines, motor cycles, and almost everything of the village. Villagers told the delegation that around 150 buffaloes, cows, goats and other animals also perished in the fire.

Delegation offered condolence with heirs of dead and asked the causes of fire. Community leader shared that the fire broke out due to wind storm. However it was contradicted by the womenfolk who said they were threatened few days ago by some people and that complaint was done to local elders, MPA, MNA, Sardars. Any FIR lodged or inquiry done, villagers said no inquiry is done nor any FIR is lodged. One Government Officer on condition of anonymity shared that local influential people are trying to suppress the information regarding fire and are reluctant to register the case.

Chief Minister SIndh visited the place met with families of dead and announced compensation 5 lacs for each dead and two lacs for each injured.

Villagers said injured are taken to Larkana hospital where they are unattended and not being provided medical treatment. They confirmed this infront of Mr Irfan Laghan Laghari brother of local MNA Ifran Laghari. He said he will raise the issue with the authorities.

Villagers shared that the rescue was possible but due to fire brigade at Mehar which was not functional which caused death. And Fire brigades came from Larkana and KN Shah after two days. Delegation observed smoke was still coming our of heap of straw and not extinguished completely.

Medical camp set up at site was not fully equipped to deal with the incident. They shared that they don’t have medicine for children and women. Total 100-125 women were there who were still in trauma and physical not well. Few pregnant women were also in tents supplied by revenue officials on Chief Minister Sindh’s directions complained that medical camp is just formality and no nurse and female doctor available there. Delegation contacted the camp incharge who said lady doctors are available but they are not brought because authorities didn’t order so.

Villagers also complained that Edhi, Sailani and sometimes revenue officers are providing food and water but supply is not sufficient and regular by revenue officials. They said there is no drinking water for last two hours for children.

Vetinery facilities for cattle treatment was not seen. Villagers said doctor came but he just superficially treated the animals which are still suffering and facing pain and burns in scorching heat.

Military was seen there for support for villagers. EDHI and Sailani team was providing relief to villagers.

Mother who lost their children were in deep trauma and without psycho social support.

SSP Dadu and Deputy Commisioners were contacted for meeting but as commission set up by the Chief Minsiter was coming so they regretted and shared that camp is set up led by senior revenue officer of KN shah is taking care of rescues and relief. SSP said that security and law and order situation is under control. Villagers are safe now.

Delegation observed that the village is not properly connected to taluka mehar due to proper infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc0 and elected representatives are not properly taking care of the villagers as villagers of neighboring villages shared.

Recommendations:

  1. FIR should be registered against unknown persons and investigation by an honest SSP level person should be conducted and a Commission headed by a High Court judge/Sesion judge to conduct the inquiry into the causes of fire, lack of availability of fire brigade at Mehar, lack of medical facilities etc.
  2. Well equipped camp should be established to look into the matter of relief (water, food, clothes, tents, daily use items etc)
  3. Lady police officer along with team should be deployed to ensure security of women living in the tents to prevent harassment.
  4. Female doctor accompanied by nurses should be deployed in the camp to provide medical treatment to women, girls.
  5. Psycho social support should be provided to women and villagers suffering from trauma.
  6. Chief Minister of Sindh should increase amount of compensation to 2000000 for each dead and 7 lacs for each burnt and free treatement of injured and burnt at Karachi as Larkana hospital doesn’t have such facility.
  7. Roads bridges, water supply other facilities in the area are missing.
  8. Local elected representatives should pay proper attention to villagers their relief needs.
  9. Sindh Government, Federal Government, MPAs MNAs of the local areas should design rehabilitation plan of the burnt village and CM Sindh should personally supervise it.
  10. PDMA and NDMA should be hold accountable for their lack of effective role in rescue, relief of this incident.

Ali A. Palh

Coordinator Sindh Human Rights Defenders Network

She was known for her fearlessness and struggle for human rights. She founded cafe known as The Second Floor where human rights defenders meet and discuss human rights. A safe space for activists. Born raised educated in Karachi.

SHRDN takes this opportunity to demand justice for all such supporters of all voiceless: Nazim Jokhio, Roshan Rajpar Sabeen Mehmood And Parveen Rehman.

In words of Fifi, May you rest in peace but we will not until your killers are not found & prosecuted.

The Murder of Nazim Jhokio is a wakeup call for the judiciary and Pakistani society. Nazim was tortured to death by the detained PPP lawmaker, Jam Awais, in Malir for trying to prevent the legislator’s foreign guests from hunting the vulnerable houbara bustard near the deceased’s village in Thatta’s Dabeji area and filming it on November 2. Though hunting is banned in Pakistan, it is permitted for wealthy foreign dignitaries.

 The FIR was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint by the victim’s brother, who accused MPA Awais and Member of the National Assembly Jam Abdul Karim of having a hand in Jokhio’s murder.The victim’s brother told that hundreds of feudal and influential figures are trying to reach us and pressurizing us to not follow the case further. He said Nazim had made a video before his death after he was thrashed by the influential landlord.

Victim Nazim Jokhio said that he made a live video of hunting at 4 pm. Some person including the Arab hunters had snatched the cell phone from him and beat him to keep him silent, but he was later given his phone. He said he made a phone call to Madadgar-15 but the police did not arrive.

Although, He did not name anyone in the video statement but said that those threatening him would be responsible. “I am not afraid but this video statement of mine should be kept on record. I am receiving threats and I would not seek an apology,” he said in the video statement.

Relatives and members from the Jokhio’s community staged a sit-in on the national highway at Dhabeji with his body. They buried the reporter in a nearby graveyard and then continued the sit-in until the FIR been lodged.

Nazim’s widow, Shireen Jhokio fought the case of her husband for more than 7 months but she couldn’t resist the pressure from feudal lords who have a close ties with the Sindh’s ruling elite.  The pressure on shireen is reflected on her statement in which she gave a pardon to the murderers. She was getting a life threat from the defendants as well as the immense social pressure from the tribe.

Pakistan is a country that sits fourth in the International Federation of Journalists’ list of “dangerous” countries with the death of 138 journalists since 1990. The state must ensure the justice to the victim family. This case could be an example to restore the public faith on the judicial system of Pakistan.