Ethnic violence rages in Pakistan

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Several incidents of violence were reported in the province on Thursday, where shops owned by Pashtuns were attacked and forcefully closed, allegedly by Sindhi nationalists….reports Asian Lite News

Ethnic tensions flared up in several Sindh districts of Pakistan following the killing of 35-year-old Bilal Kaka at a hotel in Hyderabad a couple of days ago, local media reported.

A 35-year-old man was killed and five of his colleagues were injured in a scuffle at a hotel near Wadhu Wah in Nasim Nagar early on Tuesday morning, drawing angry reaction from nationalist parties who believed the attackers were Afghans nationals, Dawn reported.

Several incidents of violence were reported in the province on Thursday, where shops and hotels owned by Pashtuns were attacked and forcefully closed, allegedly by Sindhi nationalists.

Meanwhile, hotels and shops owned by Pashtuns were attacked and forcefully shut in Dadu, Sehwan, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Kotri and Jamshoro.

Armed men on motorbikes attacked three hotels in Kotri. In retaliation, the owners pelted stones leaving two men, identified as Uzair Soomro and Sadaqat Ali, injured.

A heavy police contingent reached the spot and shifted the injured to Kotri’s District Headquarters Hospital, Dawn reported.

Police have also claimed the arrest of seven activists of nationalist parties in Dadu who were forcefully closing the shops.

In the Sakrand area, activists of nationalist parties blocked a section of N5 National Highway at Noonari CNG station Thursday night following reports of disturbances and maltreatment of families by miscreants at Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area.

The protest led to long queues of vehicles including buses and heavy vehicles.

Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz-Bashir (JSQM-B) leader Dr Niaz Kalani told Dawn that such protests would also be held in Moro, Ubauro and other areas.

Pashtuns make up a large majority of drivers who drive trucks and goods carriers, moving cargo from ports in Karachi to other parts of the country. A large number of these trucks move on highways in Sindh to enter Punjab and travel further north towards Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Protesters also managed to block roads in Moro. However, a swift police action, led by Moro DSP, dispersed the protesters. Subsequently, traffic was also restored.

On Thursday, several political parties, including JI, MQM-Pakistan, Awami National Party, and nationalist leaders Jalal Mehmood Shah and Ayaz Latif Palijo issued statements, urging both Sindhis and Pashtuns � the two groups at the heart of these tensions � to demonstrate restraint. They also demanded the government take prompt action to defuse the tensions.

In a statement, MQM-P’s coordination committee said the killing of a man has been used to instigate disharmony and pit two ethnicities against each other.

While condemning violence, the statement added that all ethnicities should be free to do business all over the country.

The targeting of people on the basis of language and ID cards will weaken the foundations of the country, reads the statement.

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