Unpardonable murders


The murder of Sindhi nationalist leader Maqsood Qureshi, head of the Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), in gruesome fashion just a year after his brother and predecessor chief of JSQM Bashir Qureshi was killed has triggered violent protests in Hyderabad and other parts of the province, as JSQM party workers and members of other Sindhi nationalist parties brought trade and other activities to a standstill. Police say they found the largely charred remains of Maqsood’s body, along with his colleague Salman Wadho, in a burnt out car on a road near Naushero Feroz, the vehicle apparently having been set on fire after the two men were shot and their corpses placed in it. Immediate outrage from Sindhi nationalist leaders was followed by a breakdown of law and order in various parts of the province, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stronghold of Larkana, which has been the centre of several violent incidents in the last week. At least one person was killed. The implications and possible consequences of this murder, after Bashir Qureshi’s, are not to be taken lightly. Bashir Qureshi was, it should be remembered, found dead in unusual circumstances. Some reports say the cause of death was poison. The investigation is ongoing. However, a year later a proper forensic report hasn’t come to light and now with Maqsood Qureshi’s murder, police will have their hands full trying to track down the killers. 
Doing so is of the utmost importance, as speculation will only lead to conspiracies and feed into the Sindhi nationalist perception that they are being violently silenced. While the demand for ‘independence’ has found little traction in most of Sindh, incidents like this only enrage public sentiment and feed separatist or militant nationalist ideas that their rights are being trampled within the federation.. Some are bound to place the blame for it on the establishment, which has an uneasy relationship with nationalist parties in the provinces. Constant head-butting between Sindhi nationalists and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi is another source of discontent and may lead to even more violence in that beleaguered city. In order to stop this cycle of revenge and conspiracy theories, a proper investigation needs to be conducted post haste. In light of the gravity of the situation in Sindh, it may be that the federal government should depute members of the Central Investigation Department (CID) or Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to help with the investigation and empower them to bring the culprits to book no matter who they are. That will go a long way in rebuilding trust between nationalists and federalists. Murders of political leaders cannot go unresolved, especially when the consequences may be far reaching for the country’s political future.   *

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