journalist falls victim to feudalism
ONE MORE FALLS VICTIM TO FEUDALIMS
BY ABBAS KASSAR AT HYDERABAD,SINDH.
HYDERABAD: October 12,2003:One more person this time a Journalist Amir Bux Brohi district reporter of Sindhi language daily has fallen victim to the 16th century feudalism still not only prevalent in Sindh province of Pakistan but reigning as de facto rulers of this part of world.Amir Bux Brohi was gunned down by 3 unknown armed men in Shikarpur city of Sindh province of Pakistan at 8 p.m. on Friday October 3,2003 only on some meters distance from office of District Police Officer Shikarpur.He was injured and rushed to civil hospital where he succumbed to injuries.He received 5 bullets two of them in neck which proved fatal for his life.Amir Bux 28 was related with popular Sindhi language newspaper daily KAWISH since last 13 years.He was unmarried.He had gone to DPO office and as he came out on road he was shot at few meters distance from the DPO office. Police reached the spot 45 minutes after the incident though the shots were heard in DPO office.Police failed to immediately seal the roads connecting the city.The assailants ran away in small streets.His marriage was set to be held after Muslim holy month of Ramadhan.A year ago on 20th October 2002, Shaihid Soomro also related with daily Kawish was murdered for carrying stories of rigging in the general elections which were held on 10 October 2002.
Amir Bux had put his life at risk by writing stories against Jirgas(the illegal assembly of feudal lords).According to age old customs these feudal lords including Jagirdars,Waderas,Sardars,Nawabs incite the people belonging to their castes/clans(in fact it is caste and clan but for their self interests the feudal lords call their people as tribes so that they could get recognition from government as tribal chiefs and by virtue of it could get privileges from the government as well as acceptance from other tribal leaders).Then, when on their instigation, the people of various castes and clans attack people of opponent clan, kidnap their women and children , kill them and in turn that clan retaliates with same actions. After much bloodshed the Sardars call for Jirga(illegal assembly of sardars)which after one or two days deliberations announces its verdict under which the killers from both sides are exonerated. The murders are exchanged like commodity to the liking of feudal lords.Former army dictator General Ziaul Haq had made amendments in constitution called Hud(Islamic laws) under which any killer would be exonerated on payment of Khoon Bah(compensation for murder)to the heirs of deceased. The relatives of those who were murdered during infighting are left with no option but to obey the orders of Jirga and their own feudal lord. As the people have to live in areas of feudal lords they dare not refuse their orders.
The worst recent example the Jirga was killing of 18 innocent people during the fighting between Jagirani and Nareja clans in Kharipur district during July and August 2003.A Jirga was held on 18 August 2003 at Khairpur city of Sindh which decided the exchange of 7 murders on each side while 4 more on one side were compensated to victim families. The compensation amount never reached the victim family as it is usually pocketed by Sardars.Thus 14 murders (7 on both sides) were washed away as according to feudal lords wishes, the slain did not deserve even compensation to their families.
Amir Bux was eliminated because he had written stories against the ills of fedudalism, and Jagirdari and holding of Jirgas.Few days before his murder he had questioned the wisdom of Jirga by giving details of those innocent people died in tribal fighting like animals with no justice meted out to their families. Journalist Shahid Soomro was murdered directly on 20 October 2002 by two sons of influential tribal chief of Bijarani tribe Sardar Sher Mohammed Bijarani for the only reason that he had angered the Sardar with his news about rigging in general elections of 10 October 2002.He had earlier received death threats.
The killers of Shahid Soomro though were arrested and had confessed the murder but because being both sons of an influential feudal lord Sardar chief of Bijarani tribe,who is supporter of Musharaf government ,they were not punished.Shikarpur district forms part of Upper Sindh where the 16th century feudalism still reigns and the feudal lords calling themselves as Sardars,Mirs,Nawabs and Waderas “have established states within state”.Because these feudal lords thrive on support of undemocratic government of the day and its officials including police, they hold complete authority on their areas and over people. After every decade when the people see the signs of, if not elimination, decrease of the influence of feudal lords, any army general topples democratically elected government and puts life in feudalism by gathering them around him, rewarding them with top slots with more power and authority to keep teeming million crushing under their influecne.Since last 4 years the feudal lords are thriving on support of General Mushraf who had seized power on 12 October 1999 for exchange of their support to his illegal rule.Immediately after general election of October 2002 (called by European Union Monitors as flawed) General Mushraf picked up top feudal lord from Balochistan Mir Zafrullah Jamali(who had in past served every Military ruler including Ziaul Haq) as Prime Minister and another top feudal lord from Sindh Sardar Ali Mohammed Mahar as Chief Minister of Sindh.
In Shahid Soomro’s case former speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Illahi Bux Soomro led 30 feudal lords and Sardars to his bereaved family and under feudal pressure obtained signature from them on a plain paper that they had pardoned the murder of Shahid to killers who were later exonerated by anti-terrorist court at Sukkur.
The journalistic community throughout Sindh has been agitating against the cold blooded murder of Amir Bux Brohi since then but instead of putting hands on culprits Shikarpur police was finding excuse by arresting the complainant who is uncle of slain journalist.
This is the second journalist murdered by extremists and under influence of feudal lords in a year and 4th in last two years in Pakistan .Fazal Wahab a freelancer journalist was shot dead in Mangora on 21 January 2003 in Mangora town in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.He was critical of religious extremists.
In 2002 apart from Shahid Soomro,Daniel Pearl reporter of Wall Street Journal was killed in 21 February 2002 in Karachi by Islamic Religious group.He was investigating the possible link between Al-Qaeda and show bomber Richard Reid who had boarded Paris-Miami flight with explosion in his shoe.4 persons accused in his murder were sentenced by anti-Terrorist Court Hyderabad. Main accused Sheikh Omar received death sentence while three others were awarded life terms.All the 4 are presently serving in Central Prison Hyderabad, Pakistan.
Of the 4 journalists killed in Pakistan within 2 years time 2 were killed by religious extremists and 2 in Sindh at hands of feudalism. Feudal lords in Pakistan especially in Sindh have managed to hold politics of country in connivance with civil and military bureaucracy. Among them rural aristocracy is the biggest force for maintenance of status quo in the politics and policy making. It were feudal lords of West Pakistan masquerading as socialists under Bhuttos’ PPP who had refused to hand over power to a commoner from East Wing despite his overwhelming majority in parliament (161 seats out of total 300).Feudal lords in rural Sindh are opposed to spread of education as after getting educated the sons of their peasants may not bow before them. It is due to their opposition to education that thousands of schools remain closed in rural villages depriving millions of children of education for the reason that these very feudal lords become part of every government of the day be it democratic or dictatorial. In fact the characteristic of every government in Pakistan is aristocratic. These feudal dynasties control half dozen political parties including the main formations like PPP and ML. Ironically enough the heads of these political parties talk of elections but opt for themselves as life time party chiefs.
“Feudalism as mode of product does not exist.However it is feudal ways and norms that remain the bane of underdeveloped societies. Consequently the term “feudalism”is used to describe “anything reactionary, old-fashioned or resonant of aristocratic values”.The world has got rid of feudalism but in Pakistan rural population is being oppressed and suppressed under feudalism and have no option than servile existence under big landlords.The government of the day as thrives on support of landlords never takes such steps to get people rid of this mother of all ills.People of Pakistan especially Sindh have been pushed to 400 years back by present military government of General Pervez Mushraf by handpicking the feudal lords into his government. Thus the life of 40 million people of Sindh now is in hands of these feudal lords. Whenever they like they can eliminate any person like Shahid Soomro and Amir Bux Brohi.
SENIOR JOURNALIST OF HYDERABAD SINDH,