Shehris protest killings of shopkeepers by ‘extortionists’


The residents of Bhittaiabad, Dhani Bux Goth, Rashdi Goth and Bakhtawar Goth took to the streets on Tuesday against the killing of shopkeepers by unidentified armed men over non-payment of extortion.
The citizens staged a peaceful demonstration against the alleged failure of law enforcement agencies in curbing the menace in the area. However, the protesters turned violent when the police tried to disperse them. They blocked the University Road for vehicular traffic by setting tyres on fire near Safoora Goth and pelted vehicles with stones.
The protesters demanded that the government takes action against alleged extortionists for killing innocent citizens over non-payment of money. They also demanded the immediate removal of the Sachal Goth Station House Officer (SHO). They requested Sindh Chief Minister and Inspector General of Police (IGP) for taking stern action against the extortion mafia.
The demonstration was organised by Shehri Ittehad (SI) against the ongoing killings of shopkeepers in Bhittaiabad, Dhani Bux Goth, Rashdi Goth and Bakhtawar Goth.
SI leader Dr Shamshad Mughal told Pakistan Today that around eight shopkeepers have so far been killed over non-payment of extortion during the last 15 days but the police have not arrested a single criminal. “Two days ago, bakery item vendor Ghulam Hussain Channa was killed in Bhittaiabad by extortionists over non-payment of a small amount. A few days ago, armed men sprayed bullets on shopkeepers seriously injuring four shopkeepers, who are under treatment at various hospitals.”
Mughal maintained that the protest was not to show political solidarity but citizens’ solidarity, and the government will have to take action for providing relief to the troubled citizens. “[Protest] is to show solidarity from multi-ethnic citizens having representation from all provinces,” he claimed.
SI representatives Kifayat Junejo, Naseer Sain, Qurban Khaskheli, Dur Muhammad Pathan and others also addressed the participants of the demonstration.
When contacted, Sachal Goth SHO Inspector Shabbir Mustafa said it is a political issue. “I have assumed the charge at [Sachal Goth] police station only five days ago and I have no idea about their problems,” he said, adding ‘I have scheduled a meeting with SI representatives to solve the issue.’
He claimed that the police had arrested some criminals red-handed a few days ago and the SI representatives were forcing the police to release them. “A criminal is a criminal and the police would take action against anyone involved in criminal activity.”