Truce reached between Lyari gang lords

  • QAT, not PPP, brokers Lyari peace deal in Hyderabad
  • Uzair Baloch and Baba Ladla agree to stop fighting, disarm gangsters and remove no-go areas
  • Peacekeeping LIC formed under chairmanship of Palijo
  • Targeted operation to continue in Lyari to curb ‘third element’, says MPA Sanya Naz

Dozens of Lyariites took to the street to say no to the state-sponsored bloody gang wars in Lyari as the two absconding arch rivals Uzair Jan Baloch and Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla announced a bilateral ceasefire Saturday to stop further bloodshed in the volatile neighbourhood.

Saturday saw negotiators of the two gang leaders sit across the table in Hyderabad to negotiate a peace deal under which the stakeholders agreed to stop fighting, form a peacekeeping body Lyari Ittihad Committee (LIC), disarm hundreds of gangsters and remove no-go areas that have worst-affected the common people in the violence-hit locality.

The peace talks were mediated by President Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) Ayaz Latif Palijo who, according to PPP MPA Sanya Naz Baloch, was actively following the two sides for a negotiated resolution of the moths-long bloodletting.

Headed by Palijo, the LIC would mostly comprise the members of Lyari Buzurg Committee.

Palijo also has been contacting Lyari’s other political stakeholders prominently Katchi Rabita Committee which’s president Hussain Katchi seems to have little or no confidence in the success of a peace deal that has been brokered in the absence of real stakeholders: Uzair and Ladla who were formerly allied under banned People’s Aman Committee (PAC) and are now believed to have been in self-exile.

“Ayaz also had contacted me a week ago but we think how come a peace settlement be reached while the real stakeholders are abroad,” Katchi told Pakistan Today.

Sanya, however, insisted that Ayaz had personally talked to Uzair and Baba on telephone. “They both have supported the decisions taken,” she told Pakistan Today.

Sanya said Uzair was represented by herself as a “daughter of Lyari”, Dr Adnan Baloch, Arif Buledi and Liaquat Ashkani while Ladla’s negotiators included Maulana Abdul Majeed Sarbazi, Mama Umeed Ali, Nisar Baloch and Abdur Rasheed Baloch. MPA Javed Nagori too is said to have been part of the negotiations but Sanya did not mention his name.

However, what raised eyebrows is the fact that Uzair was represented in the meeting by the PPP leaders, some having contested May 11 polls on the party’s ticket, with even Lyariites questioning whether Sanya and Javed were their elected representatives or that of the gangsters.

“We reject these negotiations. The people of Lyari would decide their own fate. Sanya and Javed may represent Uzair but not us,” Aman Ali, a socio-political activist from Lyari, said while protesting with dozens of male and female protesters at Karachi Press Club in the afternoon.

Dozens of Lyariites marched from Arts Council to KPC, under the banner of Baloch Human Rights Organisation, to say “No To Gang Wars” that the protesters claimed were sponsored backed by condemn state terrorism

Mahgul Baloch, a young burqa-wielding protestor, blasted the PML-led federal and PPP-led provincial governments saying they should root the two gangs out from Lyari instead of brokering peace deals between them.

“Everything is under the control of these gangs. A patient from Kalakot area cannot go to the Lyari General Hospital where Baba Ladla rules,” lamented Aman, formerly affiliated with Pakistan National Party.

Sanya, however, said soon after the peace deal was made she personally visited entire Lyari to tell the people that the no-go areas remained no more.

Asked why she and other PPP office bearers represented gangsters in the negotiations, the legislator said everyone in Lyari belonged to the PPP. “Someone has to take the first step so we did that to bring peace back to Lyari. The guns would now be replaced with the pens,” she said.

Blaming the oft-referred “third element” for spoiling the peace, Sanya said the “surgical” operation in Lyari would continue to clean the crime-infested neighbourhood off criminals.

If sources are to be believed, the PPP would be the ultimate loser in Lyari.

“During the meeting Sanya blasted the PPP leadership, including Qaim Ali Shah and Qadir Patel who she said had turned Lyari into a battlefield. She, therefore, requested Palijo to lead Ittehad Committee to ensure effective enforcement of the ceasefire,” the sources confided to Pakistan Today.

Palijo, Sanya said, would be visiting Lyari on March 20 to oversee effectiveness of the ceasefire in the PPP’s political stronghold.