CM assures Shikarpur blast case will be sent to military courts

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Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said on Thursday that the provincial government would send the Shikarpur imambargah bombing case to the military courts while the government would also issue weapon licenses to all madrassas, imambargahs and mosques belonging to the Shia sect – one of the 25 demands put forth by families of the victims of Shikarpur blast.

The protesting families ended their sit-in on Thursday after the Sindh government agreed to accept their charter of demands. At least 61 people were killed when an imambargah was attacked in Shikarpur during Friday prayers on January 30.

Addressing a joint press conference with Shikarpur Shuhada Committee head Allama Maqsood Domki, Shah also announced that a joint investigation team (JIT) would be formed to probe into the incident. “An operation under the supervision of the apex committee will be conducted by police and Rangers against banned organisations, and other extremist elements who are inciting terrorism in Shikarpur, and others districts,” said Shah.

The press conference was held after a meeting between the committee and the Sindh government at the Chief Minister’s House. Flanked by Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, the chief minister said the names of the suspects revealed by the committee would also be added to the FIR, and an inquiry update of the JIT would be shared with them.

During the press conference, Allama Domki diverted the chief minister’s attention towards encroachment by some extremists groups on government properties, who, he said, were creating anarchy in the name of religious activities. Shah announced that the government would initiate a crackdown against these elements and reclaim the illegal occupation. “Some banned outfits have also started activities in Sindh. They are involved in targeted killings and other criminal activities,” Shah said. “The Sindh government has decided to begin a crackdown against them along with removing their banners, posters, flags, as well as wall chalking.”

The meeting also decided to name one of the roundabouts in Shikarpur as “Shuhda-e-Karbala.” Another demand put forth to the government was against the Visal TV channel, which they claimed was lobbying against the Shia community.

The chief minister assured them that the provincial government would write to Pemra to lodge a complaint against the TV channel. “We have demanded to enhance the compensation to those who lost their family members in terrorist incidents,” Domki said.

The meeting also decided to take action against foreigners, including Chechen, Uzbek, Afghani and Tajik nationals, who are found to be involved in terrorist activities in the province. “We have also decided to give government jobs to the victims’ families and those victims who have now become disabled would be accommodated in 5 per cent quota for disabled persons,” said Shah.