: Photo By News Lens Pakistan / Allah-Bux Arisar
Funeral prayer of Turbat victims : Photo By News Lens Pakistan / Allah-Bux Arisar

UMERKOT:  Khameso, an old man of Thar, cried over the bodies of his two sons, killed in a terrorist attack in Turbat, Balochistan last month. “My sons, you were too young to leave this world.  It was my time to die. I don’t know who will look after me and my two daughters now.”

The boys were among five dead bodies of the victims of Turbat massacre that arrived in the arid desert to the Thar people. Khameso’s mournful cries echoed the larger question for his community. The families of the dead, broken already by the persistent drought and the apathy of the government, had only one question in their minds: Who will take care of them from now on?

Twenty laborers lost their lives when the insurgents of Baloch Liberation Army killed them while sleeping and claimed responsibility. They were working on Sohrab Dam in the Gobdan area of district Turbat, when the fateful event occurred.  These people had left their homes to escape death from hunger, but least did they know that terrorism, another menace inflicting this country, had been waiting to devour them. Many people have left Thar over the years, and more so in the last three years to avoid the deadly drought.

Bharumal Amrani, a writer and a social activist, while talking to News Lens Pakistan said, “Thar, a rain-fed agriculture region, has become a living hell.”

Thar comprises three districts, Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar, and none has any industry to support the local population. “Two million Tharis and eight million livestock have been facing drought for three consecutive years,” Amrani said.

Majeed, another victim of Turbat attack, was the only son of his parents. He had gone to Turbat to earn livelihood for his family and to make enough money to marry off his sisters. Majeed had six sisters and only three were married when he was killed.  Now Majeed’s father Sonharo hopes that the government might do something for them. The widow of another victim Laloo is not sure how she would spend the rest of her life with a young daughter to bring up. So is the fear gripping Dhani Bux who had also lost his son in this massacre. Dhani is paralysed while his other son is mentally challenged. Their life has already ended.

Though the people of Thar do not know what future holds for them, they are no more willing to let their sons venture out of Thar to make a living. A local journalist Sanjay Sadhwani told News Lens that after the incident Tharis prefer dying of hunger than from a bullet away from their homes.

Makwano the resident of Chonnhar village in Tharparkar told News Lens that these were very pressing times for the people of Thar. In the absence of economic opportunities and persistent drought, young men have been forced to migrate to other cities to earn their living for themselves and their families. Nearly every family has at least one male member working outside Thar. He deplored that even small boys are sent to big cities to earn for their families. Not that people here were unaware about the situation in Balochistan, he added, but they had no choice except to take a chance.

Many Tharis are still working in Balochistan. They cannot return because their employers have withheld five months’ salaries to pressurize them to stay back. He said that Sindhis had always been safe in the hands of the Baloch rebels, but this incident has changed the scenario. According to Mushtaque Solangi, the contractor at Sohrab dam project, this incident has spread terror among the workers. They are looking up to the government to ensure their safety. They do not want to return to their homes since they dread dying of hunger.

Among the 25 victims of the Turbat massacre, two belonged to Badin district. Badin is no different from Thar. In spite of being rich in mineral and natural resources, the people of this district are leading a poverty-stricken life. “They are forced to flee from Badin to other cities to earn their living. The government is doing nothing for the people of Sindh whether they are from Thar or Badin,” Muhammad Hanif Samoo a journalist from Badin said.

The government has promised to give compensation money to the tune of Rs one million to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the families of the injured. So far, not a single penny has been given to any of the victims’ families.

When contacted, Senator Ashok Ratnani of the Balochistan National Party told New Lens that he is pursuing the compensation case with the federal government. “I plan to visit the aggrieved families in Thar soon with the compensation money,” senator said.

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Profile: Allah Bux Arisar was born on 1st January, 1977 in Village Haji Abdul Hakim Arisar of district Umerkot Sindh Pakistan which is an underprivileged, geo-physically remote, culturally isolated, socio economically deprived and drought hit area. He received most of his schooling and early college education in district Umerkot and later did graduation from Sindh University of Jamshoro. He is a media trainer, art promoter, social activist, .philanthropist, young leader, and public speaker. He has worked broadly with young people from diverse background. Allah Bux Arisar, with his pen name A.B. Arisar has been contributing his potential extensively in leading English and Urdu dallies and news channels of Pakistan. Currently he works with Dawn Newspaper and Dawn News Tv as its district correspondent based for Umerkot. The geographic standing of Umerkot falls adjoined to Indian border, therefore it has own distinction considering the conventional rivals. His reporting location has another important aspect as the area has equal population of Hindu and Muslims – approximately 1.2 million. Journalism Career He started his career in journalism in 2004 from “The Nation” , then he joined AAJ-TV-an Urdu Channel. In 2008 he joined Dawn media group and since then he is working with it. He has reported several events around the area such as human rights mainly minority rights, religion (interfaith harmony), violence against women and children, politics, health, education, history, culture etc. Along with journalism he has closely worked with multiple right-based organizations and raised the issues of marginalized people through organizing seminars, conferences, workshops, consultations and protest demonstrations. He has also been active in lobbying and advocacy on the issues of bonded labour, child abuse, and child labour, violence against women, minority rights and women rights. He also published stories regarding the plights of voiceless people in regular and social media. His reporting has jolted the concerned quarters and compelled them to address the particular issues. For example his story over killing of bonded laborers by landlord, got attention of authorities and accused was apprehended. For reference please follow below links Woman injured in landlord`s firing dies Main accused in triple murder surrenders He has also remained a member of different fact-finding committees on leading issues pertaining to bonded labourers, child rights violation, minority rights, women rights etc formed by SPARC, PILER, DDAT, Sami Foundation and different human rights organizations. For instance Thar peasants` murder: Fact-finding team casts doubt on investigation Currently he is a member of District Vigilance Committee on Bonded Labour government of Sindh, District Health vigilance committee district Umerkot too. Besides he has also been working to promote interfaith harmony, among Hindus, Muslims and Christians living in the district.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The story is really worth reading, because there was no voice for tharis. On the one hand hunger, drought have killed them. on the other terrorists did not spare them. Well angel how their families will life when they have lost their bread winners. Good job A B Arisar and News Lens Pakistan.

  2. It is fact that this meager amount of one million can not heal the wounds of affected families. Their dreams specially widows and children, education, health how it all can be addressed. Worth reading story

  3. Nice angle of story, how drought-hit Tharis are being killed by hunger or terrorists. keep it up dear A B Arisar

  4. It was an ignored issue. I feel that AB Arisar and News Lens Pakistan have done a great job by reporting the voice of voiceless people. Every information which was produced in report was productive and constructive but the integration of this incident with drought was much important and it prevails. There are several sufferers waiting to be reported. We look forward to News Lens Pakistan team to give space to remote area of Thar.Really miseries of Thari have no end. Bravo A B Arisar again.

  5. Fori taor par qatloon ko griftar kya jaae aur shuhdaa k lawahqeen ki bharpoor maali madad ki jaae , agar iss ki jaga kisi wazeer k khandaan k mare hote to kya phir b hukoomat aise hi khamosh rahti,, sindh hukoomat ko balochistan hukoomat se ehtjaaj kar k iss zulm ka azaalay ka zor dena chaheay…

  6. ye sb kya ho rha pakistan me are pakistan to pak country tha jiska nam hi pak he wo mulk jo khud bhuka rhkr dusre ko bhojan kraye wo mulk tha pakistan aaj pakistan ki conditions ko dekhkr dil beth jata he ki kya ho gya he us pak desh ko jisme gundagrdi, chori,lootpat, hatyaee etc are ye sb bnd kro please please please ye ek pak desh ko sobha nhi deta

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