Youth’s murder in Hyderabad sparks ethnic tensions

Police launch crackdown against supporters of nationalist parties

Police on Thursday launched a crackdown against those allegedly involved in ransacking and forced closure of the shops of local Pashtuns in Thatta following the killing of Bilawal Kaka in Hyderabad at the behest of a hotel owner a few days back.

Reacting strongly to the incident in Thatta the other day, an unruly mob comprising supporters of nationalist parties stormed shops belonging to Pashtuns and vandalised their property reportedly said to be worth millions and compelled them to shut their shops after which the situation turned violent. Afterwards, shop owners ran to safety after putting the shutters of their shops down.

Following the tense episode, supporters of nationalist parties joined by members of civil society staged a vigorous protest against the brutal killing of innocent youth at the hands of what they called an outsider. The annoyed protesters condemned the silence of the ruling party and feared its interference in the case to protect the main accused who is in the custody of the police.

An FIR was lodged under sections 504, 147,148, 149 and 506/2 of Pakistan Penal code 1860 against 10 known and 30 unknown persons. After that, Thatta police conducted raids on different places across the district and arrested Arbaz Dars, Pir Shah Hussain Shah and Murtaza Sheikh on Thursday morning while a hunt was on for the remaining accused.

Fahad Karnani, head of Thatta Youth Forum, a sub-group of a nationalist group, said that their supporters protested peacefully but the police had implicated them in a false case. He added that they wanted justice for the youth murdered publicly. Thatta SSP said that they were sensing a wave of ethnic riots in Sindh and would take all possible efforts to avert such unrest.

Widespread protests have been witnessed against the killing of Bilal Kaka, with people from different walks of life coming on roads in Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mithi, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Jamshoro, Dadu, Sanghar, Tando Bago, Matli, Tando Adam, Pangrio, Islamkot, Qazi Ahmed, Khairpurkar, Ghotki, Sukkur, Kandhot, Kashmore and other big and small towns.

The protesters said that the people of Sindh were feeling “totally unsafe and insecure due to the influx of people from other provinces and Afghanistan.” The incident and the ensuing backlash were triggered after the killing of Bilal Kaka in a clash at a restaurant on the Hyderabad bypass on Monday. It is not clear what triggered the clash. There have been claims that Bilal Kaka was a notorious character who had a habit of refusing to pay. Others say that it escalated after complaints over the taste. Witnesses said that men armed with iron rods attacked each other and bullets started flying with one hitting Bilal, fatally.

A police mobile was also present near the hotel, but despite the firing and altercation, they did not intervene. The incident has resulted in ethnic tensions, with reports of groups of people forcing restaurants and tea shops owned by Pashtuns to close down. Videos of such incidents have already surfaced and are widely shared on social media.

Kamran Khamiso Khowaja is the district correspondent of Daily Minute Mirror From Thatta and Sujawal. He covers social, political, environmental and cultural stories. He can be reached on Twitter @ZaibSha1 and through email at