Sindh govt yet to reopen murder case against Jakhrani

* FIR registered in 2002 against sports minister, his father, two relatives 
* Police yet to arrest any nominated individual

By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: Despite the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) claims that it seeks to protect religious minorities, the Sindh government has yet to reopen a murder case against Federal Sports Minister Ejaz Jakhrani, who was nominated in a first information report for allegedly killing a Hindu leader, Sudhamchand Chawla.

Being the president of the Hindu Panchait and a political activist, Chawla belonged to Jacobabad, where influential feudal lords such as the Jakhrani tribe – led by Ejaz Jakhrani – and the Soomro tribe led by former Senate chairman Muhammadmian Soomro were struggling to for political control.

Chawla was murdered on January 18, 2002. The Hindus of the area took our rallies and protests spread to almost every district of Sindh. 

FIR registered: Due to public pressure, the Jacobabad City Police Station had registered an FIR under sections 302, 337 H2 and 109, 32 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the request of the victim’s brother, Kanwar Lal, against Ejaz Jakhrani and his relatives Mumtaz Jakhrani and Majeed Jakhrani.

The police also nominated Jakhrani’s father – Mir Ahmed Khan alias Babul Khan Jakhrani – in the FIR for “forcing the culprits to kill Chawla”.

Yet to arrest: Despite the registration of the case, police have not arrested any individual nominated in the FIR owing to their political influence.

On December 12, 2007, then district police officer of Jacobabad Munir Ahmed Khuhro wrote a letter to the Sindh inspector general asking for permission to arrest Jakhrani, but received no response.

In the letter, a copy of which Daily Times managed to obtain, the DPO wrote to the IG that the “Jakhranis was involved in robberies, kidnappings for ransom and had murdered Chawla”, therefore he must be granted permission to arrest Ejaz Jakhrani.

After being contacted by Daily Times, Munir, who is now working as the Traffic SP in Karachi, said he couldn’t recall the details of the case and “he was not in a position to explain why the permission was not granted”. 

Being influential figures of the district, the Jakhranis threatened Chawla’s family to withdraw the case. The frightened Chawlas approached higher authorities for protection, but according to the current president of the Hindu Panchait, Mahesh Lal, the threats forced the family to migrate to India.

“We have asked Kanwar Lal several times to come here and fight the case, and everyone in the town and throughout the province will support him, but he is afraid and refuses to return to Pakistan,” Mahesh said.

Withdrawn: The Jakhranis later managed to have their names withdrawn from the FIR and change the nominated to “unidentified persons”.

Jacobabad City Police Station SHO Sikandar Soomro read out the old FIR and confirmed that it was registered against Ejaz Jakhrani and his relatives Mumtaz Jakhrani and Majeed Jakhrani. “But later the names were withdrawn from the FIR and I don’t know how it happened, as it was done before I joined this police station,” he said.

“The case is now against unidentified persons and has an A-class status, which means it was suspended temporarily and can be reopened at any time,” he added.

Separately, Jakhrani said he did not remember any such case. “Even if there is any case, I don’t want to comment on it,” he said.