Ethnic tensions flare up in Pakistan following killing of Sindhi youth Bilal Kaka

An uneasy calm prevailed in parts of Karachi on Friday after a call for protest and strikes was given by ethnic groups in the wake of the killing of 35-year-old Bilal Kaka in Hyderabad and a violent demonstration at Sohrab Goth yesterday that followed the incident.

Shops and hotels, owned by Pashtuns, were closed by the Sindhis as the ethnic tensions flared up in several districts in Sindh province, media reports said.

Bilal Kaka, a Sindhi youth was shot dead by Pathans at a restaurant over a food bill during Eid-ul-Azha.

According to the media reports, the hotel owners allegedly shot dead Bilal Kaka and injured his two friends after a dispute over a food bill at the Super Salateen Hotel near Wadhu Wah near Hyderabad bypass – one of the most popular areas in Hyderabad.

In the aftermath of the killing, there were massive protests registered across the Sindh province. The leaders from across the political spectrum unanimously called for calm, urging people not to let rogue elements disturb the social harmony of the province, reported Dawn.

Several violent incidents were reported in the province on Thursday. Several political parties, including JI, MQM-Pakistan, Awami National Party, and nationalist leaders Jalal Mehmood Shah and Ayaz Latif Palijo issued statements, urging both Sindhis and Pashtuns — the two groups at the heart of these tensions — to demonstrate restraint.

The political parties also demanded the government to take prompt action to defuse the tensions.

According to the local media, illegal Afghan residents are involved in narcotics and money lending at a heavy rate of interest. It further noted that they were also involved in killing the Sindhi youths.

Local media further pointed out that police authorities and others in law-enforcement departments do not act against such elements.

They said Balal Kaka’s case is not just one isolated case but it is the result of an influx of outsiders into Sindh. They said peaceful political movements are the only way out to get rid of outsiders’ influx into Sindh.

Meanwhile, Sindh United Party Chairman and Convener of Sindh Action Committee, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said that the law-and-order problem in Sindh is increasing because of the Afghans living in Sindh and others coming to Sindh from elsewhere.

Hundreds of protesters from the Kaka tribe took to the national highway in Sindh province to protest against the killing of Balal Kaka.

Rallies were held at Qambar, Jacobabad, Nawabashah, Tando Mohammad Khan, Halan, and at Kariyo Ghunoor by different groups including nationalist Jiye Sindh Quami Mahaz and Awami Tehreek, Sindh Tarqui Pasand’s Students’ Federation and Sindh United Party.

Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) has announced demonstrations across Sindh Friday on July 15 demanding the ouster of outsiders in Sindh, reported local media.

JSQM chairman said that Afghans staying in Sindh are the major reason for ruining Sindh.

Taking a dig at authorities, he said that the Afghans also seem to have got licences now to kill Sindhi youth in Karachi and Hyderabad.

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