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Sindh Minister Malkani deprived 2 million fishermen of livelihood; Civil Society for his removal

HYDERABAD: January 15, 2018. (Abbas Kassar) Civil Society of Sindh comprising leaders of various social and human rights organizations have lambasted provincial minister of fisheries Muhammad Ali Malkani who has occupied many sweet water lakes and deprived more than 2 million fishermen of their basic right of livelihood. They demanded action against him including his removal from cabinet and action under contempt of court which has ordered to remove illegal occupation on natural lakes by ministers, jagirdars and land mafia. Addressing news conference here on Monday members of civil society Zulfiqar Halepoto, Muhammad Ali Shah, Dr.Ashothama, Mustafa Baloch, Kashif Bajir, Professor Ismail Kumbar, Punhal Saryo and others said

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) is the name of a peaceful and progressive platform that strives for the rights of fishing communities natural water resources and overall right based narratives.

Muhammad Ali Shah being its Head is a well-known grass roots community based and civil society activist of Sindh and Pakistan. His life long struggle along with his deceased spouse comrade Ms. Shah and other collogues has always been a source of inspiration for CSOs and right based workers.

They said they, on behalf of Hyderabad Civil Society hereby bring to your information and attention on the illegal occupied sweet water bodies of Sindh and the physical and mental tortures by the ruling Sindh Livestock and Fisheries Minister to PFF chairman & workers for that we all strongly condemn.

They said according to the revenue figures, around 1200 lakes of sweet water are available in Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts of Sindh whereas on ground the local Jagirdars, landlords and land mafia have occupied more than 600 water spaces in last few years and all these are led by Mr. Malkani due to which the livelihood of more than 2 million fishing communities is stopped and their displacement from their folk lands started.

The recent incident and torture attempts on PFF Chairman and workers are very much inhuman and illegal while they were on visit of one of water space (Babli Lake around 30,000 acres) in Sujawal District.

They said importantly to highlight that Sindh high court order (Dated 28-09-2017 C. P. No. D-5454 of 2017) has declared occupation of sweet water lakes as unlawful and such notification has also been issued by fisheries department yet. the court orders are still not implemented by the ruling government and ministries which is an open contempt of court.

PFF led by its chairman Muhammad Ali Shah has been continuing struggle for abolition of water bodies auction for last 10 years. Elites have been harassing to withdraw its struggle and in December 2017 when PFF leaders Muhammad Ali Shah, Noor Muhammad Thahimore and others arrived at Babli lake which was forcibly occupied by minister Malkani and his brother Shaukat, they were kidnapped by goons of above minister and tortured them. They were also threatened to withdraw struggle for fishermen otherwise face the music.

They said now that Sujawal has also been made as no go area for these activists of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and the life of its chairman Muhammad Ali Shah is in danger, too.

They made appeal to Chief Justice Sindh High Court, Chief Minister Sindh and all the human rights groups and individuals to take serious notice of vandalism and violation of such orders by Sindh fisheries minister Muhammad Ali Malkani, his brother Shaukat Malkani and help withdraw their occupation of more than 600 lakes of sweet water to restore same to fishing communities so as to save their families from starvation, protect lives of PFF chairman and other activists. Others who were present at press conference included Kashif Siddiqui, Mahesh Kumar, Azad Mirwahi and Majeed Mallah.

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