As Imran Khan and the PTI vociferously protest the death of their worker in Faisalabad, many mothers elsewhere in the country must be sitting lamenting their sons and wondering who will lock down the country and force the state to answer why their sons will not return. While we all got used to missing persons and tortured bodies in Balochistan, it’s odd to find Sindh becoming part of the same tragic cycle.
Death and dead bodies are not new to Sindh. Every decade since the 1980s, the province has bled for one reason or the other. But this current spate of killings seems to be a new pattern. It is almost as if Sindhi nationalism is being woken up. Interestingly, the six dead bodies found recently did not belong to violent nationalists. In fact, five out of the six were men who had moved on in life. Notwithstanding old associations with the JSMM, these people were not actively involved in any ‘anti-state’ activity or even in party politics.
In any case, one thought that from the state’s perspective, Sindh was not Balochistan. The province had been through this phase during the 1980s when people challenged the military regime and were killed for it. Like Balochistan, Sindh was politically vibrant. The Sindhi media and intelligentsia was politically active and educated people about issues in its own language. Fast-forward to the 2000s, things were manipulated and changed. Despite the media still being active, it has begun to behave and sound more like the media in the rest of the country. What the state couldn’t purchase or silence was bought over by influential dons.