Sindh's Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (Retired) Maqbool Baqir on Friday ordered a detailed probe into an alleged incident which took place in Sakrand Taluka of Nawabshah district, where four villagers were killed in an exchange of fire with security officials.
Justice Baqir directed the caretaker provincial home minister to submit a detailed report regarding the incident.
The incident occurred in the Mari Jalbani village near Sakrand town on Thursday when large contingents of Sindh Police, accompanied by the paramilitary Rangers, raided it in search of militants aligned with the criminal Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army.
Local police said that they had received a tip-off about a young university student who was allegedly involved in some illegal activities and had taken shelter there and that the police launched the action to trace him.
However, in a statement, the Rangers termed it an operation against high-value terrorists.
But during the raid, a skirmish broke out between the security officials and villagers, culminating in gunfire that left at least four villagers dead.
Sindh United Party (SUP) Secretary General Roshan Burriro said those killed were supporters of his party, disputing the official figures to claim that at least six people had been killed and four were critically wounded.
He added that the incident had created a tense atmosphere in the area.
The incident drew widespread condemnation, with the hashtag #SakrandBleeds trending on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
In a post on social media platform X (erstwhile Twitter), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called for an independent probe into the incident, adding that there is no excuse for extrajudicial killing.
The deaths of at least four people, killed allegedly by law enforcement agencies during a security operation in a village near #Sarkand in Sindh, must be investigated independently. While the government should take all possible steps to improve law and order in the province, this…— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) September 29, 2023
Later on Friday, Caretaker Chief Minister Baqir condemned the incident and asked for a detailed report on the matter. He also formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident and directed them to report their findings within four days.
An order subsequently issued by the Sindh Home Department said that Hyderabad Commissioner Syed Khalid Hyder Shah will head the inquiry committee, including the Shaheed Benazirabad Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and Karachi Special Branch DIG.
The committee will investigate the matter to "determine the reasons for this clash resulting in loss of precious lives and injuries to law enforcement personnel and will submit a detailed report within the next four days".
Meanwhile, an FIR of the incident has been lodged at the Skarand police station under sections 302 - murder, 324 - attempt to murder, and 34 - acts by multiple people to further common intention, of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
However, the FIR does not contain any sections about terrorism.
The Sindh Bar Council has announced a boycott of court proceedings across the province tomorrow (Saturday) to protest the incident.
Moreover, protests were held in different parts of Sindh against the incident.
It is pertinent to mention that in an earlier statement, the provincial home minister referred to the victims as "terrorists".