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Mafia, Govt Nexus Comes Hard on Journalists in Sindh

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That was a joyful moment for Manzoor Hussain Bhughio when his news story aired, that disclosed the nexus of oil mafia and district Police of Shaheed Benazir Abad, around 250 Kilo Meter away from Karachi one of the coastal city of Pakistan.

However, the pleasant moments quickly vanished when his residence was attacked by armed men in a small Village near Nawab Shah Town.

This was not something new for journalist and not the first and last incidents when journalists come under attack. This often happened because of lawlessness, which is prevailing in the country due to bad governance, said Manzoor Hussain Bhughio.

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reported that eleven incidents of firing were reported until 2019 in which while armed persons targeted residence of journalists in Pakistan.

The PPF report stated that the first incident took place during 2003, then two cases reported during 2005 and one each in 2006 and 2007.

PPF report disclosed that last firing incident occurred in 2018 on journalist residence, prior this during 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2012, 2015-16, no incident targeting journalists were reported.

Lawlessness is one of the threats to journalists in Pakistan because of strong nexus between criminals and authorities, and my house was also targeted because of it, Bhughio added.

Bhugio broke the story about the nexus of oil mafia, local police and state-run institution, Pakistan State Oil (PSO), within the limit of two districts Shaheed Benazir Abad and Sanghar.

PSO depot is situated near Daulat Pur Safan small town in district Shaheed Benazir Abad that supplies oil to different multinational companies which are engaged in the drilling of oil and gas in Sanghar.

News Story disclosed the wrongdoings and nexus between state-run organizations, law enforcement agencies and mafia, which ultimately caused heavy losses to the national exchequer, said Bhughio.

Other agencies of the government may be part of this nexus, but he hasn’t any evidence but how it is possible these would have been unaware what’s going on within their remit? said Bhughio.

Manzoor revealed that he was also offered a bribe to remain silent when I was working on the story and the concerned people got to know about intentions.

Sindh ranks second in terms of worst condition of law & order compared to other provinces of Pakistan and stands top in bad governance, revealed by Two researcher Dr Shamim Soomro and Mrs. fahmeeda Soomro http://sujo.usindh.edu.pk/index.php/THE-GOVERNMENT/article/view/942.

Their research “Corruption: Socio-Political Perspective in Pakistan” reveals that there are two methods of Corruption, blackmailing and extortion, which are being practised in Sindh.

Manzoor said, that upon denial to accept a bribe, they resorted to strong-arm tactics like blackmailing, attacking my home and firing gunshots at my residence. This was a message for me to refrain from doing work on this story and airing it, otherwise, be ready for the dire consequences, he added.

Dr Shamim Soomro and Mrs. fahmeeda Soomros’ research reveals further that lawlessness is because of corruption in Police, which is mandated for maintaining the law and order in the province.

Bhughio deplored that he had not received any support by police against oil mafia because police are part of that nexus. When Journalist fraternity mounted pressure Superintendent of Police Shaheed Benazir Abad took notice and directed stern action against culprits, he added.

Later, the people who were involved in firing at my house came to Press Club and tendered an apology for their unlawful act, he said.

According to the PPF report that no action has been taken yet against the culprits who are responsible for the firing.

No doubt lawlessness and nexus between mafias and police exist in the province; senior journalist Qazi Asif said and opined that in such difficult circumstances journalists should do their professional work by following the journalism guidelines and safety measures.

Asif said that being journalist, one should be fair, unbiased and should apply double check the facts, avoid to include fillers or unconfirmed information and opinion of all stakeholders’ should be part of the story, he added.

He said that nexus works in the province, however, it is an undeclared alliance of law enforcement agencies and criminals which creates lawlessness, unfortunately, the journalists are also part of that nexus, said Qazi Asif

Whoever goes against the interests of mafias and work against the nexus between the mafia and government functionaries, face the situation alike, added Asif.

A former Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Chuttal Khan Chachar agreed that such nexus exists in the province to earn the money through unfair means. However, he believed that these networks can be eliminated if the police want to do so.

As the story of Bhughio attempted to damage their network and came into the knowledge of higher authorities, so they targeted him, he added.

Ex.DIG opined and said that these acts of the mafias are meant to silence those voices, which are raised against their interests.

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