A Hindu trader has been shot dead by unknown assailants in Daharki town in Ghotki district, Sindh, late Monday night. The slain man’s pleas to police to respond to death threats he had been receiving fell on deaf ears.
The victim, Sutan Lal Dewan, aged 50, was shot dead by armed men while returning home from an inauguration ceremony at a cotton factory. A close relative, Harish Kumar, was also injured in the incident and was shifted to a hospital in Rahimyar Khan for treatment. This was the second time the trader’s life had been targeted.
Days before the fatal attack, a video of an injured Sutan Lal went viral on social media. In the clip Sutan Lal can be seen saying that he had been attacked, and that his life remained in danger. He claimed his nephew and four accomplices had attacked him over a land dispute, and were continuing to issue death threats against him.
Sutan Lal claimed the assailants told him to leave to India if he wanted to stay alive. Sutan Lal can be seen defiantly saying in the video that despite the threats on his life, he will not leave his motherland, Pakistan, but instead would die in his native Sindh.
The man said he reported the attack and death threats against him to police, but police did not take any action.
Following the man’s murder, members from both the Hindu and Muslim communities staged a demonstration in front of the Daharki Police Station and demanded the immediate arrest of the killers. A complete shutdown of the town was being observed to mourn the death of the trader
In a tweet, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Minority wing said, “Yesterday it was a Christian [and] today a Hindu citizen is assassinated in Daharki Sindh. Minorities are among the most vulnerable here.”
PML-N MNA Kheeal Das Kohistani said, “Persecution of minorities begins once again. The lives and property of minorities have begun to be snatched away.”
The PML-N MNA added that he was speaking with local law enforcement who would pursue the perpetrators and provide protection to the decedent’s family
Senior journalist Imtiaz Chandio shared images from the man’s funeral, and said, “This is the punishment for loving Sindh. Sutan Lal had earlier been attacked. At that time he said that he was being told to leave Pakistan, but he refused to leave this country. ‘I will die here,’ he said… Today he is dead.”
Speaking to the Friday Times, Krishan Sharma, the regional leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Minority wing, held the government of Sindh responsible for their alleged failure to protect religious minorities in the province.
“It was the responsibility of the area police and other authorities to do justice with the victim when he was attacked and injured,” he said. Mr. Sharma said that he would take up the matter with top leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Sindh.