By Hafeez Tunio
KARACHI: The Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz’s (JSMM) Muzaffar Bhutto, who went missing on February 24, 2011, was found dead near Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old’s bullet-riddled body, also bearing torture marks, was found at the roadside near Hatri and was taken to Civil Hospital, Hyderabad.
In reaction to his murder, aerial firing was reported in parts of Sindh and vehicles were set on fire. The party announced ten days of mourning and a strike to be held across the province today.
Muzaffar’s disappearance in 2011 was the second one as he first went missing in October 2005 from Tariq Road, Karachi. In November 2006, the police alleged that they caught him in an encounter near Jamshoro and also found a large number of arms and ammunition in his possession.
His wife Saima Bhutto told The Express Tribune that Muzaffar was severely tortured and underwent spinal surgery soon after he was released from police custody. “He was neither a terrorist nor a criminal,” she said, claiming that all the cases against him were fabricated as he was acquitted on all charges. “He was a qualified engineer and a political activist working for the rights of people living in Sindh.”
In 2011, his car was reportedly intercepted by men in plainclothes near New Saeedabad en route to Hyderabad. Muzaffar’s family said that intelligence agencies were behind the alleged kidnapping.
The police was initially reluctant to register an FIR but later, under the directives of the court, a case was registered against the police and intelligence agencies. It caught the media’s attention and went on to become a high-profile missing person case.
“A few days ago, two missing persons belonging to my husband’s party were found. This gave us hope but these cruel men killed him,” said an emotional Saima. “I will exact revenge for my husband by going to the courts to register a case against the police and law enforcement agencies.”
Muzaffar was a graduate of the Mehran University of Engineering Technology and worked at the Power House, Jamshoro but was removed from service following his first disappearance in 2005.
He began his political career by joining JSMM which was led by Shafi Burfat. The organisation, which calls for the independence of Sindh, is accused of being involved in numerous attacks on railway tracks in Sindh.
Muzaffar’s brother, Mumtaz Bhutto, was killed almost one and a half years ago in an explosion at the Power House Colony. The family blamed the law enforcement agencies for conducting a raid and using hand grenades to kill Mumtaz. The police maintained that he was killed while making a bomb in his house.
Muneer Cholyani, the JSMM general secretary, said that more than ten party activists were still missing.
Muzaffar’s body will be taken to his ancestral hometown, Sehwan, for the final rites and he will be laid to rest in Sann, Jamshoro near the grave of GM Syed.