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Sunday Feb 16 2020
Web Desk

Geo Special Report: The never ending Teghani-Bijarani conflict in Sindh's Kashmore

Web Desk

Some of the bloodiest tribal disputes start off over petty matters and end up impacting the lives of even those who have never had any direct link to them.

One such dispute has been raging in Sindh's Kashmore district since 2004.

There is still no end to it in sight.

Three powerful tribes of the area — Teghani, Ogai and Bijarani — are involved in this dispute, which has claimed the lives of dozens of people in the last few years.

Journalist Sheeraz Zaman Bijarani has nothing to do with the fight between the three tribes, but his life is now in danger because of them.

Geo News met Zaman in Kandhkot city in district Kashmore. His house had been attacked a day before we arrived to interview him.

In the most recent development in this fight, the Ogais and Teghanis both abducted members of each other's tribes. This happened after someone allegedly let animals owned by the Teghanis on to land owned by the Ogais.

Although Zaman had nothing to do with what happened, he suffered because he belongs to the Bijarani clan.

A month before he was targeted, he had lost one of the farmers working on his land.

Fight over buffaloes

In the fight, the Ogai and the Bijaranis are united against the Teghanis.

The conflict between the three tribes started in 2004, when the Teghanis were accused of stealing Ogai buffaloes.

As payback, buffaloes belonging to the chief of the Teghani tribe, Sardar Teghu Khan, were stolen by the aggrieved parties.

The matter gradually escalated, rapidly turning bloody.

By 2012, close to 102 lives had been lost. Several were injured; many were left handicapped. The Ogais bore the brunt of the conflict, losing the most members of their clan.

The tribes were forced into a peace agreement the government.

Under the agreement, the Teghanis were slapped with a fine for the atrocities they had committed. However, the fines were never paid to the affected people, and the conflict still continues.

Sardar Mehboob Bijarani

No de-escalation

“My father, Mir Hazar Bijarani, ended the conflict, but the Teghani's murdered a Bijarani again. The conflict escalated due to this,” Sardar Mehboob Bijarani told our team.

He added that after the murder, him and Teghu Khan had tried reconciling the parties, but the Teghanis did not respond.

“Another date was set [for a meeting] but the Teghani's never showed up,” claimed Bijarani.

Rivals have accused the Teghani tribe for starting the feud and blame their chieftain for sheltering criminals.

Sardar Teghu Khan, when asked about the allegations, claimed that he has been blamed for sheltering criminals since 1994 and these claims are yet to be proven.

“Such allegations are always leveled against chieftains,” stated Khan. He added that his tribe stood against those who committed injustices.

Security guards taking position at a post. Geo News screengrab

“It is on the record that I have caught them [criminals] and handed them over, have you [the Ogais and the Bijaranis] ever done so?” asked Khan.

Dr Ibrahim Jatoi, who has also tried to reconcile the feuding tribes, shared that the warring tribes had agreed to end their differences, but the deal was broken.

“We hope that they reconcile; but for this, their elders need to sit together and resolve the problem,” urged Jatoi.

Another influential personality of the area, Ghous Bux Mehar, was of the view that government should take action “with its eyes closed [to bias]” and not let anyone off easily.

“The government will have to swallow a bitter pill once,” said Mehar.