Lyari’s female boxers: Punching their way out of fear and taboos

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KARACHI: Sardar Uzair Jan Baloch, a gang leader in Karachi’s infamous Lyari Town, and his comrade Noor Muhammad are playing football with the severed head of rival gang leader Arshad Pappu.
Pappu is taken from a posh neighborhood while partying with friends. He is tortured, tied to a car and dragged through Lyari’s narrow streets.
His corpse is thrown on a donkey cart and paraded around before it is burnt and flung into a gutter.
Just 1 km away from where this savagery is perpetrated, Nawab Ali Baloch, a former international boxer, is training nearly a dozen of his female family members.
“There was no concept of women boxing in Pakistan before 2013, when I started training female members of my family,” he told Arab News.
He joined the Pak National Boxing Club in 1952, but left after 20 years to pursue other employment prospects.
Yet he never stopped training boxers, and when no one was around to attend his camp due to fierce gang warfare in the town, he started training his female relatives.
When the number of his students grew, he took them to the Young Boxing Club, where he now trains 48 females aged between 7 and 30.
His club secured eight gold and silver medals in the first boxing championship for women on Nov. 5.
“These girls have never given up. Even when the gangs were fighting, they always attended the classes on time,” he said, adding that there are four boxing clubs in Lyari.
In April 2015, a local female member of Sindh’s provincial assembly, Sania Baloch, suggested that there should be a proper focus on women’s boxing.
Asghar Baloch, general secretary of the Pakistan Boxing Association (PBA), told Arab News: “In May 2015, we announced the Women Boxing Camp in collaboration with the provincial sports department. The response was overwhelming.”
Maria Baloch, 12, has only been participating in the sport for two and a half years, but has already won seven gold medals.
“I used to watch Mohammed Ali on YouTube,” she said. “He inspired me to become a boxer.”
Recalling the challenges she faced, she added: “Although my family supported me from day one, many of my relatives talked about my passion negatively. They thought it wasn’t right for a girl.”
She said her father also opposed the idea since he thought she might get hurt. “I was taught to give equal importance to education, and I try to focus on both,” she added.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, daughter of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the UN ambassador for polio eradication, recently visited the Young Lyari Boxing Club.
“I can’t tell you how happy she was to meet with these girls,” Naz Baloch, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, told Arab News. “Her presence also increased the motivation of the boxers.” Zardari said she was going to provide the girls with equipment and other resources.
Maria said it was an unforgettable moment for the girls, adding: “We had attracted an important political figure to our town.”
Rauf Baloch, former president of the Karachi Boxing Association, said terrorism had caused a lot of damage to the town.
“It ended our education and destroyed our social values,” he said. “Our sports activities also came to a standstill. Fortunately, peace has now been restored to this place and good things are happening to its people.”
He added: “In the good old days, this town was known for football, boxing and other sports. It produced international players, and our clubs provided sports and ethical training to our children.
“In boxing, you get punched and you hit others. It’s not an easy game, but the way our girls are playing is simply awesome. I’m confident we’re gradually reclaiming our old Lyari.”
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Growing threats in Northern Sindh away from Security radar

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By Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Though one of the most dangerous Zones, comprising Jacobabad – the city that was hit by violence this Moharam – , Shikarpur and Sukkar, it has always been put behind while doing planning for maintaining of peace in province, insiders in police force and Sindh homes office say.

Away from the capital, bordered by the troubled Baluchistan with growing evident presence of Indian spy agency, RAW and having unskilled law enforcing force, the cities of Northern Sindh, including Jacobabad, Sukkar and Shikarpur, are fast becoming safe heavens of terrorists, a senior police officer, better called whistleblower, told The Frontier Post on the condition not to be named.

On the contrary, the police official told, there was no planning rather willingness to plan anything for the troubled Zone, which is most likely to become another Waziristan in near future.

Currently, a police team is present in the Jacobabad city to probe the mourning blast this Moharam on 24 October, which left 20 people died besides hurting many others.

Earlier this year in January, a suicide blast in Shikarpur city, some 40 kilometers away from Jacobabad, had left 57 people died. One of the bloodiest terrorists, the blast, was later believed to the work of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the sectarian outfit killing people of the opposite Shia sect.

In January 2013 a blast near the shrine of Ghazi Shah, some ten kilometer away of Shikarpur city, had killed four, including a Gaddi Nasheen of the Dargah, police said. A large number of devotees from Baluchistan and Sindh visit this Dargah, which belonging to Shia school of thought.

A month later the car of Pir Saeen Hussain Shah, an elder of the Barelvi School of thought, was attacked with the bomb in Jacobabad area of the Sindh. Shah escaped assassination the bid, which took the life of his grandson.

In May 2013, reports state, a suicide bomber had attacked the convoy of politicians Ibrahim Jatoi, however, he remained unhurt in assassination bid due to his bulletproof car.

On 24 July 2013, the office of ISI was attacked in Sukkar. Two bombers were also killed in the attack. The proscribed Teheek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Mehmand Chapter had claimed responsibility of the blast. On 17 December 2010, two police personal and the suicide bombers were killed when the later tried to enter the ‘mourning Majlis’ arranged by Jatoi family of the Shikarpur, a report stated.

If this turbulent past was not enough to alert the authorities, who focused their attention on big cities like Karachi and Hyderabad, there were clear information that the troubled region, comprising Shikarpur, Sukkar, and Jacobabad, will be attack.

None other than Director General Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar, while briefing the meeting, a day before the 9th Moharam, informed that in Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Khairpur 104 vulnerable points have been identified, a handout stated, which was also emailed to this scribe.

“Though senior investigators from Karachi are present in Jacobabad to investigate the suicide bomb, it’s hard that their efforts may yield any concert results”, said a source, adding the highly untrained police staff had already spoiled the evidences due to lack of experience.

The troubled region, police sources said, required immediate attention due to three important elements. The cities are near Balochistan border whereas no check post has been setup to filter the influx of terrorists from the south-western province, with huge presence of agents of Indian intelligence agency, RAW, sources said.

The authority has never paid attention to this point.

There is only one forensic lab in the province, in its capital Karachi, which takes hours to be reached from the troubled Zone. No training regarding how to collect forensic evidences, how to preserve them and how to transport them for 100 percent accurate results has been provided to any officials deputed in the region. “As a result the evidences are spoiled” a whistleblower said.

Most of the trained investigators are deployed in the Karachi, which is away from the northern part of the city, sources said.

Published in The Frontier Post

Sindh spots 44 seminaries linked with TTP, Jundullah for action

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By Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to take action against 44 religious seminaries for having link with proscribed organizations, it emerged on Saturday.

Highly creditable sources told that the seminaries spotted for action have also been arranging trainings to the militants.

These revelations were made in a report submitted by Secretary Home Mukhtar Hussain Soomro before the apex committee meeting held in Chief Minister House on Friday, sources said.

The seminaries also include Gulshan-e-Umar Sohrab Goth, which has association with terrorist outfit Jundullah whereas Markaz-e-Uloom-e-Islamia situated in the former Taliban bastion – Manhgopir – has links with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Also read: PRIME CAUSE OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE: Mosques, Imambargahs in Karachi built on encroached land

According to details, out of the seminaries spotted for action 22 are situated in Karachi division alone. Hyderabad has the second highest number of twelve whereas Sukkar has six and Larkana four seminaries which are found involved in harboring and training terrorists.

A data complied police of all districts of Sindh there are 4021 Madrassahs across the southern Pakistan province, out of which 1423 are unregistered.

According to official record a huge number of 387664 local and 663 foreigner students are enrolled in these seminaries where the state and its institutions have zero monitoring.

The data further reveals that 3755 of these Madrassahs belong to Deobandi school of thought whereas 2047 are associated with Barelvi sect. As much as 86 seminaries have affiliation with Shia board and 61 are affiliated with Al Sulfia, Ahle Hadees school of thought.

A Short version of this story was published in The Frontier Post