However, standing in Kaka Pir, mysterious deep silence and fear at villagers faces depicts, how horrific past episodes were? Locals still watching terrifying dark clouds hovering over them.
Among others one young boy, 26, staring for several minutes and then reluctantly and on condition of anonymity said, “don’t ask for land-mafia activities, as I’m the only bread earner for my whole family of seven, media always wants a story, not interested in our future.”
“Journalists are visiting occasionally but these police and politically protected mafias are daily visitors, there informers existing within fishermen community and are spying for these gangs, so, I don’t want to lose my soul.” youngster stressfully added.
One of the old fisherman and resident of Manora island, Majeed Baba, 73, rang the alarm bells by saying, “Ruthless destruction of mangroves in Boat Basin, Natti-Jatti, Kaimari and Manora, need more sacrifices… Abdul Ghani and Abu Bakkar have set an example; rest will follow that because we can sacrifice our lives but not the generations.”
Abdul Ghani, one of the deceased, was pioneer in protecting mangrove forests from timber and land mafia. He set up the Fisherfolk Development Organisation (FDO), which later partnered with the international organizations and started “Mangroves Eco-Tourism” in assistance with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) but this informative recreational programme has also been put on halt since his death.
“Eco-Tourism suffered because gangsters have murdered our two brothers, one fiber glass boat has been completely burnt while other two suffered damages.” Now, FDO organizer, Haji Muhammad Siddique told Weekly Pulse.
Abdul Ghani and Haji Abbu Bakkar’s families still awaiting justice even after one year after those horrific murders, but still, there is no trace of early dispensation of justice and nothing done in terms of livelihood for effected families.
“No one will impart justice to the effectees, accept Allah Almighty (God, the Great), and when justice will be disseminated”, by taking deep breath and pointing fingers towards soil, he said, “this land will grab the land-grabbers” Majeed Baba added.
Passionate fishermen of Kaka Pir village believe that mangroves are the God’s soldiers, erected to defend storms and tsunamis, prevent coastal erosion, incubate variety of fish, shrimps and preventing food chain for birds, sea creatures and giving means of livelihood to fishermen families.
“Land-mafia had killed two green activists, and now making mockery. Today every fisherman is environmental activist and we all will save mangroves and precious land till our last breathe”, Chairman PFF, Muhammad Ali Shah added.
Green activist, advisor on coastal ecosystem with IUCN and famously known as ‘father of mangroves’, Tahir Qureshi sorrowfully termed green activists murder as brutal act and plead to end point scoring by certain quarters and to act.
“We have protested and forest department sindh has lodged FIR, but then some civil society organizations have started number game; ignoring the legal aspects of unfortunate killings and conservation of mangroves and welfare of related communities while local residents also indulge in meaningless war of words”.
Chief Conservator (mangroves), Sindh forest department, Agha Tahir loudly appealed the civil society, media and non-governmental entities to come forward to save mangroves and coastal residents.
“Forest department is a party to the case and fighting hard to save precious mangrove reserves and associated communities, who act as a catalyst for green revolution along coastal areas but others should feel their responsibilities and act as well”.
Unveiling the future plans, local residents of Kaka Pir and their development organization, FDO, announced revival of eco-tourism and mangroves plantation campaign.
“So far, 75,000 mangrove saplings were planted during 2010 and 2011 respectively. fishermen will now plant 5000 mangrove saplings in the name mangrove martyrs while UNDP-supported Eco-Tourism project, soon be revived, boats will be repaired, tourists will shortly be able to visit the bird watching tower and enjoy lunch at floating hut”, Haji Siddique vigorously elaborated.
Despite of several dreadful episodes in their lives, by and large, peaceful fishermen community in and around Kaka Pir, are hopeful that state, non-governmental organizations, civil society and court of law would act to end their sufferings and for sustainable green peace with ‘Mangroves’ and committed to act upon the cause initiated by twin ‘Mangrove Martyrs’.