Sindh Hari Committee struggles for land rights, 2009


1. The removal of old, false First Investigation Reports (FIR) lodged by Faqir
2. The filing of an FIR in Wali Daad’s case
3. Police protection in Sanghar
4. The regularization of village property
5. The end of Mr. Faqir’s occupation of the Sindh Irrigation Dept. lands that surrounded the village.

Time period

March 22, 2009 to July 15, 2009



Location City/State/Province

Khaskheli, Sindh Province

Location Description

Karachi Press Club
Jump to case narrative

Segment Length

19 days


Wali Daad of Khaskheli (AKA Walidad Khaskheli or Wali Daad Khan, name varies between sources); Sidh Hari Committee; Villagers of Mohammad Essa Khaskheli (AKA Essa Khaskheli Goth, name varies between sources); Joint Action Committee Karachi (JAC)


Not Known

External allies

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum; Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research; Actionaid; Labour Party; Shirkat Gah; Aurat Foundation; Takleeq Foundation.

Involvement of social elites

Justice Rashid Rizvi (a prominent lawyer)


Varyaam (Waryaam) Faqir, Noor Hassan, Dr Hashim, Manzoor Brohi, Noor Mohammed Abro and other landlords in the Sindh region.

Nonviolent responses of opponent

Not Known

Campaigner violence

Not Known

Repressive Violence

Protesters were threatened at gunpoint outside the Karachi Press Club, leading to the heart attack and death of Wali Daad. Repeated threats of violence throughout the hunger strike led villagers to believe they would be massacred if they returned to their village.


Economic Justice
Human Rights
National-Ethnic Identity



Group characterization

Peasants from the Pakistani region of Khaskheli in Sindh Province

Groups in 2nd Segment

Joint Action Committee Karachi
Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research
Shirkat Gah

Additional notes on joining/exiting order

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, Takleea Foundation

Segment Length

19 days

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

6 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


2 out of 3 points

Total points

9 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

Campaigners received the land rights to their land.

Growth occurred through the acquisition of solidarity groups, but not as rapidly as potential.

Database Narrative

The villagers of Goth Muhammad Issa Khaskheli have lived on and farmed their village for the past fifty years, in Sanghar, Sindh, Pakistan. In 2003, a nearby feudal lord, Varyaam Faqir, began encroaching upon their land, despite the fact that they held documented ownership from the Pakistani government. Over a period of years, he began threatening the villagers and forcing them into working in his fields for free. As villagers resisted his demands, the threats became more severe and in 2007 approximately 200 men working for Faqir attacked the village, razing homes and injuring its members.

Unwilling to cede their land to Faqir, villagers held a series of undocumented demonstrations to raise attention for their issue, but the lack of media coverage in rural Pakistan meant that their protest went unnoticed.

In 2009, rumor of a second strike by Faqir’s men spread, and the villagers moved to take action. The brother of the villager’s founder, Wali Daad, began to organize a hunger strike, calling for governmental sanctions against Faqir, and land rights to be given, in writing, to the people of Khaskheli. On March 22, 2009, around 20 villagers assembled in front of the Karachi Press Club, the main media headquarters for much of Pakistan, and began their hunger strike. Fearing violence in their village, more and more members assembled in front of the Press Club, refusing to leave. During the day, they rallied and chanted, waving signs and banners detailing their plight.

During the initial period of hunger striking, the villagers received little to no support, or media attention. However, as they continued to occupy the front of the press club, in growing numbers, the mainstream Pakistani media began reporting on the story. Despite this very limited degree of success, Varyaam Faqir soon intimidated the media into ceasing their reporting.

On April 11, Faqir sent his employees to confront the villagers outside the Press Club, and inform them that if they continued their struggle, everyone in the village would be brutally murdered. Wali Daad, the leader of the villagers, fainted during the confrontation, was taken to the hospital unconscious, had a heart attack, and was pronounced dead the next day.

The death of Wali Daad received a significant amount of media coverage both in Pakistan and around the world. The villagers of Khaskheli attempted to use the death to cast a shadow over Faqir, naming him responsible for the peasant’s death from intimidation, and laying the shrouded body in front of the Press Club for funeral rites in plain view of the world and the international media.

After Wali Daad’s death, Sindh province ministers Shazia Marri and Tauqeer Fatima visited the Khaskheli camp outside the Karachi Press Club, promising compensation of 100,000 Rupee (about $1200), the arrest of the men who intimidated Wali Daad, and the leasing of the village to the villagers, within the week. The villagers returned to Goth Muhammad Issa Khaskheli. However, a week came and passed without any of the above occurring.

On April 20, seventy Khaskheli villagers returned to the Karachi Press Club to begin a second hunger strike for leasing rights to their village’s land. As a result of media coverage and attention surrounding Wali Daad’s death, the villagers had a significant amount of support from a wide variety of Pakistani nonprofit organizations and human and indigenous rights organizations, including the Pakistani Institute on Labor and Research, Shirkat Gah, and the Joint Action Committee Karachi. In addition, the prominent attorney and judge, Justice Rashid Rizvi, provided pro bono legal support.

On May 7, Varyaam Faqir and his associates, Noor Hassan, Dr. Hashim, Manzoor Brohi, Noor Mohammed Abro were detained on charges related to Wali Daad’s death. A city judge ruled that they weren’t eligible for bail. However, both Faqir and Dr Hashim were able to escape with the aid of their men. Police made little attempt to prevent their escape or pursue them after the fact. The villagers continued their hunger strike in the hot sun, waving flags and banners from their veritable encampment outside the Press Club.

On July 15, without warning, the Sindh province ministers announced that they would promptly sign land ownership over to the villagers themselves. This was the first time in Pakistani history that a feudal entity was forced to return land to its original owners. Although the struggle against feudalism and occupation continues in Pakistan, the first land return represented significant progress, and sets a precedent for other villages taking similar actions to reclaim their own properties. 


”CJP urged to take notice of peasant’s death.” 18 Apr 2009: n. pag. Web. 5 Jan 2011.

”DPO launches probe into Walidad case.” 17 Apr 2009: n. pag. Web. 5 Jan 2011.

Indus Watch. ”Victory against Jagirdar inspires call for transparent village regularisation.” Kolachi. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Maestro, Teeth. ”Another update on the peasants Land-Grabbing case & Hunger Strike.” Teeth Maestro. 13 Apr 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Maestro, Teeth. ”Kashkheli Victory – A step forward Against Feudalism in Pakistan.” Teeth Maestro. 15 Jul 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Maestro, Teeth. ”Protest Demo Against the Feudalism in Khaskheli.” Teeth Maestro. 29 Apr 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Maestro, Teeth. ”Protest for the villagers from Muhammad Essa Khaskeli | Pictures.” Teeth Maestro. 13 Apr 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Maestro, Teeth. ”Victims of Feudalism on Hungerstrike – 18-days [and counting].” Teeth Maestro. 9 Apr 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

”Relatives of dead hunger striker resume protest.”World News. Obaid, 21 Apr 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Saqib.”Hari Rally At KPC On April 12” 12 Apr 2009. Online images. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Shah, Zulfiqar. ”Urgent support and solidrity(sic).” 19 May 2009. Online Posting to Socialist Pakistan News. Web. 5 Jan 2011.

”The rise and rise of Waryam Faqir Khaskheli.” 17 Apr 2009: n. pag. Web. 5 Jan 2011.

Usmani, Adaner. ”Struggling for Land.” Zamana Oct 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2011. <>.

Additional Notes

Edited by Max Rennebohm (31/05/2011)

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Hanna King, 05/01/2011