Commemoration of 13th Anniversary of GM Syed

London- Press Release: World Sindhi Congress (WSC) has organised 13th anniversary of  G M Syed, who struggled all his life for human rights, democracy, secularism and freedom of people.

Over three decades, Saeen was repeatedly detained in various prisons without trial until his death in 1995. The Amnesty International adopted him as a Prisoner of Conscience.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Hyderabad Declaration

Unanimously adopted during National Peace Conference held in Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan on 20 April 2008

We, the participants of the National Peace Conference, belonging to different parts of the country met in Hyderabad on 20th April 2008 to affirm our commitment to peace, social justice and democracy in Pakistan and in the South Asia region.

We also affirm and commit ourselves to the vision of a just political, economic, social and cultural system free of all discrimination and distinction; free from exploitation and oppression– a system that provides opportunity to all individuals to realize their basic human rights.

We express our disagreement with heavy military expenditures by the establishments of Pakistan and other South Asian countries and commit ourselves to campaign for reduction in defense expenditures so that ample funds are available for social development.

National Context:

We, the people of Pakistan, not only share a geographical space but a social and cultural history and social relationship that shapes our lives. We inhabit the land of Sufis who taught the art of coexistence and living together peacefully.

However, we also recognize the reality that ruling civil and military elite have kept people apart by creating walls of suspicion, hostility, intolerance, disinformation and ethnic and religious divide aimed at maintaining the status quo.

Fake and fraudulent concept of national security has been used to terrorize own people to encourage militarization. This system has created a favorable environment for para-military forces to curb democratic debate and dissent on vital issues.

Balochistan: We condemn government military operation in Balochistan and express our solidarity with the people of Balochistan who are engaged in struggle for their rights. Having discussed the issue in detail, we believe that the brutal use of force in Balochistan was uncalled for, unlawful and unnecessary action of Musharaf regime, which has further weakened the foundations of the country.

We demand from the new democratic government to immediately stop military operation in Balochistan and properly investigate motives behind the operation. We also demand immediate release of all �missing people� and action against those who are involved in this illegal act.

We recognize the right of local people over resources and stress the need of having a just and acceptable system of distribution of resources at local, provincial and federal level.

We believe that economic insecurity is a big threat to peace and we demand from the government to make sure that entire population is provided social security coverage.

NWFP: We recognize that people’s rights have been suppressed in NWFP and northern areas in the name of so-called war on terror. We think that it is not Pakistan’s indigenous war but an imported war, which has threatened Pakistan�s foundation. We warn the new government that its being trapped and lured to continue the war by accepting dollars. We demand immediate withdrawal of foreign forces from Pakistani land and provide people an opportunity of peaceful life.

Sindh: We also recognize that Sindh is facing worst law and order situation and demand the government to establish writ of law in the province. We recognize the threat of ethnic divide in Sindh and resolve to live together peacefully and act in a way to brig mind and souls together for a peaceful and prosperous Sindh. We also recognize that Sindh is facing worst law and order situation and demand the government to establish writ of law in the country.

Punjab: We condemn recent bomb blasts in Punjab and believe that the majority of population in Punjab is peace-loving people who have been wrongly portrayed due to the actions of a group of civil military officials. We resolve to work together for provincial harmony.

South Asian Context:

We recognize that South Asia is resource rich region that hosts the majority of the poor people in the world.

We demand from the South Asian states to Reduce military expenditures (least 10% per year);

Increase spending on social sector;

Open borders and allow free mobility of people across countries;

Stop exploitation of labour of fishermen in the name of borders and national security.

We also accept our responsibility to put our efforts to work together for a peaceful South Asia and build peoples’ alliances for collective action and solidarity.

Additional points forwarded by the participant for inclusion in the Hyderabad Declaration:

1. We condemn the killings of the lawyers in Karachi, and demand an independent inquiry to apprehend the culprits.

2. We demand an end to state violence in all forms including the threat to democratic institutions.

3. We demand state acknowledgement of and action for protection and promotion of inalienable cultural, social, economic and political rights of citizens within their chosen nationality and community. This requires fundamental priority in control over and use of all natural resources to local communities for prosperous livelihoods of workers.

4. We demand legislation to stop physical and mental violence against women.

5. We demand legislation to grant equal economic and social rights to women, including home-based workers.

6. The newly elected Parliament must restore the deposed judges to ensure independence of judiciary and repeal the PCO of 3 Nov 2007.

7. We demand link roads and inter-city and intra-city bus services in Balochistan.

8. We demand complete abolishing of the Jirga system in Sindh.

9. We condemn the murder of Jagdesh Kumar in the name of religion and demand inquiry and compensation for the family of the victim.

10. We support he struggles of Anjuman Mazarain Punjab in Okara, Khanewal and Sargodha, of brick kiln workers in Sindh and Punjab, and protest marginalization of the minorities.

11. We condemn the killing of people through suicide attacks and military retaliation against so-called terrorist activities.

12. We condemn the murder of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir.

13. We demand release of Baloch leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Jiyay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz leader Asif Halary, and all other political leaders in sindh and Balochistan.

April 24, 2008

Quratul Ain Hyder had special affinity with Sindhi culture

By Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX

Quratul Ain Hyder, who had arrived in Pakistan in 1947, worked in a number of government organizations before moving back to India in 1960s.

She worked in the Press and Films department, which later became Information Department, as well as PIA publicity department at the inception of the airline. She writes in her autobiography, ‘Kaar-I Jahan Daraaz hai’, that the government of that time, mostly headed by the refugees from India, decided to sever all links with the kafir past of the area and begin the history from 1947. She mentions receiving a directive one day that ordered that the word ‘India’ could not be used anymore in Pakistan (maybe they thought that since India was derived from Indus, it would be sacrilegious to use it for an infidel country –mam) and instead Bharat be used. One day, a journalist, who did not like this meddling with the history, mockingly used the word ‘Red Bharti’ in his newspaper where he should have used ‘Red Indian’. The government got furious at his audacity and after dubbing him a communist put him behind the bars.

It was at that time that people like Mohammad Hasan Askari, Ishtiaque Qureshi, and others started raising the slogan of Islamic past of the country rather than the Indo-Muslim culture of the sub-continent. So much was their hatred for the people and the ancient culture of the area that they decided to change the name of Sindh University, established in 1948, since they thought the word Sindh smelt of the Indian past, to Jamia Karachi, and installed Dr. Ishtiaque Hasan Qureshi, a highly prejudiced man who openly called Sindhi culture, an infidel culture, as the VC of the university to correct its direction. Sindhis were told to open a new university somewhere else if they wanted to keep the name Sindh. Hence a new university with the name Sindh University got started in Hyderabad.

It reminds me one more incident from the same period to show the mindset of those people at that time:

Quratul Ain Hyder, who, unlike other migrants, had developed special affinity with the Sindhi culture, started learning Sindhi language quickly. One day, at Khairpur Mirs railway station, as she was about to board the train for Lahore, she said to Ali Ahmed Brohi, an information officer at that time, “Saaeen, rail jo chittho ta ddiyo” (Sir, give me the train ticket)

Muhammad Hasan Askari, who was standing by,  said to Quraratul Ain, “I can see that within few months you and your cousins will be conversing with each other in pure Sindhi (he used the word ‘Shudh’ Sindhi) instead of your own mother-tongue Urdu”.

Courtesy: SANAlist, April 24, 2008