World Sindhi Congress participated in UN Human Rights Council, Geneva

WSC PARTIDCIPATES IN THE NINTH SESSION OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, GENEVA
Ms Suraiya Makhdoom, Senior Vice-Chair, World Sindhi Congress participated in the 9th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva .
During her visit, Ms Makhdoom spoke about the current situation in Sindh, attended the Human Rights Council, some of the NGOs briefings and met various delegates from all over the world.
Speaking in a briefing on South Asia , Ms Makhdoom highlighted the main current problems of Sindh, such as, Centralising of Sindh resources without the consent of the people of Sindh Examples: Coal resources of Sindh are being taken away by the central govt.

The  Federal government has taken control of the coal resources of Sindh by creating a new body through a notification only. Thar Coal Authority, established by the Federal government, is to be managed by the Federal government and not the Sindh government, which was doing so under the provincial law and authority.
The Peoples Party government in Sindh resisted the above take over first, but finally gave in. The people of Sindh and the civil society have been protesting against it.
Ms Makhdoom said the federal government has been interfering with the development of coal resources of Sindh. In 2004 a Chinese company invested $1.5 billion in Thar by installing machinery but the federal government forcibly shut down the project.
The above move of the Central government is unconstitutional as the constitution guarantees provincial autonomy in this matter. The present government has shown to be no different than their predecessors in usurping the resources of Sindh.
Motorways and High ways of Sindh: the Central govt has taken away many Motorways or highways of Sindh. So now the people pay toll tax on their roads to the Central government instead of the Sindh government. This again shows the federal government has no respect for the constitution of the country. It does not pay any heed to the sentiments of the people of Sindh and has no interest in their welfare and self esteem.
Sindh language: the website of Sindh Assembly is in English and Urdu, but not in Sindhi. So the people of Sindh can’t access their Assembly site in their language.
Elaborating the point Ms Makhdoom said that Sindhi language has been the target  right from the inception of the country. The present elected government too is continuing with the same policies and have shown no signs of redressing the damage done to Sindhi language by the previous regimes so much so that they have even failed to provide a website of the Sindh Assembly in Sindhi.
Sindhi was the official language of Sindh even under the British rule. But after the partition Sindhi medium schools were closed down and so forth. Hence Sindh lost its language as well as many other things by joining country . When for the first time there was an elected govt in Sindh in the 1970s, Sindh Assembly passed the Sindhi Language Bill declaring Sindhi to be the official language of Sindh.  Previously there used to be some sign posts in Sindhi, but during the last government, all the sign posts in Sindh, especially in the cities have been written in non-Sindhi and even the website of Sindh Assembly is not in Sindhi. PTV had only one hour programme in Sindhi, but Musharraf govt closed down that as well. Sindhi artists protested, but nothing happened.
The audience took a sympathetic view and even the Chair agreed that there were problems with the Sindhi language

Apart form the briefings, Ms Makhdoom attended the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Council’s meeting with the NGOS. That was very useful. It was good to see and hear the OHCHR in person. This meeting focused on hearing NGO’s concerns, suggestions, etc. for the conduct OF HR Commission business and other issues. The new UNHCHR, Ms Navanethem Pillay Comes from South Africa . She was a front-line, grassroots lawyer who acted as a defence attorney for many anti-apartheid campaigners and trades unionists. Her many illustrious assignments include serving as a judge on two of the most important international criminal courts of the modern times, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Criminal Court in the Hague. During her visit to the UN, Ms Makhdoom also attended the meeting of the UNHR Council, where on 18th September she had the honour of listening to the Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who presented the Report of the special fact finding mission on the HR violations of Israel in Beit Hanoun.
On 19th September the Council debated agenda Item 8 entitled “Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.” In this debate, Two NGOs, Association for World Education and International Humanist and Ethical Union referred to the honour killings and other crimes against women in Pakistan. Humanist and Ethical Union mentioned recent cases in Punjab and Balouchistan and quoted a Baloch Senator as saying, “these are centuries old traditions and I will continue to defend them.

Sep 28, 2008

Washington DC Discussion on “Baloch and Sindhi rights”

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The following are my notes and impressions from the discussion on “Sindhi and Baluch Rights” held in Washington DC yesterday.

Key Take-aways from Washington DC Discussion on “Baluch and Sindhi rights” held on September 27.

Washington DC, September 27, 2008: The American Friends of Baluchistan, a local organization of Baluch rights and their supporters, organized a discussion on “Baloch and Sindhi struggle for rights with Asif Ali Zardari’s rise to the presidency”. The event was held at a local restaurant on Saturday, September 27, 2008.

The organizer Mr. Ahmar Mustikhan welcomed participants, who introduced themselves and briefly stated their expectations from the discussion session. On a point raised by Dr. Jawaid Bhutto that the focus of the discussion should not be on one or more individuals but rather on the root causes and solutions, every one agreed to broaden the subject and not limit the discussion to only the context of Zardari’s ascend to the Presidency of Pakistan.

Dr. Safdar Sarki (http://www.pakusonl ine.com/page. aspx?page_ id=57), General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) (http://www.geocitie s.com/jeaysindh_ org/press. html) stated that he and his party are not against any individuals. They are only against the actions taken by individuals that suppress rights of Sindhis and Baluch. Pressing his point about the unfair treatment being melted out to Sindhis, he said that Sindh produces 60% of gas, 40% of oil, and 67% of revenue in Pakistan and yet receives back only 23% of benefits for this contribution. He said that in the last few decades, the successive Pakistani governments have treated Sindh and Sindhis with discrimination and attempted to make them happy with peanuts and lollipops. He asserted that 1973 constitution has lost its credibility and validity as none of the provisions for provincial equitability has been acted upon. He said, “An example of this is that concurrent lists were supposed to have been abolished within 10 years but after 35 years, many more provincial rights have been encroached and put in the constitution. The new “social contract” that Mohtarama Bhutto talked about had much to do with enshrining the principles of the 1940 resolution. Nothing short of a new constitutional setup where the main legislative body has equal number of seats from each province would be acceptable.

Dr. Wahid Baluch, http://intellibrief s.blogspot. com/2006/05/balochistan-drwahid-baloch- for.html, former Deputy Speaker of Baluchistan Assembly and President of Baloch Society Of North America (BSO-NA) USA (http://www.bso-na.org/index. html) said, “We know Mr. Zardari has no real power as in spite of his assurances, the war still continues to be wedged against Baluch.” He added “We look at the positive side and are hopeful that some positive results would result from Mr. Zardari’s presidency. It is more probable that only some cosmetic changes would come about during his rule and the root causes will remain unresolved.” Giving an account of his recent meetings with the US officials, he said that he sees hopeful signs of some understanding about the Baluch point of view. He said that it US officials are quite uneasy that after 10 billion financial assistance to Pakistan, there is very little evidence that Taliban and Al-Qaida have been weakened. If anything they appear to have become much stronger and are now pose a very serious risk to Pakistan’s stability.

Mr. Amir Baloch, a local Baluch leader expressed that he was not very optimistic of any positive results and said that so far, the only tangible results of some improvement are that the wholesale allotment of lands to MQMwallas in Gawadar Sea port has been stopped. He was afraid that that Baluch and Sindhis expereincing a false sense of security and will lower their guards thinking that as a Sindhi of Baluch origin is now in the top position, they can go back to their hibernation.

Mr. Faisal Qazi. a well-known journalist and Chief editor of local Pakistani newspapers Asian Tribune (published in Urdu and English) and Pakistan Journal posed a very interesting question. He said, where as, the National Awami Party, the main nationalist party of Pakhonwa (offical nane NWFP Province) has secured electoral successes in that province, Sindhi and Baloch nationalist parties have not achieved similar successes. Dr. Jawaid Bhutto answered that it is simply the fact PPP is the most popular political party in Sindh and Sindhis have consistently voted for that party in the belief that this party would deliver them their rights.

Mr. Ahmar Mustikhan said that he believes that the main culpirts behind the assassination of Mohtarama Benzar Bhutto are not “fundamentalist” forces but this is a dirty deed of agencies and some Generals. He added that the Benazir Bhutto’s elimination from the poltical scene is a great loss for Sindhi, Baloch, and people of Pakistan. Ms. Nafeesa Hoodbhoy said that it is too simplistic blame security establishment for this crime. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had become too close to USA and USA has many enemies in Pakistan. The fact is that we do not know who killed her. For the same reason, Mr. Zardari too has become the most threatened person in Pakistan.

Mr. Aijaz Sindhi, a local journalist, said that Sindhis are still waiting for the restoration of their rights under the new PPP government. He said that onlaught on Sindhi rights continues. He gave examples of the recent federal actions to privatize Qadirpur gas fields in Sindh http://www.apakista nnews.com/ qadirpur- gas-field- four-options- for-sell- off-referred- to-ccop-81196. and federalizing of the Sindh goal authority in support of his argument. He said that no decisions with respect to Sindh’s natural resources would be acceptable unless representatives of Sindh are participants and primary decision makers. Mr. Khalid Hashmani, a local Sindhi activist, said that Sindhis and Baloch rights groups are still using 20th century tools and techniques to secure their rights in 21st century. They have to take global factors into account and balance nationalistic instincts with the need for developing natural resources and to ensure that the needed help reaches rural populations of Sindh and Baluchistan (where poverty has has become main impediment to education and health services) as soon as possible.

The Influence of Sufi Thought and Poetry on Panjabi Literature

IV. THE PLACE OF PANJABI SUFI POETRY IN PANJABI LITERATURE
Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com
A good number of Panjabi Sufi poets made attempts to create friendly feelings between the different communities by harmonizing the opposing systems. For this reason their poetry became clear to all sections of the Panjabi people. Besides, from the literary point of view also it deserved and was allotted a very high place. It retains the favor of both Hindus and Mussulmans and circulates among the masses in the form of songs, proverbs, and hymns even to this day.1 In short, without this strain, Panjabi literature would be poor and devoid of a good deal of its beauty and literary charm.

Here we shall give explanations of those few words that are used in their original forms in our discussion of the Sufi poets.

Continue reading The Influence of Sufi Thought and Poetry on Panjabi Literature