By: Prof. Nadeem Jamali, Canada
Let’s not get too excited too quickly. PPP-PML(N) collaboration doesn’t end Kalabagh and other dams planned on the Indus. It doesn’t restore the Sindhi language to its rightful status in Sindh. It doesn’t end Punjab’s dependence on Sindh’s resources. It doesn’t take apart army that doesn’t leave any money for health care and education, in order to pay salaries to and build empires for otherwise unemployable Punjabis.
The conflict between Sindh and Punjab is rooted in large part in a natural competition for resources. Punjab, being the one with fewer resources (in per capita terms) covets Sindh’s riches. Precisely because Punjab is not rich in many resources, it has a good supply of desperate people who are happy to move to other lands to feed themselves, or to be foot soldiers of a mercenary army. With this army, and with its hordes of economic immigrants, Punjab occupies Sindh (and Balochistan) , and takes whatever it wants. That is the relationship between Sindh and Punjab.
Sindh and Punjab will have this competition so long as they are contiguous nations. Punjab will always covet Sindh’s waters and other resources. Until Sindh wins freedom, Punjab will always steal from Sindh. Punjab will steal because it can. The saying “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies. And Punjab will also steal because it needs to. Punjab’s population has skyrocketed in the last sixty years. If it stops stealing from Sindh and Balochistan, Punjab’s population will starve.
There is no way for Sindhis to satisfy Punjab’s need and greed except by starving themselves. And Punjab cannot give Sindhis their rights except by starving its poorest. Some nations are richer than others just as some individuals are richer than others. A poorer nation does not have a right to occupy a richer nation and steal from it until both are equally poor or it becomes richer than the latter. Until Sindh wins freedom, Punjab will continue to be Sindh’s occupier, and consequently, Sindh’s enemy. The only path for Sindh toward becoming Punjab’s friend is through winning freedom from Punjab’s occupation. Until then, it is a war of freedom in which honorable Sindhis will fight on Sindh’s behalf.