Karachi, Apr. 27: “Pakistan is a colonial country and Sindh its colony”. There was consensus to this effect at a gathering of the political leaders and activists affiliated with more than five nationalist organizations of Sindh as well as its intellectuals, writers and academicians, held the other day on the invitation of Dr. Qadir Mangsi, Chairman, Sindh Tarakipasand Party (STPP), at Hyderabad.
The nationalist organizations, whose representatives attended this gathering under the title: ” National Dialogue”, included: Sindh National Front (SNF), headed by Mumtaz Bhutto, Awami Tahrik, headed by Rasul Bux Palijo, Jey Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (affiliated with the political philosophy of GM Syed), Jey Sindh Mahaz (JSM), headed by Abdul Khaliq Junejo. Besides, ex-parliamentarian Mujib Pirzada also attended this meeting.
Except JSTP, other organizations were not represented by their respective first rank leadership at the meeting. However, the second rank leadership of these organizations attended this meeting.
JSQM, was represented by its General Secretary Dr. Safdar Sarki, who announced that his party has decided to henceforth participate in all consultations but declared that its organization would not take part in any political activity which is not for achieving independence of Sindh. Hence, he said, his organization has reservations on the decisions- of whatever radical nature those are, & taken at this forum, because JSQM was not prepared to become part of any activity short of the demand for the independence of Sindh.
However, the consensus that the rest participating organizations of this moot developed to conside Sindh as a colony and Pakistan as a colonial state, was also not less than an eye opener for Sindh watchers. This consensus among most of the active nationalist organizations of Sindh is being seen here as a big change in the political thinking of Sindh. It seems that henceforth Sindh’s nationalist organizations would launch their politics from the said new formulation that: “Sindh is a colony in Pakistan”. With the adoption of this formulation Sindh’s nationalist politics seems to be nearer to the positions taken by JSQM and Baloch nationalists & it is being seen amounting to by passing their so far goal i.e. maximum provincial autonomy. Now, there goal, as is being perceived by Sindh watchers here, may be “national independence” instead of maximum provincial autonomy..
This view gets endorsed with another major decision taken at Sunday meeting as except Mujib Pirzada all other participants stamped the stand that 73 constitution has died its death and it did not more exist any more Hence, except Mujib Pirzada, the rest participants resolved to demand for electing new constituent assembly based on the parity of all federating units so to prepare new constitution for the country based on the principle that Pakistan is multi-national state. Mujib Pirzada was demanding to abolish concurrent list while the rest participants were not content with the said demand. The meeting went steps ahead by taking stand that under the new constitution: (a) Senate should be elected directly and that it should have powers of National Assembly, (b) All natural resources, ports and tax collections be transferred to the federating units, (c) Each federating unit has its own Supreme Court and in Islamabad there should be an inter-Provincial Superior Court which should dispose of inter-provincial disputes, (d) All key offices like: President, Prime Minister, Chairman Senate, COAS should be rotated among all the federating units, and (e) All the three armed forces should have equal representation from all the federating units.
This scribe who was also invited to attend the said moot as an observer continued interviewing the participants of this important moot in the lobby during the meeting as well as on the eve of the lunch as to why they were moving to adopt that sort of extreme position. Whatever logics were put forth by them, could be summarized as: (a) Sindh on the eve of joining Pakistan was comparatively far more rich vis a vis present situation. None of the pledges made by PML leadership with the then leadership of Sindh was met. At present, most of their areas are living below poverty line as per surveys conducted repeatedly by international organizations like ADB and WB. The fact is that particularly during one unit imposed forcefully and afterwards under “Population formula” for the distribution of national divisible pool, all the resources have been siphoned from Sindh to Punjab which is today far more richer vis avis on the eve of the creation f Pakistan, (b) Most of the cities of Sindh have been deprived from its indigenous people and given in the control of a particular community to the extent that those having domicile of interior Sindh can not get admissions in the professional colleges and other institutions of Karachi and nor they can get jobs in the offices of multi-nationals there, (c) Coast of Karachi has also been deprived from the fishermen and other local communities living there since centuries, (d) At least in Karachi, Sindhis have been rendered as red Indians, (e) There is no presence at all of indigenous sindhis at the ports, oil gas exploration sites and big industries set up in various parts of the province, (f) Now, it is brute truth that after the imposition of Ayub’s Martial Law till today no civilian government has been transferred real powers. The people of Sindh have also almost lost confidence on Asif Zardari in whose hands these days is the command of PP and general feeling is that the mandate of Sindh given to him in February elections has no value at all for Asif Zardari who was sacrificing the interests of indigenous Sindhis to linger his power while satisfying other groups living in urban Sindh or Punjab. Sindh for him is mere a sacrificial animal.
In view of these feelings, Dr. Qadir Mangsi, who chaired the moot also announced another decision of the meeting while talking to the media, that: henceforth our common slogan would be ” Sindh is for Sindhis” and announced that henceforth we would organize our move based on this slogan. However, he said, Sindhis are peace loving nation and are neither racist nor extremist. Besides, he said, we will abide by the covenants agreed by our forefathers. In this regard, he cited 1954 Liaquat-Nehre Pact and declared that all those outsiders who came to Sindh till then would be accepted as bonafide Sindhis. Besides, he said, all those belonging to other provinces have come here, should not be given the right to vote here.
Dr. Qadir Mangsi condemned the acts of a group of JSQM of hurling petrol bombs at the shops and houses of Pakhtoans living in the interior of Sindh. He said, that group was involved in such anti-Sindh activities at the instigation of some other elements.
About the writer: – G.N. Mughul is a senior Journalist of Sindh. He is currently working with English daily of Pakistan, The Frontier Post.