Please convey the views and demands of SANA members and SANALIST subscribers to Sindhi leaders as SANA delegate meets them over coming days. I am attaching below a copy of the SANA resolutions that were passed at the the 25th SANA convention and express the key demands and sentiments of the convention attendees. In addition, the recent concerns expressed on SANALIST include the following:
1. It is imperative that the government fairly and equitably allocate funds and implement improvements in all cities, towns, and villages of Sindh. Many overseas visitors to Sindh have noticed tangible improvements in the non-Sindhi areas of Karachi and Hyderabad. But, the situation in the Sindhi areas and the other localities continue to remain hopeless.The basic services such as garbage collection, sanitary and sewage, roads, and drinking water supply have worsen each year. The Sindh government must select five (5) cities, ten (10) towns, and twenty (20) villages in Sindh as models and immediately implement a program of improved municipal services. This program should include training of local volunteers and incentives that encourage residents to create a self-supporting system for maintaining of the basic civic services. Once these models become showcase and a “best practice”, the program should be extended to other cities, towns, and villages of Sindh.
2. Demand from the Sindh Government officials to do their best to secure the release of Aakash Mallah, Vice Chairman of the Sindh nationalist party Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), and JSQM activist Noor Mohammad Khaskheli. These political workers were abducted on 30th October and are believed to be the victims of enforced disappearances by government security officials.
3. The “Friends of Indus Forum”, a group associated with World Wide Fund (WWF) have recently expressed grave concerns over the worsening situation of the wetlands and Indus eco-region sites of Sindh and said the acute shortage of water in Indus River has badly affected the general ecology of the province. The SANA delegate should demand from the government to create a nation-wide awareness campaign about this calamity and secure agreement from all provinces to allocate some amount of water to save the dying wetlands of Sindh.
4. Effective yesterday (January 1, 2010), the local government system has become a provincial subject in three provinces of Pakistan except in Sindh. Click the following link of a recent article published in DAWN for more details: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12-system-continues-in-sindh-nazims-reign-ends-in-three-provinces–bi-09
All district Nazims in Punjab, Balochistan, and NWFP are supposed to stop functioning and the provincial governments are said to have appointed local administrators until fresh elections can be held. The Article 140-A of Pakistan Constitution says: “Each province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the ‘elected representatives’ of the local governments.” Thus, denying this important provision of provincial autonomy is injustice to Sindh.
The newspaper reports say that MQM is prepared to accept this change provided that no new administrators are appointed and local government elections are held within three (3) months. Ironically, this ill-advised move of the present government indirectly supports the plan to separate Karachi and Hyderabad from rest of Sindh as it strengthens the claim that Karachi and Hyderabad city governments are operating without being the subject of Sindh provincial government. This is a serious setback to the geographic integrity of Sindh.
On behalf of the SANA members, the visiting SANA leaders must demand from the federal government to extend this provision to Sindh and hold local government elections in Sindh under the new provisions within three months.
I hope that SANA leaders will take courageous stands for promotion and protection of Sindhi rights and effectively represent the views and demands of SANA community.
Wishing you success in your meetings!
Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Sindhis of North America celebrate 25th Convention with gusto and an eye on future generation
St. Louis – July 6, 2009 – The 25th convention of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) was successfully ended in St. Louis , Missouri today. It was a historic event with more than 500 registered attendees. The programs included Adabi (Literary) session, SANA Vision Brainstorming session, several medical seminars, women programs, speaker’s forums, and General Body meeting of SANA members. One of the most important aspect of the convention was extra-ordinary musical, fashion, and plays organized and acted by Sindhi youth depicting conflicts and convergence of the cultures of their new country and their parents’ Sindhi heritage. Indeed it was like witnessing passing of baton from the grey hair generation to the young adult generation of North American Sindhis.
Dr. Mazhar Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor of Sindh University spoke in several sessions sharing his wisdom and candidness about the educational and economic challenges faced by Sindhis in Sindh. Mr. Nisar Ali Khuoro (Speaker of Sindh Assembly) impressed the audience with his forceful defense of the current government led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Mr. Nazir Essani, an irrigation specialist from Sindh with focus on social aspects explained intriguing details about about the long term impact of lack of water on Sindh. Seeing young medical doctors like Mehdi Qalbani, Mr. Shaikh, and Adnan Qalbani explaining complicated medical issues in a scholarly manner not only helped old generation audience but also inspired high school students to pursue excellence in their fields of choice.
The activities organized by the “Family Network” group introduced many families and creating many long lasting friendships. The two nights of Sindhi songs, music, and poetry brought much spiritual relief from day’s hectic activities. A session on Shah Abdul Latif became a spiritual journey in the messages of Shah Abdul Latif leading some one to say that Shah sahib was a Sindhi prophet with guidance and words of wisdom on all aspects of life.
The formal General Body of SANA members and others heard members of SANA Executive Council presenting their reports. They debated aggressively with forceful arguments in finalizing a statement of their feelings and resolve by unanimously passing the following resolutions:
Resolutions Passed at the 25th Sindhi Association of North America Convention St. Louis, Missouri
USA – July 4, 2009
1. Provincial Autonomy in Pakistan
WHERE AS, Pakistan was created on the basis of 1940 Resolution guaranteeing sovereignty and autonomy, this commitment remains unfulfilled after sixty-two years of Pakistan’s existence.
WHERE AS, according to the 1973 constitution the concurrent list of subjects currently under the jurisdiction of Federal government would be abolished by 1983, the said provision still remains in the constitution thirty-three years after the inception of the constitution.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeals to all people of Pakistan including political parties and other components of he Pakistani society to work together to implement the following constitution changes:
(a) Enhance the 1973 constitution to provide “autonomy” and “sovereignty” in accordance with the 1940 resolution. The role of the federal government should be limited only to the subjects of Defense, Telecommunications, Currency, Foreign Affairs, and facilitating interaction among provinces.
(b) Strengthen constitutional provisions giving provinces the ownership of the oil, gas, mineral, and other natural resources located in their provinces.
(c) The senate should be composed of 25 members from each of the four provinces. Its powers are extended to initiate money bills and to approve key Federal appointments, including high court judges, Federal Public Service Commission members and the chiefs of the armed forces.
(d) The power to appoint municipal and district officials should be returned to the provinces.
(e) The powers of provincial governors appointed by the central government should be strictly limited so that they are not able to undermine the powers of the provinces.
2. Water Rights of Lower riparian people
WHERE AS, Sindh has seen substantial reduction in the amount of water before the Indus river reaches its borders.
WHERE AS, all provinces signed an accord in 1991 on the equitable distribution of water from the Indus River, Punjab continues to divert large portion of water from the river for its benefit at the cost of Sindh.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeals to all people of Pakistan including political parties and other components of he Pakistani society to work together to implement a new agreement on the basis of 1945 Sindh-Punjab Water Agreement. We further demand that Sindh should receive due compensation for the reduced water share it has received in the last fifty years. We ask that any funding for expanding the Greater Thal canal is immediately stopped. We ask that the Federal government should assist and promote construction of hydroelectric projects in Sindh that will help to generate new water resources and should refrain from constructing any large or small dams that will or have potential to reduce water for Sindh.
3. Recognize and promote National identities and ensure their majority in their provinces
WHERE AS, Sindh agreed to join the union of Pakistan with the understanding that it will continue to promote and enrich its native language and culture, however, the succeeding central and provincial governments have undermined Sindh language and Sindhi culture.
THEREFORE, this gathering demands that Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, and Sindhi be designated as the national languages of Pakistan. We also demand from the Sindh government to vigorously enforce the 1972 language law in the province and to enact laws that promote further use of Sindhi language in public and private sectors. We further demand that the federal and provincial governments take steps to discourage any mass migrations to Sindh from other provinces or foreign countries that threaten the majority of Sindhis in Sindh. Instead, the government should take steps to create temporary facilities near the affected areas so that any displaced persons can easily return to their homes when the peace and order is restored in those areas. We ask that steps be taken to encourage those have already migrated to Sindh to return to their home countries and home provinces.
4. Sufferings of Sindhis Continue under PPP regime
WHERE AS, people of Sindh elected PPP with expectation that the suffering of Sindhi people, who have lived under discriminatory governments for many years would end, it is sad to say that their plight continues unabated. The surrender of duly elected government to the black mail of MQM has worsened the situation for Sindhis as MQM’s domination of the provincial government continues. The lack of education in rural areas continue to suffer with each passing day as more and more funds are diverted to large cities or withheld by the government.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis demand that from both PPP and MQM to achieve a balance by bringing an end to continued discriminatory practices and ensuring equitable share of Sindhis in educational and economic opportunities. We ask that both federal and Sindh provincial governments initiate affirmative action programs to alleviate degrading poverty among rural Sindhis and massively increase educational opportunities in rural areas. We further condemn recent killing of three Sindhi demonstrators in Karachi and demand a judicial inquiry and a financial compensation to the families of firing victims.
5. Earmark US Aid for Sindh and Balochistan
WHERE AS, the consequences of economic disparity between rural Sindh and Balochistan with respect to other areas have reached to a crisis point particularly in health and education sectors.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeal to the government of the United States and other multilateral aid institutions to specifically earmark assistance to improve health and education in Sindh and Balochistan.
6. Appeal TO PPP and Sindh Nationalist Parties
WHERE AS, Sindhis continue to feel helpless at the inability of the elected PPP government to fulfill the promises that the party made to their constituencies.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis demands that PPP and Sindhi nationalist parties begin a dialogue on a joint strategy for alleviating problems faced by Sindhis and bring welfare to rural Sindhis.
7. Restoration of old Districts in Karachi and Hyderabad
WHERE AS, the amalgamation and bifurcation of old districts in the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi have failed to live to their promise of progress.
THEREFORE, this assembly of North American Sindhis demand that old district structure in the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi cities be restored.