SINDH : Peace Coalition Resolutions

House demanded that all provincial languages of federating units shall immediately be declared as national languages and all the illegal immigrants shall expelled from Sindh

– Zulfiqar Halepoto

March 18: Leaders of civil society organizations have condemned the spate of terrorist incidents in the country, especially in the Province of Punjab and the NWFP and demanded that serious efforts should be made to get rid of extremist elements from the country.

In resolutions, passed on the occasion Sindh Provincial Convention of Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) held at PILER Centre here on Wednesday, the participants from all over Sindh condemned the grave human rights violation in Sindh as well as in rest of the country.

“We consider the issue of missing people as much more serious than NRO issue and we demand the Supreme Court to seriously take up it,” a resolution said.

Over 200 participants from all districts of Sindh attended the PPC Sindh Convention, which also elected its new body, which included:

Dr. Tipu Sultan – President,

Zulfiqar Halepoto – General Secretary,

Ms. Zahida Detho – Vice President,

Paryal Mari – Joint Secretary and

Ms. Sauleha Athar – Finance Secretary.

A 20-member Executive Committee was also nominated, which included Suleman Abro, Adam Malik, Abdul Khaliq Junejo, Shakeela Asghar, Sharafat Ali, Riaz Bano, Latif Mughal, Zulfiqar Shah, Manzoor Badayooni, Abdul Rahman Sarhandi, Zain Daudpoto, Shaikh Majeed, Lala Hassan Pathan, Mirza Maqsood, Ayesha Rahim, Dr. Ghulam Haider Malookani Ghulam, Murtaza Baloch, Riaz Nawab, Zahid Farooque and Kanji Mal Bheel

A resolution demanded from the government of Pakistan that all disputed issues be resolved through continuous dialogue. “The state should also take its responsibility to prevent women and children from the effects of violent conflicts.” Violence is increasingly becoming an intrinsic part of all levels of domestic and national conflicts. Women and children are the biggest victim of these conflicts.

The participants condemned the tribal feuds in rural Sindh and said in the recent past the society has experienced anarchy and moral degradation due to tribal feuds particularly in the Upper Sindh. This has not only caused loss of precious human lives and assets, it has forced people to live in a state of insecurity and a compromised safety environment due to armed conflicts between tribes. “We demand the government to take administrative measures to stop tribal feuds and provide protection and security to people of the region.”

A PPC resolution demanded the government to provide at least 27 million acre feet (MAF) water as recommended by IUCN to downstream Kotri barrage area to save lives and livelihood of people in Indus Delta area. The meeting expressed serious concern over the shortage of water in the River Indus, which has caused grave economic losses to the agriculture-based economy of the Province while also restricting access to drinking water for the population of the region. Sindh’s coastal areas, particularly the Indus Delta region is facing socio-economic challenges due to the termination of water flow in the downstream Kotri Barrage. A large number of people have either migrated or are forced to live in absolute poverty due to the non-availability of fresh water. Millions of acres of agricultural land have come under sea water due to the shortage of fresh water. Simultaneously house demanded that India should respect the bindings of Indus Basin Treaty (IBT) and shall not stop frequent flow of water of Jhelum and Chenab rivers coming to Pakistan.

PPC condemned the recent incident of kidnapping and gang rape of, and delay in justice to, a Scheduled Caste Hindu girl in the Tharparkar District. The minorities in general and low caste Hindus in particular are facing socio-economic discrimination and injustice in the Pakistani society. There have been regular reports in the local press about abduction or forceful conversion of Dalit girls, which create sense of insecurity and uncertainty among the minority communities of the country. The meeting demanded all the minorities should be provided equal rights as ensured under Constitution of Pakistan.

Violence against workers and poor is a cause of concern to the civil society. Recently, the Vice President of a labour union in Mari Gas Company, Usman Mahar was kidnapped and tortured for two days for his campaign against the contract system in his organisation. The kidnappers forcibly shaved his head and pierced his nose. “We condemn this brutal treatment to the worker and demand strict action against those involved in the heinous crime and against the contractors who supervise an unfair system against labour and violate their rights,” the resolution said.

A resolution condemned the statement of Lahore High Court Chief Justice in which he stated that Muslims do terrorist activities, but Hindus finance them. The meeting demanded to remove such a biased judge and a case be prepared for sending to Supreme Judicial Council for a stern action against him.

The meeting demanded the government to restore trade union activities in all industrial units and action be taken against those units where there is no Collective Bargaining Agent. The meeting also demanded to hold elections of students unions in all educational institutions of the country.

At regional level, the meeting welcomed the recent initiative of the Indian Government to start dialogue with the Government of Pakistan. “We urge both the Government of Pakistan and the Government of India to initiate the process of dialogue without wasting any time. We demand both the governments to stop issuing controversial statements in the media. All public statements should come only after both parties engage in thorough deliberations and arrive at a consensus on all bilateral issues,” the resolution said.

The meeting expressed concern over increase in the military budgets of both Indian and Pakistani governments. India has raised its military budget and Pakistan has diverted a major portion of funds from the Public Sector Development Programme to defense expenditure. “We believe that these steps would accelerate arms race and add to unrest among the people of South Asian countries. We demand both India and Pakistan to include de-nuclearization and demilitarization of the region in the agenda of any future negotiations.”

The meeting condemned the victimization of fishermen in both India and Pakistan. Officials from both the countries regularly arrest each other’s fishermen. The resolution demanded both the governments to stop unnecessary arrests and harassment of fishermen. “We also urge both the governments to release all arrested fishermen and those citizens who have completed their sentences in the prison.”

Recently, both India and Pakistan have made their visa issuing policies more stringent, which creates hardships for the people of both the countries, particularly the members of the divided families. The meeting demanded the governments of both India and Pakistan to relax the visa issuing conditions and bring the visa policy back to normal course.

The meeting demanded that both the governments should give permanent visas and citizenship to the spouses from each other’s country so that the families can be united.

House demanded that all provincial languages of federating units shall immediately be declared as national languages and all the illegal immigrants shall expelled from Sindh.

March 18, 2010

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