by Khalid Hashmani
After realizing that the representation of Sindhis was substantially lower than their population, he secured buy-in from of the Pakistani establishment to reserve 19% Federal jobs for Sindh with 60% and 40% allocation between rural and urban areas respectively. The nationalization of Banks, Insurance companies, and Heavy Industries further expanded this coverage to a part of private sector as well.
Those who went to Sindh’s colleges and universities (including Sindh University) in mid sixties know that only about 30% of students were Sindhis. Z. A. Bhutto played a key role in establishing a quota system with 60%-40% rural-urban distribution.
Helped to open seven or eight major institutions in Sindh (including Khairpur University, Chandka Medical College, Nawabshah Engineering College, Nawabshah Girls Medical College, etc.) thereby substantially increasing educational opportunities for Sindhis.
He eliminated age restriction for some of the higher civil service and foreign service jobs and offered some of these opportunities Sindhis. About 20 or Sindhi academicians, lawyers, and intellectuals were appointed in those jobs. I was working in Iran at that time and it was great pleasure to see a Sindhi as the first Secretary of Pakistani Embassy in Tehran.
In spite of pressure from the Bangladesh government and internal elements, he withstood the pressure for the repartition of Biharis to Sindh. As a matter of fact, this issue became publically politically so hot that even succeeding governments resisted agreeing to this demand until the regimes of Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf allowed unofficial and illegal migration of Biharis and settlement in Karachi.
In 1964-65, I was student in Karachi and I also lived in Lahore in 1969 in Lahore while working with WAPDA. I can tell you there was more Sindhi cultural activity in Lahore than in Karachi in those days. After PPP formed government in Sindh province in early seventies, Karachi became as important hub of Sindhi cultural activity as Hyderabad. Zulifqar Ali Bhutto proudly wore Sindhi Shalwar and Kamees (also worn in Balochistan and Pakhtoonwa provinces) and made it fashion throughout Pakistan. The result is that today almost every one wears it. It got rid of Pajama, Sherwani, and Dhoti and part of Pakistani attire.
The PPP government in 1972 passed the Language Law that protects the official status of Sindhi language in Sindh. Although some important provisions of this law remain unfulfilled, it has preserved Sindhi language in many respects and the law remains on books so that a future courageous government can fully restore the full provisions of the law.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto participated vigorously in creating awareness among Pakistanis that Sindhis were being pushed into in poverty and destitute. His famous words that “The fate of Sindhis have become like Red Indians in Pakistan and are being pushed to live in rural reservations” still serves as a reminder to Sindhis to re-energize themselves and never allow that to happen.
Although PPP under Benazir Bhutto had only two short stays in power under the careful watch of the Pakistan military, I am told some of her major contributions PPP to Sindhi during those years include:
Contributions of Benazir Bhutto for welfare of Sindh and Sindhis
· Admission and bed fees forced upon during Zia’s regime were abolished benfiting all poor Pakistanis including Sindhis.
· Fifty thousand new teachers were employed in Pakistan including Sindh.
· Education made compulsory upto 8th class.
· 80 thousands new literacy centres were set up throughout the country including Sindh.
· Ten thousands young people were given loans of 50 thousands each to start their own businesses.
· Very first time a separate ministry for women affairs was established to solve their problems.
· Women Bank was established.
· Women were given loan facility to start their own businesses.
· Computer centres for women were started in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Water & Power
· Electricity was supplied to 4 thousand Villages in twenty months in Pakistan including Sindh.
· Electricity supplied to more than 12 lac houses including Sindh.
Communication & Production
· Port Qasim was extended in Sindh
· Built 21,000 primary schools in Pakistan including Sindh
· Electricity to 18,000 villages.in Pakistan including Sindh
· Airport at Sehwan Sharif.
· Work on Ketti Bandar Port started.
1. In 1993, Mohtarma Bhutto’s Government subscribed to the Vienna Declaration which recognized women’s rights as human rights.
2. In 1994, led by her, Pakistan’s delegation actively participated in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and acceded to its Programme of Action reaffirming the principles of gender equality and equity, the empowerment of women, guaranteeing women’s right to development and her reproductive rights and eradication of poverty.
3. In February 1996, Pakistan ratified the United Nations’ Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); this was a major achievement of the People’s Party government on international covenants pertaining to the rights of women.
4. Five percent quota in for women in Employment was fixed in all Government departments.
6. Crisis Centre for Women in distress. – The Government set-up “Crisis Centres for women in Distress” in Islamabad and at Vehari. These were pilot projects which aimed at providing medical and legal aid to the women victims of violence.
· Establishment of Hostel for Working Women at Gujranwala, Lahore, Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Quetta. .
· Rearing and Development of Silk Worm Realing and Weaving of Silk Thread for Rural Women in Sindh.
· Centre of Excellence for Women Studies Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar.