Facts and Figures on the Plight of Sindhis

Yet another testimonial including facts and figures on the plight of Sindhis comes to us via an excellent article by M. B. Soomro that was published in Sindhi daily newspaper “Kawish”. The focus of this article on the economic plight and discrimination in hiring of Sindhis in federal jobs.

The facts and Figures presented in the article are based on the answers given by various ministers in the National Assembly of Pakistan and Pakistani Senate. Following are the excerpt of the article.

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Facts and Figures on the Plight of Sindhis

Written by: M. B. Soomro

Translation by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION AND INCOME

In answer to question 77 on May 13, 2010, the responsible federal Minister said that from 2004 to 2008, Sindh produced 70.422 million barrels of oil and 5001.45 billion cubic feet of gas. The total income from the oil and gas produced in Sindh in the last five years has been 8 kharab, 45 arab, 43 crore, and 50 lakh. This equates to approximately 8.5 billion in US dollars, which is significantly more than what the USA has committed in aid to Pakistan over the next five (5) years under the Kerry-Lugar bill.

Ironically, several international studies on poverty have stated that rural Sindh suffers one of the highest level of poverty in Asia. Just imagine what could have been done to alleviate poverty, increase educational opportunities, improve health care, and create jobs in rural Sindh if Sindh was allowed the full benefit from the income from its oil and gas resources.

In contrast, the combined production of the remaining three (3) provinces (Baluchistan, Pakhtonwa, and Punjab) was 52.909 million barrels. Similarly, the total production of gas in three provinces was 2,075.26 billion cubic feet, which is even lesser than half of what Sindh produced.

In the same session of the National Assembly, Dr. Katumal (a member of National Assembly from Sindh) asked a question as to what benefits did Sindh receive in last five years from its oil and gas resources? The reply from the Minister was that Sindh received the following income:

2004 – Sindh only received 14.1 billion rupees from total income of 100.5 billion rupees

2005 – Sindh only received 17.2 billion rupees from total income of 149.8 billion rupees

2006 – Sindh only received 19.5 billion rupees from total income of 163.5 billion rupees

2007 – Sindh only received 22.7 billion rupees from total income of 196.6 billion rupees

2008 – Sindh only received 31.8 billion rupees from total income of 236.8 billion rupees

Total – Sindh only received 105.8 billion rupees from total income of 845.4 billion rupees

In another session of the National Assembly on May 5, 2010, in the answer to question number 17, federal Minister for Petroleum said that from 1994 to 2009, a total of 2.56 billion rupees in bonus payments were given to the Federal Treasury by the oil and gas companies. But not a single penny from this amount was given to Sindh or spent on the people who live in the areas surrounding oil and gas fields in Sindh. The Minister added that it was the first time that the new government headed by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) released 1.68 billion rupees for the improvement of local areas.

TAX RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS

In the Pakistan Senate session of May 4, 2010, the Federal Minister of Finance provided the following tax receipts and disbursements figures over the ten (10) year period from 1999 to 2008 in answer to question number 8 that clearly depicts signs of discrimination and exploitation of Sindh and Sindhis:

* Total Tax Collected over 10 years 6,441 billion rupees

* Tax Collections from Balochistan over 10 years 87.1 billion rupees

* Tax Collections from Punjab over 10 years 2,528.7 billion rupees

* Tax Collections from Paklhtowa over 10 years 262.2 billion rupees

* Tax Collections from Sindh over 10 years 3,618.7 billion rupees

Notice that Sindh contributed about 56.2% of total tax collected by the Federal government of Pakistan.

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

In an answer to question number 27 on May 7, 2010, the federal Minister for Defense stated that out of total of 413 grade 15 employees from Sindh, 313 were from urban Sindh and only 100 were from rural Sindh. This is a gross violation of current job equity law that requires that 11.4% employees should be from rural Sindh and 7.5% should be from urban Sindh. If there was no discrimination, there would be 249 employees from rural Sindh and 164 employees from urban Sindh.

The question that every Sindhi has to ask himself/herself as to who is going to fight to end this discrimination and bring fairness and justice to Sindhis. Is this solely the duty of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that Sindhis have largely voted for or all Sindhis including other political parties, students, intellectuals, writers, journalists, poets, NGOs, and overseas Sindhis? My view is we all have a stake in restoring justice to Sindhis and seeing a permanent end to the exploitation of Sindhis. Let us join hands and fight for Sindhi rights.

Writer can be reached at kawishmb@yahoo.com

Courtesy: Sindhi Daily Kawish, 18 May 2010

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