Washington Sindhis Get-together with Nazir Essani and Discussion on Sindhi Challenges
by: Khalid Hashmani
On June 12, 2009, several members of Sindhi community of the Washington D.C. area had a get-together with a visiting Sindhi Social Development consultant Mr. Nazir Essani at a local restaurant. Apart from customary introductions, the group had an excellent discussion session about the current situation in Sindh and the challenges that must be met by Sindhis to survive as a nation. Those who participated in the discussion included Nazir Jawaid Bhutto, Essani, Khalid Hashmani, Ali Nawaz Memon, Sarfraz Memon, Hanif Sangi, Aijaz Sindhi, and Iqbal Tareen.
Remembering old Sindhi Comrades of Thatta – As Nazir Essani comes from the Thatta district of Sindh, the discussion invariably moved to the cultural, social, and political development of that area. Few friends who had spent some time in that areas talked about the contributions of well-known Hari leaders Sher Khan Lund, Qasim Pathan, Umer Khushik, and Akbar Shah. These Hari leaders traveled to many rural areas of Sindh and enlighted rural Sindhis by interpreting and reciting poetry of Shah Abdul Latif and talking about their Sindhi Rights. The work of these leaders in reaching out to Sindhi masses to raise their awareness will be remembered by all those who were active and/or are familiar with the Hari movement that was active in early sixties in Sindh.
Sindhi Grassroots Opposition to unchecked mass migration to Sindh – It was clarified that the opposition to the recent migration of those affected in the ongoing military-and- Taliban fight in Swat is a genuine grassroots demand of Sindhis. Unlike what enemies of Sindhis say, it is not racially motivated. Like the Sindhi unanimity on the issue of “water and large dams”, there is now a consensus among people of Sindh that further mass migrations to Sindh are a threat to their survival. The Sindhi society is not a hate society that dislikes other people. Their opposition to mass migrations is due to their natural desire to survive as a nation in their historic land. Sindhis recognize that there would be a small number of people moving from one province to another due to normal economic “push” and “pull” factors but they are opposed to mass migrations because thesy threaten their majority position in Sindh. Although, some PPP leaders are throwing welcome mat to those displaced in Swat, many Sindhi leaders in PPP realize that the stand against further mass migrations to Sindh is a universal feeling among Sindhis and therefore are largly staying quiet. Indeed, the Sindhi nationalist parties are in the forefront of the public demonstration against the current migration, but they also know that the outcry is genuinely at the grassroots level. MQM may think that it will benefit them if this crisis leads to Sindhi-Pathan friction, they also know that if Sindhis come to recognize the value of a united response to fend-off their sorrows, they will soon be challenged for usurping a disproportional portion of power that they are enjoying by blackmailing PPP.
Sindhi masses must awaken and recognize the value of their vote and Sindhi nationalist political parties should grow beyond their “street and drawing room politics” and participate in elections — After a long discussion about possible solutions for Sindhis to pull themselves from the present predicament, a concensus developed among the discussion participants that other than some divine or not-so-devine external intervention, the only choice for Sindhis is to effectively participate in the democratic process. To succeed through the democratic means, rural population of Sindh must awaken and recognize the power of their vote. The Sindhi nationalist parties must recognize that to become a viable alternative to PPP in the eyes of common men and women of Sindh, they must start contesting elections. To people, they would not be a viable option until they overcome their fear of loosing elections. Sure, they are going to loose couple of elections very badly, but soon people will realize that they do represent a credible alternative to PPP’s arrogance. Once this starts getting reflected in elections, PPP too will wake up and start delivering on what they promised to their constituencies. It may take three or four more elections, but ultimately we will achieve Sindhi Rights!
June 13, 2009