We should learn the lesson from the Quebecers

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

A new Sindhi political party “AWAMI JAMHOORI PARTY (AJP)” was formally launched in Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan today. Although some of its leaders had been previously associated with other political parties (mainly Awami Tehreek headed by Rasool Bux Palejo), the leaders of the new party say that AJP will be quite different from other Sindhi parties as it will attract a large following of Sindhi middle class. Whether or not the new party wins that mandate of the Sindhi middle class is yet to be seen, in my view, the notion of “more the merrier” does not apply to political parties.

My hope is that the leaders of all small and large Sindhi political parties will soon realize that dividing themselves and Sindhis in small groups only hurts the Sindhi cause. I realize that the root cause for so many Sindhi political parties is because of the diversity of views, however, invariably all Sindhi political leaders say the same things and share the same common perceptions of Sindhi issues and approaches to meet those challenges. I believe that Sindhis tend to divide themselves in so many camps has more to do with the “self-centeredness” of individual leaders who want to remain or become the chiefs instead of being part of a collective leadership with shared responsibilities, burdens, and amentias that come with the role of being Chief Leader. I wish all Sindhi political parties would agree to create one strong democratic political party, where Sindhi people will be given regular and periodic opportunities to vote and elect Chief Leader and other members of leadership cadre and others would accept their changing roles (sometimes being a chief leader, sometimes simply being being one of “other” leaders).

We must learn the lesson from the success of the Quebecers, who quickly realized that “divided they would fail, and united they will succeed”. The leaders of several small nationalistic parties in Quebec joined hands to create one political party to represent the nationalistic interests of Quebec’s Frech speaking inhabitants. Like Sindh, Quebec too has large non-French minority. Today in spite of loosing referendum for an independent Quebec, they not only enjoy sovereignty rights in their province but have pressured Canada’s federal government to have one of the strongest “affirmative Action” program in the world to make sure that Quebecers have representation in proportion to their population in all public and private sectors. The provincial government of Quebec has succeeded in enacting strong laws to protect their language and their culture spite of strong opposition of federal government and non-French in Quebec.

Although I have an immense respect for many of the AJP leaders, I will urge them to make merging of all Sindhi political parties into a one unified political party an integral part of their manifesto.

August 8, 2010

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