Nawab Bugti Remembered by the Baloch and Sindhis in the UK

London : Press Release – A remembrance meeting in London paid high tribute to Nawab Akber Bugti on his 4th martyrdom anniversary. The function was organized by the Baloch Human Rights Council (UK) and World Sindhi Congress in the London University Union Building on Sunday 29th August 2010. The meeting was presided over by the Baloch intellectual & writer and the Coordinator of Sindhi Baloch forum Dr. Naseer Dashti and was attended by a large number of Baloch, Sindhis and other human rights activists in the UK. Samad Baloch General Secretary BHRC (UK) conducted the proceedings of the meeting.

One minute silence was observed to pay respect to Nawab Bugti. A number of speakers paid tributes to Nawab Akber Bugti for his services to the Baloch and for sacrificing his life for the salvation of his nation.

Prominent among those who paid rich homage to the legendary Baloch leader included Dr. Lakhu Luhana, Mrs. Stella, Mir Aslam Buledi, Jamshed Amiri, Rahim Bandovi, Abdulla Baloch, Walid Garboni, Hashim Baloch, Mehrab Sarjovi, Ghulam Raza Hosseinbor, Dr. Haleem Bahtti, Mir Ghulam Hussain , Ms Suriya Makhdooom and Qadir Jatoi. The speakers urged the Baloch and Sindhi people to follow the legendary leader’s actions as the two nations are facing the most critical moment in their national history.

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Flood devastation and fixing of responsibility

by Altaf Hussain, Hyderabad, Sindh

The deluge that brought immeasurable agony and destruction in the country was not unanticipated as China weather department had given forewarning of harsh monsoon months before the rains started. Whereas Sindh was even aware precisely about the magnitude of impending super floods as torrents which destroyed much of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and inundated southern Punjab was ultimately destined to discharge in Arabian Sea through river Indus.

Thus the super flood ultimately hit with full ferocity the fragile dykes of Sindh and inundated almost 1/3 of the province was not a surprise. Almost most of its northern districts have been submerged into flood waters leaving millions of people shelter less. Their only livelihood the standing crop and livestock has vanished. Once living contended in their huts and small houses since centuries these people are now nomads in their own homeland; malnourished sick and with no future in sight.

Now question arise as to who is responsible for the agony of millions of people? Although floods of high magnitude have pass through Indus system almost once in a decade but the scale of present destruction is unheard of in the history of floods. The reasons are obvious. Not only upkeep of protective Bunds was completely ignored and left to builders mafias to dig its gravel for construction, especially near big towns but the reverine forests existed on both sides of riverbed and used to protect the dykes were mercilessly slaughtered and virgin lands were allotted to influential people. They created there own dukes to protect their crops; one of the major cause of damaging the protective Bunds.

Obviously the maintenance and upkeep of Bunds is the sole responsibility of Provincial Irrigation Department. For which millions of rupees are allocated in the budget every year. The Irrigation Department not only failed to maintain the protective Bunds but when the crises unfolded abandoned its responsibility handing over maintenance to Pak Army. Now the senior irrigation people apart from justifying their failure sheepishly in talk shows are almost non existent on the sites.

The handing over safety of Bunds to Army at eleventh hour could not save millions of people from total ruin and obviously will not absolve Irrigation department from the destruction wrought by the river even in settled/pacca areas. This is clear cut case of dereliction on the part of irrigation department requiring independent judicial commission to fix guilt and take to task those howsoever powerful they may be who are found responsible.

The present regime, which claims to have roots in the masses, has to take immediate action against the culprits for whose negligence entire Sindh has suffered incalculable destruction.

August 29, 2010

Manufacturing Martial Law?

We Pakistanis have a finely developed sense of conspiracy, so when we see the army’s usual supporters out in force, we naturally suspect that the army is behind this and is itching to take over

by Omar Ali

Pakistan is in the grip of one of its periodic eruptions of speculation about impending martial law. At least, it looks like that on TV. For weeks, the largest news channel in the country has been shamelessly promoting the army’s role in flood relief as if the army is an opposition party, bravely stepping in to do work that the “corrupt politicians” who rule the country do not want to —or  cannot —do. The fact that the army is an instrument of the state and that its efforts are part and parcel of the sitting government’s response to the emergency has not registered with the anchors at [ ] news.

It has not stopped there: various failed politicians who are unable to survive on their own, but always find a happy home under martial law, are crawling out of the woodwork to lament the terrible situation and endlessly repeat the phrase “after all, things cannot go on like this, something must be done”. But what is this “something”? Do they want the sitting government to resign? Do they want the opposition to bring in a vote of no-confidence? Do they perhaps want the president to dissolve the assemblies? No, none of these legal or quasi-legal alternatives will do in this hour of national emergency. What has set their tongues wagging is the possibility that “patriotic generals” may be forced to step in and save the country. And as if on cue, the MQM’s Altaf Hussain has stepped forward with the suggestion that a “patriotic general” may indeed be better than “feudal politicians”. Naturally all this has raised the hopes of some sections of the Punjabi middle class, who are eternally unhappy with the “illiterate masses” and “corrupt politicians” and apparently go to bed dreaming of Bonaparte riding in on his white horse to “create more provinces and increase national unity and sense of purpose”.

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