U.S. Questions Islamabad’s Balochistan Crackdown

The U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council has expressed “serious concern” over Pakistan’s violent response to separatists in southwestern Balochistan Province.

Ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the council in Geneva on October 30 that Washington has serious reservations about human rights situation in Balochistan.

She said Pakistan Army operations there are “aimed at silencing dissent.”

She said Pakistan should ensure that those guilty of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings must be prosecuted.

Donahoe made the remarks during Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Review.

All UN members are expect to undergo such a review of their human rights record every four years.

Thousands of civilians, soldiers, and guerillas have been killed in eight years of unrest in the vast desert region where numerous ethnic Balochi factions are fighting for independence from Pakistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and BBC Urdu

Courtesy: rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/us-concern-pakistan-balochistan-crackdown/24756729.html 

Via – Facebook, Twitter » TF’s tweet

United front to oppose the controversial SPLGA

MY VISIT TO MOTHERLAND

By: Dr. Valeed A. Shaikh

I was able to visit Karachi, Hyderabad and Larkano. Stopped multiple time to visit and talk to folks on the road, shops and schools. The overwhelming feeling of betrayal is evident and obvious. Sindhis did not expect this from the PPP they thought was their saviour. People are upset. One teacher made the following observation ” If PPP had performed in the last four and half years and life was somewhat better for ordinary folks, we may have given them a pass” Sindhis have been stung by their own and don’t know who to trust. ….

I must say the voice of Sindhi Diaspora also played a very important part in this equation. … We were able to give our Advertisement in Sindhi Media both print and electronic.  ….

I did get the chance to meet most of the stake holders and exchanged ideas. In fact I did most of the listening. Following is my observation.

. There is a very strong feeling that if Sindhis are unable to revert this controversial & black law now, they will be behind the curve for a very long time. Something needs to happen and happen NOW.

…. I was unable to arrange conference of stakeholders during this trip. Logistics and time constrains were the limiting factors. We are extremely fortunate to have reservoir of goodwill in Sindh. We must use this to the advantage of our motherland Sindh.

I propose that we hold a grand conference of all stake holders in Karachi, Sindh in February. Given enough time to arrange, we will be able to move the dialogue. I am more than willing to arrange this with permission of incoming SANA EC and whoever wants to volunteer.

I will be arranging a teleconference soon to continue our efforts and seek your advise and input.

Courtesy: SANA list, October 31, 2012

Ayaz Latif Palijo expresses his heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with storm victims of United States

Ayaz Latif Palijo, the president of Awami Tahreek party expresses his heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with storm victims of United States. Wish Sandy should now recede, we cannot help them but they (Americans) were always the first to come to our (Sindh’s) rescue in any natural calamity.

Source – Gul Agha’s facebook wall

Gen. Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI

Former ISI chief Hamid Gul said that as long as politicians were corrupt, the Army would interfere in the state’s affairs.

ISLAMABAD: During an interview on DawnNews, former chief of the Inter Service Intelligence(ISI) General (Retd) Hamid Gul said that politicians in the country were corrupt, and at the same time admitted responsibility for creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a political alliance that was allegedly created to prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning.

He said that he is not afraid of any case leveled against him, nor is he afraid of being hanged. “The army cannot be controlled by politicians, the army has put control on itself,” he said.

Speaking on DawnNews’s programme ‘Faisla Awam Ka‘, Hamid Gul not only defended the creation of the IJI, but also credited General (Retd) Aslam Beg for helping create it.

Continue reading Gen. Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI

What is to be done for Sindh?

By: Shahab Usto

These days a very interesting discourse is going on among the Sindhi intelligentsia and public intellectuals as regards the need and creation of an alternative political platform/forum to fill in a potential gap that is supposedly to be left by the ‘dwindling popularity’ and ‘mass appeal’ of the PPP. This is primarily a courtesy to the controversial and ‘perfidious’ Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012 (SPLGO) and the ruling party’s failures on its socio-economic and governance-related score card.

One can sum up the gamut of the discourse in three possible questions:

. Is there any other political alternative available, or which can be created, to replace the PPP in Sindh? If yes then, then the next question that arises is:

. What are the other possible players who can play a pivotal role in the creation of an alternative leadership?

. A related question has also cropped up as to whether the people of Sindh throw their weight behind the PML-F, NPP et al to get rid of the divisive SPGLO?

.Is there any other political alternative available, or which can be created, to replace the PPP in Sindh?

Obviously, the immediate answer that comes in the mind is, of course, the Sindh nationalist parties. After all, it is their moment of truth. The people are probably for the first time clearly resentful of the PPP’s policy of ‘appeasing’ the MQM. Sindhi nationalism is finally speaking out whether through the media, intelligentsia, political workers, academia and men in the street. The long-awaited train has finally pulled up in the nationalists’ terminal. Whether they board it, or leave its cozy compartments to be occupied by the recently pro-establishment-turned-Sindhi-nationalists parties, is yet to be seen.

Continue reading What is to be done for Sindh?

Tradition of nonviolence originated along the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) River

Tradition of nonviolence originated along the banks of the Sindhu/Sindh (Indus) River. The American Institute of Sindhulogy (AIS) is dedicated to spreading the lessons of the ancient Sindhu-Saraswati River Civilization and its message of nonviolence. ….

Read more » American Institute of Sindhulogy

More » Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky supports American Institute of Sindhulogy’s Nonviolence Initiative

Sindh local govt law intensifies polarisation

By: Sohail Sangi

The situation in Sindh is grim after the recent passage of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 by the provincial assembly. Differences over the law have pitted the ruling Pakistan People’s Party against nationalist parties and other opponents of the law in the province.

Both supporters and detractors of the new law have tried to demonstrate their political strength by staging public meetings. The PPP – considered the most popular party in Sindh – held a rally in Hyderabad on Oct 15 while the Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC), a grouping of forces opposed to the local government law, and its component parties also staged similar shows.

The law, which envisages six powerful metropolitan corporations, has been reportedly passed to appease the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. It is believed that the MQM, an important ally of the PPP, wanted more powers in Karachi and Hyderabad. However, it has been opposed by many Sindhi leaders who term it a ‘dual system’ which may deepen the ethnic divide in Sindh. They have apprehensions that mayors of the two cities will be given the same powers as enjoyed by a chief minister.

Protests started on Oct 1 when the controversial bill was adopted by the Sindh Assembly without considering the objections raised by the PPP’s estranged allies in the house. The protests turned violent when gunmen opened fire on a PPP rally in Khairpur killing several people and improvised explosive devices were left outside the houses of PPP’s ministers and MPAs.

Some observers say People’s Party’s mandate in Sindh has suffered a setback.

In order to counter growing opposition to the new law, the PPP showed its political strength by holding the public meeting in Hyderabad on Oct 15. Some political pundits, however, termed holding the rally another PPP blunder after the passage of the local government law, claiming that the party’s stance on the new law was against popular opinion. The law has been opposed not only by the nationalists but also by writers, intellectuals and common people.

Jalal Mehmood Shah, head of the Sindh United Party and convener of the SBC, says people have rejected the local government law and rulers should respect public opinion and withdraw it. Awami Tehrik’s Ayaz Latif Palejo believes the law insults the sentiments of people. Riaz Chandio of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz also opposes the new law.

Although a PPP core committee’s meeting presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari decided to hold talks with the estranged allies and nationalists. However, so far neither has the PPP approached the protesting parties nor has a conducive environment been created for talks.

Nationalists are not ready to hold any talks till the law is withdrawn. The situation is worsening because provocative statements are being issued from both sides.

Saner elements are trying to find a middle path. They say the MQM can help the PPP get out of hot water by accommodating Sindhi people’s viewpoint on the new law.

Barrister Zameer Ghumro, an SBC member, suggests that by altering three sections and one schedule this ‘divide’ can be bridged, provided the MQM gives up its ‘obstinacy’.

Uncertainty in Sindh continues as a popular party and the popular discourse are in conflict with each other. How can this clash between the two be averted?

Jami Chandio, a writer, says an alternative political party is an ideal solution but he thinks that in the present case such an idea cannot be implemented. A broad-based forum modelled along the lines of the Palestine Liberation Organisation or African National Congress can fill the gap for a transition period, but this seems too idealistic, as for one the nationalists themselves have failed to resolve differences among themselves. However, the Anti-One Unit Movement, when people had created an alternative leadership, may serve as a model that can be emulated to deal with the prevailing crisis.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/10/27/sindh-local-govt-law-intensifies-polarisation/

Burma acknowledges mass burnings and massacres of Muslims in country. The silence of Aung San Suu Kyi is troubling

Burma acknowledges mass burnings in Rakhine unrest

Burma’s president has acknowledged major destruction in the west of the country, scene of recent ethnic unrest.

“There have been incidents of whole villages and parts of the towns being burnt down in Rakhine state,” Thein Sein’s spokesman told the BBC.

He was speaking after Human Rights Watch released satellite pictures showing hundreds of buildings destroyed in the coastal town of Kyaukpyu alone.

It says the victims were mostly Muslim Rohingya, targeted by non-Muslims.

Presidential spokesman Zaw Htay told the BBC the government was tightening security in Rakhine state, which is also known as Arakan.

“If necessary, we will send more police and military troops in order to get back stability,” he added.

There is long-standing tension between ethnic Rakhine people, who make up the majority of the state’s population, and Muslims, many of whom are Rohingya and are stateless.

Continue reading Burma acknowledges mass burnings and massacres of Muslims in country. The silence of Aung San Suu Kyi is troubling

SANA Toronto Briefs Imran Khan (PTI Chief) on SPLGA

By: Khalid Hashmani

Although I believe that the manifesto of PTI and certain statements of Imran Khan that he has made in the past have elements that hurt Sindh & Sindhi interests, the courageous step by SANA GTA chapter deserves thanks and praises. The PPP is taking Sindhi support as granted and is bartering away Sindhi interests for their short-term gain to remain in power at all costs. This initiative of SANA GTA chapter reflects the sentiment that Sindhis will neither forget nor forgive those who betray our trust.

In the whole scheme of things and as policies of PTI (as expressed in it’s manifesto and the statements of PTI leaders) that favor the building large dams, having one national language, and more centralization at the cost of provinces, Imran Khan’s party is not a natural partner of Sindhis. Nevertheless, meeting of Toronto Sindhis with Imran Khan yells PPP that since they have put Sindh & Sindhi Rights on an auction block, Sindhis will work with traditional adversaries to block PPP from further sell-out of Sindh Rights.

Thank you Abdul-Razzaq Khushk, Jam Muneer, Rajesh Rathi, Vishnu Lohano, Aijaz Kolachi, Naeem Khatree & other friends for their bold step.

– – – – – – – – – –

SINDHI ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA (Toronto Chapter)

Memorandum: October 25, 2012

To: Mr. Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf.

Regarding: SINDH NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SPLGA2012.

Dear Sir,

We, Sindhi speaking immigrants from Pakistan living in North America feel that PPP has violated the mandate of the people of Sindh by Passing this divisive and very controversial, black Law called “SPLGA 2012.

We want to bring following facts in your kind consideration & perusal.

· Under Article 137 of the Constitution, Sindh Assembly has no power to transfer the executive authority of the Provincial Government to any other authority, but PPP did not care and still passed this act.

· Since there is triangle of the powers under the constitution, one organ of the state, particularly a legislative organ cannot snatch executive authority from the provincial government.

· Under Section 14(5) Mayer has been empowered to establish any office or activity which power even the Federal Government does not possess.

· Under Schedule 1, the Metropolitan Corporations will have 43 departments with their own administration that is equal to all departments of Sindh government, hence state with in state has been created.

· Mayer had been made supreme as under Section 23, Mayor could only be removed by two third majority when the Chief Minister & Prime minister can be removed by simple majority of the house.

· Section 109 pertains to preventive detention, 133 and 143 to public nuisances, section 144 to ban any sort of activity including freedom of movement given in this act, Mayer will silence freedom of expression & assembly , which is against the spirit of democracy & will be the cause of silencing the voice of opponents.

· Under section 145, Mayor has been empowered to attach a property of any citizen in case of dispute over title of the property, which will legitimize bulldozing all of properties & seizing them for the city, hence making the way for one party rule in karachi.

· Metropolitan corporations will have their own taxes, plus property tax as well as right over the finances of the Provincial Government but they will not be answerable to provincial government.

· The administration headed by Mayor will be all resourceful and powerful whereas the administration working under Chief Minister will be nominal, weak and toothless having no authority whatsoever.

· Section 8 of the SPLG Act, 2012, creates a single Metropolitan Corporation by abolishing five districts.

· District Council, Karachi which comprised of 70% of the rural areas of Karachi has been done away with, thus dealing a severe blow to Sindhi and Balochi,Pashtun,panjabi,Katchi population of Karachi.

· Mayer will be elected indirectly on the basis of fraudulent electoral system and will belong to a particular ethnic community not forming majority of the population in Karachi.

· Under Section 9, eighteen towns have been created without respecting the boundaries of the revenue districts as for the rest of sindh & a dual system has been created to benefit MQM.

· The town boundaries, at present, run across district boundaries only in Karachi to favor MQM, whereas in other districts of Sindh, town or Talukas are the part and parcel of the same district.

· Thus a dual system has been enforced which gives complete control to one ethnic community in Karachi at the cost of others. In Karachi, 18 towns have been created in such a way as to make minority population as a majority to benefit MQM.

· This is also a violation of Supreme Court of Pakistan orders which has already held that constituencies in Karachi may be demarcated afresh giving representation to all communities living there.

· In the name of decentralization, Karachi has been completely centralized eliminating the representation of indigenous and other communities by handing over them to the terrorist Party of the city.

All conscious & patriot people & civil society along with all nationalist parties of Sindh are on the roads and struggling against this treacherous act of PPP through which they have handed over absolute powers to MQM and has thus laid the foundations of “State with in state” and muted the voice of all other nationalities.

We urge you to raise your voice against this black law at all forums & Media and support people of Sindh against this betrayal, tyranny & arrogance of PPP in Sindh.

Best Regards,

Abdul Razzak Khushk

President, SANA,Toronto.

ANP to oppose Kalabagh dam construction to “their last breath”

During court proceeding on Thursday, Chief Justice LHC Umar Ata Bundial remarked that as it is a question of national interest, the court would definitely order in favour of the dam’s construction.

LAHORE: The Awami National Party (ANP) announced on Thursday that it would oppose the construction of the controversial Kalabagh Dam to “their very last breath”, DawnNews reported.

ANP spokesperson Zahid Khan told DawnNews on Thursday that the dam was a conspiracy for national destruction and the Lahore High Court (LHC) should remain careful while making any decisions on the matter.

Khan said that the ANP would offer the same sacrifices again as it did in its fight against terrorism.

The construction of the controversial hydroelectric dam, proposed to be built at Kalabagh in Punjab’s Mianwali district, is a thorny political issue likely to fuel further tension between Punjab and the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhthunkhwa.

The Lahore High Court is currently hearing petitions for the construction of Kalabagh dam, which is believed to be able end the country’s power crisis.

During court proceeding on Thursday, Chief Justice LHC Umar Ata Bundial remarked that as it is a question of national interest, the court would definitely order in favour of the dam’s construction.

Continue reading ANP to oppose Kalabagh dam construction to “their last breath”

President Zardari and Sindh

By Mohammad Khan Sial

KARACHI: The people of Sindh were shocked by President Asif Ali Zardari’s remarks while speaking at the fifth South Asian Free Media Association conference in which he complained that nationalists were not ready to talk to the government over the new local government law in Sindh as they were getting money from Punjab for behaving in such a manner. The president also claimed that the controversial Zulfikarabad project is in favour of Sindh and that the nationalists are opposed to the province’s development.

Firstly, I would like to point out that the government has always claimed that the nationalists have no backing in Sindh as they have never been able to win even a single seat in elections. I am unable to understand if that is the case then why is President Zardari so worried about their protests? His claim that Punjab is financing this protest movement in Sindh is unacceptable. The PML-F’s Pir Pagaro is also a staunch opponent of the new law so much so that according to press reports, he did not accept the president’s request to meet him. Can the president please clarify whether Pir Pagara is also receiving funding from Punjab in exchange for opposing the law? I would like to inform the president that the people of Sindh as a whole oppose this system. The government cannot be successful in portraying that only nationalists are opposed to it.

Regarding Zulfikarabad, the president’s claim that “opponents of the project are opponents of development of Sindh” is unacceptable for the simple reason that this project is bound to bring demographic changes in Sindh, increasing fears among Sindhis that after its completion, they would be reduced to a minority in their own province. If the president was really keen on alleviating the plight of Sindh, he would have diverted the funds allocated to Zulfikarabad to the less-developed areas of the province.

Continue reading President Zardari and Sindh

Veteran politician Rasool Bux Palijo has claimed that the Thar coal project was being delayed to pave the way for the Kalabagh dam

Veteran politician fears Kalabagh dam project being revived

HYDERABAD, Oct 23: Awami Tehreek (AT) chairman Rasool Bux Palijo has claimed that the Thar coal project was being delayed to pave the way for the Kalabagh dam.

Speaking to reporters at the Palijo House in Qasimabad on Tuesday, he said that a petition had recently been filed in the Lahore High Court to seek the go-ahead for the Kalabagh dam project but the PPP government, which had been opposing it for years, was taking no notice of the move.

The Kalabagh dam plan is a matter of life and death for Sindh,” he reminded the PPP, and told the media that under a conspiracy water downstream Kotri barrage was to be stopped and this would render Sindh’s agricultural lands barren forcing the affected landowners to dispose of their lands at cheap rates.

This [Kalabagh] is the plan is for the destruction of Sindh,” he remarked, and said that millions of Sindhi people would oppose it tooth and nail.

Quoting the Lahore High Court observation that the government was not serious about building the dam, Mr Palijo apprehended that the court was going to give its verdict in favour of the petitioner.

“The PPP is very likely to continue with its lip service to the issue,” the veteran politician predicted. He spoke about the strong resistance to the project put up by the PPP when it was led by Benazir Bhutto, and said that the PPP along with the Awami Tehreek had staged a historical sit-in at Kammo Shaheed in Aug 1998 and declared that it would never allow construction of any dam on the Indus.

Continue reading Veteran politician Rasool Bux Palijo has claimed that the Thar coal project was being delayed to pave the way for the Kalabagh dam

‘Save Sindh Committee’ wishes Malala Yousafzai a speedy recovery

Sindh Bachayo Committee presents bouquet to Malala Yousafzai in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham

Birmingham 21 October: Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee) presented a bouquet and conveyed a get well soon message to hospitalised Pakistani school girl and campaigner of girls education Malala Yousafzai. Due to the tight security, the delegation couldn’t meet Malala personally.

Continue reading ‘Save Sindh Committee’ wishes Malala Yousafzai a speedy recovery

The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s.

By Shalva Weil for ISN Insights

In November 2008, Lashkar e Taiba (LET), a radical Islamist group from Pakistan, specifically targeted “Nariman House” in Bombay (Mumbai) for a terrorist attack, along with other tourist locations, such as the Taj Mahal hotel. Nariman House was a ‘Chabad house’ of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Hasidic Judaism – a Jewish outreach center that included an educational center, synagogue and hostel. It was run by Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. When the building was attacked, six occupants, including the Rabbi and his pregnant wife, were killed. A total of 164 people were killed in the Mumbai attacks. David Coleman Headley, who testified in the United States at the end of May 2011 in the trial of his friend, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, confessed that he had planned the Mumbai attacks in conjunction with an officer of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, a man whom he called “Major Iqbal”. The officer was reportedly delighted that the Jews were targeted.

The Jews of Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s. Recently, Yoel Reuben, a Pakistani Jew living in the town of Lod in Israel, whose family originated in Lahore, documented some of the history of the Jewish communities with photographs of original documents. When India and Pakistan were one country, before the partition in 1947, the Jews were treated with tolerance and equality. In the first half of the 20th century, there were nearly 1,000 Jewish residents in Pakistan living in different cities: Karachi, Peshwar, Quetta and Lahore. The largest Jewish community lived in Karachi, where there was a large synagogue and a smaller prayer hall. There were two synagogues in Peshawar, one small prayer hall in Lahore belonging to the Afghan Jewish community, and one prayer hall in Quetta. Even today, according to unofficial sources, there are rumors that some Jews remain in Pakistan, including doctors and members of the free professions, who converted or pass themselves off as members of other religions.

The Jews of Pakistan were of various origins, but most were from the Bene Israel community of India, and came to Pakistan in the employ of the British. Yifah, a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, relates that her great-great-grandfather Samuell Reuben Bhonkar, who was a Bene Israel, came to Karachi in British India to work as a jailer, and died there in 1928. The Bene Israel originated in the Konkan villages, but many moved to Bombay from the end of the 18th century on. In Pakistan, they spoke Marathi, their mother-tongue from Maharashtra; Urdu and most spoke English. Prayers were conducted in Hebrew.

In 1893, a Bene Israel from Bombay, Solomon David Umerdekar, inaugurated the Karachi Magen Shalom Synagogue on the corner of Jamila Street and Nishtar Road, which officially opened in 1912. During these years, the Jewish community thrived. In 1903, the community set up the Young Man’s Jewish Association, and the Karachi Bene Israel Relief Fund was established to support poor Jews. In 1918, the Karachi Jewish Syndicate was formed to provide housing at reasonable rents, and the All India Israelite League, which represented 650 Bene Israel living in the province of Sindh (including Hyderabad, Larkano, Mirpur-Khas and Sukkur, as well as Karachi), was first convened – founded by two prominent Bene Israel, Jacob Bapuji Israel and David S Erulkar. Karachi became a fulcrum for the Bene Israel in India, the place where they congregated for High Holiday prayers. There was also a prayer hall, which served the Afghan Jews residing in the city. A 1941 government census recorded 1,199 Pakistani Jews: 513 men and 538 women. So accepted were the Jews of Karachi in these years that Abraham Reuben, a leader in the Jewish community, became the first Jewish councilor on the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

Continue reading The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Pakistan’s disappearing Hindus

By: Maitreya Buddha

The political system works against minorities in Pakistan, dovetailing wealth, power, and sectarianism. While Pakistan’s Hindus feel the effects keenly, the elites have adjusted to the political apparatus rather than challenging it.

Over 50 Hindu families migrate to India every month. According to Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the founder of the Karachi-based Pakistan Hindu Council, this is due to the failure of the Pakistani government to find a solution to the acute sense of discontentment among Hindus arising, in part, from increasing incidence of forced conversion, particularly in Sindh province in southern Pakistan. …

Read more » Open Democracy

http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/maitreya-buddha-samantaray/pakistan%E2%80%99s-disappearing-hindus

PPP policies have put Sindh’s integrity at stake: AT chief Ayaz Latif Palijo

THATTO, Oct 21: Awami Tehreek (AT) staged a big public meeting near Thatto Press Club on Sunday to mobilise the masses against the Sindh People’s Local Government Act, 2012. AT chief Ayaz Latif Palijo spoke at the rally which was attended by members and supporters of its different wings, including Sindhyani Tehreek and Hindu Sujaaq Tehreek, besides a large number of AT activists.

Mr Palijo told the gathering that Sindh was passing through the most crucial phase in the history of the subcontinent as it was facing dismemberment by virtue of the newly introduced law. He asked the people of Sindh to join in the peaceful struggle launched by the Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC) in order to wage a vigorous battle to defend the province and safeguard the legitimate rights of its people.

Mr Palijo severely criticised the Pakistan People’s Party for “betraying the political forces which had always been helping it to reach the power corridors,” and observed that the party’s so called policy of reconciliation had put Sindh’s integrity at stake while the political expediency during its tenure has earned the country a bad name.

Continue reading PPP policies have put Sindh’s integrity at stake: AT chief Ayaz Latif Palijo

Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi

In the 14th century, Chanesar Soomro, a disgruntled elder brother of the king of Sindh, Dodo Soomro, invited Alauddin Khilji to invade Sindh in order to help him seize the throne from Dodo. The elders, despite Chanesar being older, elected Dodo as the king. The story has it that the elders went to Chanesar first and when they informed him that he was being enthroned, Chanesar making a grave error of judgment said to them, “Wait until I consult with my mother.” Sindh being a patriarchal society then as it is now, the elders, saying that one who could not make his own decisions, having to rely on his womenfolk’s wisdom, cannot be a capable king, rejected him instantaneously and crowned Dodo.

Chanesar contacted Allaudin Khilji to help him gain the throne, which he thought was his by right. In return, he is said to have offered Khilji his sister, Baghi Bai’s hand. Khilji accepted the offer and invaded Sindh. When Khilji attacked Sindh, Dodo encountered him head on and died valiantly defending his land. After Dodo, his only sister, Baghi Bai, hiding her face in a turban, led the battle and was martyred in the battlefield. To this day, Sindhis do not name their sons Chanesar. Dodo as well as Baghi Bai are still alive in the Sindhis’ hearts, while Chanesar has become a cuss word. Being called ‘Chanesar’ is one of the biggest insults to a Sindhi. Shaikh Ayaz, eulogising Dodo, wrote in his famous ballad, Dodo Soomro’s Death, “Doda tunhinjo Saah ta weendo, Dharti jo wesaah na weendo” (Dodo, by sacrificing your life, you will renew this soil’s faith in her sons).

For centuries now, hardly has there been a period when the Sindhi nation has seen one full year of solace. Right from the days when the Aryans invaded the land and drove the indigenous people out — even though Bhagwan Das Gidwani, in his magnum opus, Return of the Aryans, says that it was not an invasion but a homecoming for the Aryans, who had left the Indus land earlier — never has there been much peace in this unfortunate land. Sindh has suffered as much at the hands of foreign invaders as it has from the ingrate lot eating from its fruits and drinking from its waters, but harming it for their petty interests.

While the history of Sindh is full of epic deeds of its heroes who laid down their lives for the honour of their motherland, there has been no dearth of traitors, who either sold their motherland for power, money, or both. And, while the Sindhi nation sings the praises of its valiant sons, it never forgets its traitors.

The honourable members of the Sindh Assembly, by passing the Sindh People’s Local Government Order, 2012 (SPLGO-2012), have reminded me of a number of incidents from the history of Sindh. But I will delve into one instance, for not only does it perfectly fit the paradigm here but refreshes the memories of a time when a similar decision was imposed on the people of Sindh and how the Sindhi people reacted to it.

On September 11, 1954, Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, the uncle of the current speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Honourable Nisar Khuhro, facilitated the passage of the One Unit bill in the Sindh Assembly. Previously, Chief Minister Abdul Satter Pirzada’s government had been dismissed when he, considering the scheme to be detrimental to Sindh’s interests, had refused to get the bill passed through the assembly. An unelected Ayub Khuhro, who had been unceremoniously dismissed on the charges of corruption and maladministration previously, had to be reinstalled as the chief minister of the province when he agreed to toe the line of the central government and get the bill passed. The One Unit bill did pass even though the Khuhro government had to abduct the speaker of the house, Mir Ghulam Ali Khan Talpur, who had refused to get the bill admitted and passed by the assembly. How Ayub Khuhro is remembered in Sindh to this day is no secret and the fact was acknowledged not very long ago by the honourable speaker, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro himself.

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi. What is certain, however, is that they have lost all the credibility their party enjoyed in the eyes of the Sindhi people, which had taken Mr Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decades to build, forever. Sindhi people feel that with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto gone; this party does not represent Sindh’s people and has failed to protect the interests of Sindh.

If there is one person who has come out to be the real hero through this whole game, it is Pir Sahab Pagaro. Sindhis feel that they owe him not only their respect but their votes in the coming elections. Sindhis hardly forget their true sons and never forgive those who betray them. The elections of 1988 proved that. The next elections are not far and the results will demonstrate the fact.

The Sindhi nation also bows its head in gratitude, offering respects to the two honourable lady representatives of Sindhis, Marvi Rashdi and Nusrat Seher Abbasi who opposed the bill. They have become legends. The entire Sindhi nation feels proud of them. They will be sung for centuries in the Sindhi folk poetry.

After the passage of the hated SPLGO 2012, it remains to be seen whether the Sindhi PPP representative will ever be able to read Shah again with the same pride as they recited the poetry in their election speeches before.

Continue reading Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

International Organizing Committee – Asia Europe People’s Forum

Press release – Vientiane, Laos, October 2012 – Asia-Europe People’s Forum gathered 1000 citizens in Vientiane (Laos): “We demand a people-centered world not a system based around deregulation of markets and increasing power of multinational corporations”

At the 9th Asia Europe People’s Forum we focused on developing strategies and demands to the governments which meet at the 9th ASEM meeting in Laos in November.

Over 1000 citizens from Asia and Europe joined together from 16th to 19th October 2012 in Vientiane at the 9th Asia Europe People’s Forum. The AEPF9 tackled four

major themes, Universal Social Protection and Access to Essential Services; Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Land and Natural Resource Management; Sustainable Energy Production and Use; and Just Work and Sustainable Livelihoods.

Preceding the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum we held three preparatory workshops in South and South-East Asia. In Laos, 16 Provincial level consultations. These brought together the reflections, aspirations and visions of the Lao people from a wide range of civil society organisations.

The AEPF brought into sharp focus the drastic inequalities, injustices and poverty experienced by people across Asia and Europe. What is often presented as a ‘financial crisis’ is in reality part of a series of interlinked crises – food, energy, climate, human security and environmental degradation – that are already devastating the lives, and compounding the poverty and exclusion faced on a daily basis by millions across Asia and increasingly across Europe.

Continue reading International Organizing Committee – Asia Europe People’s Forum

Reepika Maseeh abducted & forcibly converted to Islam

Mian Mithoo & Mian Aslam’s new conquest, Reepika Maseeh, coming out of court. Reepika Maseeh is a Christian nurse from Sukkur, Pakistan. According to her father, she was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam & married away to a disciple of Mian Mithoo/Mian Aslam.

Read the story in Sindhi daily Awami Awaz: CLICK HERE

http://www.awamiawaz.net/%D8%B1%D9%BE%DA%AA%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%AD-%D8%B3%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D9%BB%D8%A7%D8%A1%D9%8E-%DB%BE-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA-%D9%BE%D9%8A%D8%B4%D8%8C-%DA%AA%D9%86%D9%87%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87

via – adopted from facebook

Sindhis in UK demand to revoke Sindh local bodies law

LONDON: The 24th International Conference on Sindh organised by World Sindhi Congress has called on the PPP government to revoke the controversial Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) as it’s a conspiracy against Sindh. The conference warned that actions of the PPP government had harmed Sindhis and had given too much influence to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The speakers said MQM is the sole beneficiary of this ordinance and allows the party to “rule Karachi and Hyderabad without any challenges”. The conference was attended by a large number of delegates from Sindh, UK, US, India and Europe. A keynote speech by Baloch leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal was the special feature of the moot.

The speakers advised all Sindhi nationalist parties to make Karachi centre of their political activities and believe in mass mobilisation of people. Sardar Akhtar Mengal said Sindhis gave huge mandate to PPP but in return it betrayed them and the recent local bodies act is the latest example. He said Sindhis should think beyond PPP.

Dr Lakhu Luhano said it was unprecedented time for Sindhi people in terms of danger and threat that never has existed to this level in the entire history of Sindh. Syed Jalal Shah said ground realities are very tough for Sindhis and called for a “fight back to repeal the act and take this struggle to wider demands of Sindhis”.

Hidayat Bhutto said Sindhis joined Pakistan based on the 1940 Resolution which clearly said, “Federating units shall be sovereign and independent” but that has not happened. “Since 1947, Sindh’s rights are being violated, its water is being diverted, its natural resources are used without any compensation and now its integrity is at stake,” he said.

Continue reading Sindhis in UK demand to revoke Sindh local bodies law

Russell Means, Once Keynote Speaker at SANA Convention, Passes Away

Russell Means, said to be the most well-known American Indian of our times, leader of American Indian Movement, Hollywood actor & keynote speaker at Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) 23rd Annual Convention at Orlando, FL has passed away.

Read more » http://www.sindhfirst.org/SANA_Convention.html

http://www.sanalist.org/sana/newsite/annual_conventions_2007.html

Hollywood Celebrities Blanca Blanco and John Savage support Sindh & Sindhi community

It’s an honor to be here. Thank you Sufi. I was very pleased when we met Sufi Sindhi and when he talked about his organization I thought it was very impressive because we need people like him that encourage helping others. I think that it was for us, very important to be here. I wanted to come and talk to you about my documentary because it relates a lot to the Sindhi community in the sense that I grew up in Mexico and we experienced poverty and there was an increase in the lack of jobs and women didn’t have rights. So as a kid I would keep track of all my experiences and I wanted to do something when I got older, either a documentary or a book or a movie. I thought when I’m older I’ll be able to do that. So I’m going to show you the documentary and when I’m done I can continue talking about that.

I grew up in Washington State. We moved from Mexico and we crossed the border. Now we are all citizens. I was a citizen, but I couldn’t cross the border by myself. I know that this is something that is happening in the Sindhi community. They are migrating to India because they want a better future. I can relate to this organization and the community. So let’s show the video and then we can continue.

Continue reading Hollywood Celebrities Blanca Blanco and John Savage support Sindh & Sindhi community

SANA Toronto rejects the SPLG in Sindh

Toronto: Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) members gathered in Toronto, Canada to stage a protest against the evil designs of PPP in the shape of SPLGA. SANA Toronto completely rejected the act and termed it an administrative division of the motherland Sindh.

In addition, the GTA chapter has conducted a meeting to analyze SPLGA, its impact on Sindh, the strategy and an action plan to ensure that Sindhis do not fall into a trap of another Bhotaar Party that after winning the seats would become the new home of the same old Bhotars.

The event was simple, focused and very educational: All participants took part in discussion and also were kept abreast of SANA initiatives on the ground in Sindh these days.

Many suggestions were put forth as to how pressure on PPPP-MQM coalition can be maintained. Some very practical ideas were fielded. One suggestion was ..a blitz of emails, snail mail and phone calls will be made to Sindh to PPPP MPAs to resign or withdraw support to SPLGA.

Congressional Briefing asks inclusion of Pakistan to “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” List

By: Khalid Hashmani

A Congressional Briefing on Minority Women’s Rights in Pakistan was held on October 18, 2012 at the main US Capitol Building, Room HC-5. The focus of the briefing was to inform the staff of members of the U. S. Congress on legal, institutional, and societal challenges faced by the women of minority faiths in Pakistan. As the briefing was organized by the Hindu American Foundation, many of the details provided in the briefing were on the issues of Sindhi Hindu women. A recent videotape that detailed the stories of abduction and forcible conversion of Sindhi Hindu women was also shown. A case was made that Pakistani establishment was creating a rift between Muslim and Hindu Sindhis and forcing Hindus to migrate from Pakistan. Among several recommendations made at the briefing, there appear to be a substantial agreement that the U. S. State department be asked to include Pakistan to the “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list. Other countries that are already on the CPC list include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan

 (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/c13281.htm).

Continue reading Congressional Briefing asks inclusion of Pakistan to “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” List

Urdu speaking Sindhis also reject the controversial & apartheid Sindh local govt. law

Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham, a veteran progressive activists, intellectual & writer rejects “splgo.”

By: Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

…. What is happening is truly tragic and I do not believe it even helps ‘Mohajirs’. It helps MQM fascist ranks and is aimed at garnering Mohajir vote for PPP which is facing a great challenge from Imran aka Taliban Khan.

I was in Sindh when MQM was launched. Altaf met G.M. Syed many times. An understanding was reportedly reached, but was vetoed by Zia, whose creation MQM was. .’Nationalist’ Sindhis and MQM wallahs opposed it too. I was told this by Zaidi Sahib, the political guru of Altaf.-forget the first name, it may have been Ijlal. Altaf also met Pir Pagara, but that is neither here or there.

Fahmida Riaz, an intellectual, writer & poet rejects “splgo.’

When Mohajirs fled India, they were heartily welcomed by Sindhis. My uncle, a member of the communist party, worked as a teacher in Jacobabad. He was a poet too and sported the title Jacobabadi. My other uncle worked in railways and worked in villages like Haibat Shaheed.

In the early years mohajirs and Sindhis had started intermarrying.

But Pakistan was ruled by the Mohajir-Punjabi civil servants (out of 83, one Bengali and no Pathan, Baluch or Sindhi. 82 nearly equally divided between Punjabis and Mohajirs) developed a love-hate relationship and looked down upon every one else-Bengali/Baloch/Pathan and Sindhi. Mind you ordinary Punjabis and mohajirs were in nearly as bad a shape as the others.

It is an impasse. The only way out is for Sindhis, other ethnicities and Mohajirs to get together.

I understand Mohjirs are not in actual numerical majority in Karachi or Hyderabad. A considerable number of people hate MQM. They together with Sindhis, Pashtoons and Baluchs may be able to outvote Altaf followers.

A United Front would have to be launched.

There is a problem though. Sindhis would find it hard to oppose PPP and it requires political sophistication to support one party in general elections and another in local ones.

About the Author – Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham is a veteran progressive activists & intellectual who was one of the members of the University of Karachi Students who participated in the meeting of NSF in Karachi, Sindh in 1955 when the process of takeover of NSF by progressive students started. Later he moved to Dow Medical College and participated actively in left-wing students’ politics. He is also author of a book titled “A medical Doctor Looks at Life on Three Continents”

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, 21 Oct. 2012

U.S. and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER

WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran. …

Read more » The New York Times

Malala asks Pakistan to recreate itself

The attack on Malala has pushed liberal Pakistan to re-ascertain its face. However, the important thing to see is whether Pakistan restructures itself as a liberal moderate democracy.

THE TALIBAN attacked Malal Yousafzai due to her denial of their barbaric codes of self-described and imposed religious taboos. Unlike on the brutal murder of Salman Taseer, the people of Pakistan vociferously denounced this heinous act and stood by her – a good omen for the country, which is living in misery between devil and the deep sea.

Pakistan, which has been historically an Indus country in the past, and once was known as Sindh, have a deep background of secular ethos that until the recent past remained unchanged. The beginning of perversion in Pakistan kicked off with the adaptation of state-religion. In the social and cultural context, it began when the people of Pakistan were pushed through socio-cultural engineering by imposing Arab terminologies in spite of the local ones – replacement of Maseet with the Arabic word Masjid for a mosque and word Khuda with Allah for the God. It was the cultural fanaticism, which came first through sponsored Tabligh (preaching) and was gradually introduced during General Ziaul Haq period when he started altering historical Indian cultural roots of Pakistan and resisted possible Iranian influence- thus the Arabic terminologies, and Salafi school of thought was blended with the Sunni Hanafya majority of the country.

Continue reading Malala asks Pakistan to recreate itself

The changing sociology of rural Sindh

By Arif Hasan

The media, print and electronic, are full of very important news and its analysis. Pakistan-US relations, the judiciary-executive conflict, the Karachi killings, sectarian strife, the Balochistan “insurgency”, and similar issues are regularly written about and/or discussed by well-informed experts. …….. …….

…….  From the early 70s to the late 90s, I have worked in rural Sindh and documented and published on the processes of change taking place in different areas of the province. After a lapse of 10 years, I visited a large number of rural areas with which I was previously acquainted. These visits were made between 2010 and 2012 and involved meetings with village communities, transporters, arhatis, real estate agents and local NGO staff and Community Based Organisation activists.

The change that I have observed and which has been articulated by the groups I interacted with, is enormous and that too in 10 years. The most visible and important change is the presence of women in development and political discourse. They are employed in NGO offices, they manage development programmes, they are social activists and the majority of them are from the rural areas. In some of the remote villages I visited, there were private schools and beauty parlours run by young village women. Blocking of roads to protest against the “high handedness” of the local landlords, bureaucratic inaction, and/or law and order situations, has become common. Women participate in these demonstrations and in some cases these blockages have been carried out exclusively by them.

Discussions with groups on the issue of free-will marriages were also held. The vast majority of individuals were in favour of such marriages even if they violated caste divisions. However, they felt that it is the parents that have to change so as to make such marriages conflict free. The non-availability of middle schools for girls was also discussed. Surprisingly, the village communities had no problem with the girls studying with the boys in the male middle schools. In addition, discussions with the Sindh Rural Support Organisation’s (SRSO) women groups, which consist of the poorest women in a village, revealed that about 20 per cent of them had mobile phones and almost all of them watched television although around 30 per cent households actually own a TV.

Continue reading The changing sociology of rural Sindh

Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

ISLAMABAD – MANY say they now realise it has taken a 14-year-old schoolgirl to teach Pakistan the meaning of courage. Back in 2009 Malala Yousafzai began chronicling the dark grip of the Pakistani Taliban on her homeland, the pretty Swat valley in the country’s north. She had a clear-eyed conviction that girls had a right to an education, something the Taliban did their best to prevent, even after their local rule was broken in an army offensive. She called the Taliban “barbarians”. On October 9th the barbarians took their revenge, shooting her in the head. She is now in a British hospital, in Birmingham, with a specialist unit for war injuries. Doctors are impressed by her resilience.

Back home, says Nusrat Javed, host of a popular political show, “Malala has liberated Pakistan.” Pakistanis have voiced unprecedented anger against the Pakistani Taliban, calling for the peaceful majority to reclaim the country’s destiny from gun-toting, head-chopping extremists.

The question is whether political, military and religious leaders have Malala’s gumption. Most condemned the attack without condemning the Pakistani Taliban. A few went further. The army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who had already taken a more aggressive stance against extremists in recent months, sounded ready for action. After visiting Malala in hospital in Pakistan, he said: “We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost. We will prevail.”

Continue reading Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament

Call to elect scheduled caste people

UMERKOT, Oct 13: Representatives of minorities and civil society have called for giving scheduled caste people representation in parliament and putting in place an inexpensive election system to ensure election of honest persons, good governance and religious harmony in the country.

They were speaking at a consultative workshop organised by the Forum for Human Rights Pakistan in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Development here on Saturday.

Mirchand Sahjani and Popat Kolhi of the Bheel Intellectual Forum said that members of minority communities had no representation in the assembly and those who were elected to reserved seats for minorities had no interest in resolving people’s problems because the seats were sold to the highest bidders. They did not feel themselves answerable to people because they did not have any constituency or the electorate, they said.

HANDS activists Bansi Malhi and Sawai Malhi denied discrimination of non-Muslims by Muslims but said the country’s constitution was discriminatory towards minorities as it did not allow any non-Muslim to become president, prime minister and Chief of Army Staff.

Hindus and Muslims lived in perfect harmony in Umerkot and Tharparkar, Sindh and they attended one another’s weddings and religious festivals. In fact, upper-caste Hindus looked down upon scheduled caste Hindus and poor Muslims, they said.

Continue reading Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament