A leaf from history: Language frenzy in Sindh

By: Shaikh Aziz

Besieged by unending issues, yet aspiring to build a ‘New Pakistan’, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not have a smooth sailing from the very beginning. Even provincial matters that should not have stretched beyond provincial barriers drew him into difficult positions — sometimes embarrassing for his political agenda. This may have been due to centralisation of powers and lack of coordination among various departments. Yet, it dragged Bhutto into several unwanted wrangles.

In July 1972, Sindh — one of the two bastions of PPP — saw a difficult and tragic situation, in the shape of language riots that set Sindh ablaze. The frenzy claimed hundreds of innocent lives, destroyed property worth millions of rupees and created hatred that had never been seen in the history of Sindh for thousands of years.

In the historical backdrop this was very painful in a land of love, peace and hope. After Independence, hundreds of thousands of refugees migrated to Sindh who were not only welcomed here but were also given everything that the uprooted needed. New settlements sprung up, and social services were provided by the government and the people alike. New political and social groups emerged to help the deprived people without discriminating on the basis of cultural or linguistic backgrounds.

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