Category Archives: Personalities

Quaid-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity

Two Sindhis together, Jinnah & Gandhi

Muhammad Ali Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule. He proposed a fourteen- point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of all.
Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return in 1934 and re-organise the Muslim League. Jinnah embraced political opponents by the goal of self-governance/ 1940 Lahore Resolution. The full council of Muslim League in the leadership of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had unanimously passed the resolution in 1940 Lahore Resolution later known as Pakistan Resolution. The council of the Muslim league granted only three aspects of governance-currency, foreign affairs, and defense related communication to the federal government and all other aspects to states/ provinces. The League won most Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, the strong reaction of Congress supporters resulted in communal violence across subcontinent. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted the British to divide the subcontinent.
Unfortunately, after the creation of Pakistan, the 1940 resolution was not implemented in the letter, in spirit to the smaller provinces – Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan – were deprived of all their rights and its people treated as slaves. Due to it, one province of the federation named East Pakistan (Bangladesh) has already seceded from Pakistan.

A Tribute to Tajal Baiwas

by Javed Qazi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

The writer can be reached at: javedqazi68@yahoo.com

I don’t know, whether I say Tajal has died or he hasn’t. I don’t think a poet die. They just transform. He however has ceased to do poetry. Yes he had only one pen as he has said in his most famous poem. And that pen’s ink is over. His blood from the veins and his body which his beautiful mind used to necessarily have to call himself an existence, which used to let him cook prose and poetry for the land and aesthetic in a most beautiful language on earth, in a language my mother used to give me lullaby in nights.

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100th Birth Anniversary of Hari Leader Qazi Faiz Mohammed

by: Suraiya Makhdoom, UK

Kazi Faiz Mohammed is one of our great leaders. He fought against injustice. He fought for the peasants (haris) and he fought against the One Unit. He was a companion of great leaders as Saeen G.M. Sayed and Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi. Later on he joined Awami League and was one of its Senior Vice Presidents. Kazi Faiz Mohammed was also a great writer. In his personal life Kazi Faiz Mohammed was a very simple and down to earth person. It was a pleasure to be with him and I am honoured to have met him.

Sindhi Media, both print and electronic is playing a great role in taking out special supplements on a special day of one of the great personalities of Sindh. Daily Awami Awaz, Daily Ibrat, Tameer e Sindh, Halchal, Halal e Pakistan , Sobh, Mehran TV, Sindh TV, Dharti TV.

December 04, 2008

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.

Baloch King, Khan of Kalat, Suleman Khan seeks Asylum

Baloch royal leader Khan of Kalat seeks asylum
by Mir Raza, mirsalimraza@yahoo.com

London – 27 November 2008

His Highness Beglar Begi, Suleman Khan Ahmedzai, the Khan of Kalat, aged 45, will appeal for asylum in the UK on Friday, 28 November, at a tribunal in Newport, Wales. Regarded by many Baloch people as their monarch and head of state, he was refused asylum in October 2007. Fridays appeal hearing will take place at 10am at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Newport, Columbus House, Chepstow Road, Langstone, Newport , NP18 2LX (0845 600 0877). …

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Abdul Ghaffar Khan is ‘The Frontier Gandhi’

NONFICTION FILM
Abdul Ghaffar Khan is ‘The Frontier Gandhi’
The devout Muslim leader preached passive resistance and opposed violence.
By Allan M. Jalon, Special to The Times
October 19, 2008
Courtesy and Thanks: Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK — BLOOD-DRENCHED stories about suicide bombings, armed clashes and assassinations that pour from Pakistan’s tribal belt these days, while stressing the eruption of Taliban-Al Qaeda-related conflict, often also define the regional culture as one steeped in violence for centuries. But what rarely gets told is how the people of the wild west of Pakistan also share the modern history of radical nonviolence.

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Lalu to appear in Canadian documentary

Patna: Having already acted in a bollywood film “Padmashree Lalu Yadave” in an eponymous role, effervescent Railway Minister Lalu Parasd is all set to appear in Canadain documentary soon. As in the feature film, Lalu is palying the role himself in the documentary “India Reborn” being shot by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

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Piyara Asim we will be missing you….

By Zulfiqar Halepoto

Asim’s untimely death is a great tragedy. We have very few people who have a clear vision and understanding about “change” in Sindh and we are loosing them. After the sad demise of Haider Ali Laghari, who really introduced Burton Russell in Sindh and his books, we lost another man intellectual and student of philosophy.

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Asim Akhund: Demise of a Philosopher of Sindh

DSCN0918Sindh’s progressive political movement is deprived of another activist and intellectual Asim Akhund on September 2, 2008, he died in Karachi after developing infection in heart having undergone a surgery. Asif was in his early 30s, father of two minor sons from his Russian born university colleague beloved wife.

He was a well known figure among political activists, writers and journalists and university folks in Hyderabad and Sindh in general. He was teaching Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Sindh Jamshoro.

Beside teaching he was working with a Labour Party of Pakistan, prior to that he was associated with a left-wing party. He was student of Jawaid Bhutto, former head of Philosophy Dept and who now lives in Washington, and true disciple of Ibrahim Joyo. Joyo saheb has dedicated one of his book to this young intellectual.

Asim had done Masters from Moscow State University; he was a brilliant writer in English, Sindhi and Russian. His office at University and home in Hyderabad was always open to young students and political activists. Though belonging to a relatively affluent family he was generous, kind, humble and simple guy, An extra-ordinary reader of political history, literature and philosophy, above all he was very eloquent speaker with impressive communication skills both in English and Urdu.

Beside his political activities he started a first serious bi-monthly magazine in Sindhi which focused on literature and political issues along with university colleagues, magazine called “Adarsh” published some excellent research based articles, some thing rare to find in post 1990s literary and political discourse in Sindhi language.

His untimely death at young age is a huge of loss of Sindhi students, political activists and intellectual discourse in general. Lot of well-known intellectuals would stay away from him, would not indulge in debate with him because he was larger than many so called writers in Sindh, he was not a man of mainstream as he was never for fame or being counted, he was serious reader and a thinker, those who knew him, would either loved him or stayed away from him knowing his depth of knowledge.

Jawaid Bhutto turned him a progressive leftist thinker while Ibrahim Joyo influenced him greatly by making a man who loved Sindhi language, literature, culture and would strive for political freedom and national sovereignty of Sindh.

He was the only son of his parents, he leaves behind two sons, a wife and hundreds of political and personal friends, we learned a lot from him, Most of  friends were very much impressed with his ability to comprehend complex political issues and then his skill to explain them to common people.  His two historic lectures one at Karachi University’s IR dept (where after his lecture the consensus was that there was not single teacher in KU who has that much expertise on philosophy, socialism and Capitalism) and his other famous lecture he  delivered was in Press Club of Shah Pur Chakar, District Sanghar.

Despite having a foreign degree in Philosophy Sindh University never confirmed him a full-fledged lecturer, he worked on contract on salary of $100 per month, he continued teaching because he loved it, it was his life, career, earning money, making material wealth was never his concern, a selfless person, we have not seen a person of his caliber and commitment in Sindh.

We will miss you my Dear Asim, and I am sure the folks who knew you and learned from you, will continue to lighten the minds of young people for a better future.

Remembering Leon Trotsky

By: Hisam Memon

A man of revolution, brave, demagogue and replete with wisdom and sincerity “LEON TROTSKY” was assassinated 21st August in 1940 by Stalinist faction with ice axe. He was a friend of great revolutionary hero Lenin, who revolved in Russia in 1917. Which is known as “OCTOBER INQLAB” in our Sindh and I have been observing Russian Revolution has been a mental monument for the people, who learnt much from the Russian literature and revolution.

Now the radicals inclinations have been dimmed and the minds of the people have been dipped into the lust of gaining status and hoarding money.

I know the people talk of revolution, they have memorized their political role and they still have from the past….

How long the same attitude of greatness would be lasting, people plasticize and memorize the things, but are not pragmatic. People searches behind short cut and they are cut from the actual political role.

People are mentally filled with the certain experience and feel that they have done that all individually. ..

I just remember the things and could not have concession in this regard, because it’s a matter of history and history does not forgive.

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Amarjit Chandan: A tribute to Harkishan Singh Surjit

For the last two decades, in an era when coalitions have been the norm in Indian national politics, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who has died aged 92, the general secretary of the Communist party of India (Marxist) for 13 years till 2005, was a major power-broker. It was a role he described as one of the most trying of his life. In 1989 an anti-Congress party coalition came to power, backed by Surjeet’s CPI (M) – but after Congress’s Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, a Congress-led coalition took over until 1996. Surjeet’s CPI (M) then backed two fragile Janata Dal-dominated coalitions (1996-97).

CPI (M) leader was a Sikh, and combating communalism – whether by religion, language, caste or region – was central to his beliefs. The BJP led governing coalitions between 1998 and 1999, and from 1999 to 2004.

Surjeet backed the current Congress coalition which came to power in 2004. Indeed, in the vote of confidence debate in the Indian parliament last month on the US-India nuclear deal, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, thanked him for his support in defeating the BJP.

While Surjeet enjoyed significant influence during his years as party leader, unsurprisingly he described the period as “one of the most trying” of his life. In 1996, there was indeed a moment when the CPI(M) might have supplied the prime minister at the head of the United Front coalition: Basu – at the time chief minister of West Bengal – was the consensus candidate, but the party’s politburo decided not to participate in the government. Basu later described it as a “historic blunder”. Surjeet had voted in favour of Basu.

Born in a small peasant family in Rupowal, a village in eastern Punjab, Harkishan Singh cut his political teeth in a charged atmosphere, when the region was the epicentre of anti-colonial national struggle. Inspired by the revolutionary independence fighter Bhagat Singh, hanged in 1931, Surjeet was imprisoned the following for hoisting the Indian tricolour at the district courts in Hoshiarpur on the anniversary of the execution. He soon came into contact with senior political prisoners and two years after his release, in 1936, joined the CPI.

Surjeet started actively organising small landholders around economic issues like debt and digging irrigation canals. Writing patriotic poetry and working for Punjabi political papers, he acquired the nom de plume Surjeet – conqueror of the gods.

With the outbreak of the second world war, the CPI, following the Moscow line (Stalin had recently concluded his pact with Hitler) denounced the war as imperialist. Leading CPI members were rounded up by the British, including Surjeet, who had gone underground, and detained in Deoli detention camp, Rajasthan. For Surjeet it proved to be an opportunity to study Marxism further.

All were released in 1942, and gave their unqualified support to the British as a way of waging the people’s war. The Ghadr-Kirti party, the rural populist organisation led the firebrand Teja Singh Swatantar, Surjeet’s main rival, merged with the CPI.

Following the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the CPI’s line changed into support for what had now become the “people’s war” and CPI leaders, including Surjeet, were released in 1942. By 1944 Surjeet was propounding his own thesis for a Sikh homeland on the model of the Pakistan being proposed by the Muslim League. But Surjeet’s idea was firmly quashed by Rajani Palme Dutt, the Communist party of Great Britain’s chief ideologue, who for many years supervised the CPI on behalf of Stalin’s Comintern.

In 1952, at the age of 36, Surjeet was elected general secretary of the Punjab section of the CPI, and two years later was elected to the Punjab legislative assembly and again in 1967. He was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, from 1978 to 1982.

But in the early 1960s the Sino-Soviet split in global communism triggered a crisis in the CPI. This was exacerbated in 1962 by the six-week Sino-Indian war. Many CPI leaders, including Surjeet, backed China and were imprisoned. In 1964, along with eight other communist stalwarts, he walked out of the CPI and formed the CPI (Marxist) causing a vertical division across the country in the trade unions and other mass organisations. The CPI(M) kept the Stalinist rhetoric, but in practice has been pragmatic. Since 1977 is has led the Left Front in West Bengal, making it the world’s longest-running democratically elected communist government, and has invited multinationals to invest in the other two states where it leads the governments, Tripura and Kerala.

There was further division in the late 1960s, when Maoist fundamentalists

formed the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) after a tribal peasants’ agitation in Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal was ruthlessly crushed by the CPI(M)-led government in the state capital of Kolkata. Nevertheless, in terms of electability, Indo-communism, in whose development Surjeet has had a significant hand, has achieved what Euro-communism could not.

A key issue for Surjeet was keeping the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) out of office. The

After the split in the party, when the main funding from both the Soviet

and Chinese communist parties had dried up due to the CPI(M)’s independent

ideological stance, Surjeet could rely on support from emigrant British and North America Sikh communities.

From the mid-1960s Surjeet visited Britain at least twice a year. In 1966 the CPI(M)-backed Association of Indian Communists was set up in London. He personally supervised its annual elections and those of the Indian Workers Association (Great Britain).

It was as a boy in the early 1960s that I first met Surjeet. As a friend of my father he was a regular visitor to our house in Nakodar in the Punjab. Affable and caring, he never lost his composure even in heated debate: he was a splendid orator in both Punjabi and English.

Three years ago he visited Lahore for the first time after Partition and met with his old Muslim comrades including CR Aslam and Tahira Mazhar Ali. He told Aslam that he had left the keys to the Party headquarters in Fazal Husain building McLeod Road with him in 1947 and now came to Lahore to take them back!

He leaves a party with a national membership of about half a million and 43

seats in a 545-strong parliament; it is the next largest after Congress (145 seats) and the BJP (138), while the Communist Party of India (CPI) has 10. Even after the total reversal in the CPI(M)’s policy towards the Soviet-supporting Congress party, which was one of the causes of the split with the CPI back in 1964, Surjeet was considered the main obstacle to the CPI(M) reuniting with the CPI and his passing may hasten reunification.

He is survived by his wife and two sons and a daughter.

Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com & Guardian

http://www.wichaar.com/news/152/ARTICLE/7977/2008-08-07.html

[An edited version of this obituary was published in The Guardian 6 August 2008.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/06/india]

Death Anniversary of Nazeer Abbasi Shaheed: A Memorial Public Meeting in Berlin, Germany

by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

Many peace-loving Sindhis will be taking out rallies to demand rights for indigenous people and to remember victims of torture coming Saturday and (August 9). This day is the death anniversary of Nazeer Abbasi Shaheed and has been declared as the Indigenous People’s Day.

The “Hari Haqdar” organization is arranging a big rally in Hyderabad, Sindh (see details below). A group of progressive Pakistanis will be remembering Nazeer Abbasi Shaheed in Berlin Germany on the same day.

I appeal to all North American Sindhis to do the same in small or large groups so that those who gave their lives in fighting for Rights are never forgotten.

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Organization of Progressive Pakistanis has Organised a Memorial Public Meeting in Berlin on Saturday 9th August at 6 PM, BUELOW STRASSE 129, Solidarity Hall to pay the Tribute to Shaheed-e- Wafa’a Nazir Abbasi Shaheed, who was killed at 9th August 1980 during the dictatorship of General Zia. All Democratic and Progressive Pakistanis are Requested to Join this Memorial Meeting.

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Hari Rights Rally and Conference

On the occasion of Indigenous Peoples Day and Death Anniversary of Nazeer Abbasi Shaheed, the August 9, 2008, Sindh Hari Porhiat Council is organizing a Hari Haqdar (Peasant Rights) Rally from Nuzrat College at 11am. Rally will be follwoed by Hari Haqdar (Peasants Rights) Conference Near Press Club Hyderabad at Miran Muhammad Shah Road Hyderabad, Sindh. The key objective of the rally and Conference is to reinforce the demand for amendment in Sindh Tenancy Act. In this regard civil society groups including Sindh Hari Porhiat Council, Bhandar Hari Sangat, ActionAid Pakistan have prepared a draft for amendments after detailed consultations with peasants’ groups all over Sindh. The draft suggesting amendment have been submitted to Special Committee of Sindh Assembly last year.

Peasants movements and civil society groups are demanding amendments in accordance with recommendations from peasants groups.

Sindh hari Porhiat Council has invited concerned citizens, social and political activists, professional organizations to join with peasants according to following program; Saturday, August 9th 2008

Time for Rally: 11.00am near Tilak charhee Near Nuzrath College, Time for conference: 1.00pm near Press Club

Punhal Sariyo, President, Sindh Hari Porhiat Council, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan

Source – Sindhi e-groups, 4 August, 2008

Fatima Bhutto in Jaipur, India

The pink city

‘Asalam alaikum, Namaste, welcome to the Pink City’ came the voice on the phone line. I had traveled to Jaipur, the heart of Rajasthan in India, to speak at a literary festival and after a long drive from Delhi I was met by a kind and welcoming voice.

India to speak on Pakistan

and to be a conduit for a message other than what we see reported on our country every day — hate. I wanted to speak for what a majority of Pakistanis truly want, inside our borders and outside, peace.

Our countries, India and Pakistan

, are sister nations. We are one half of each genetically and physically. We have, like siblings, more in common than we appreciate and our differences, though vast, are not impossible to overcome. They are barely visible.

In Pakistan, we greet brothers with a hand on the heart or a palm cupped towards to sky. ‘Adab’ we say, respect. Or salam, peace. In India

, friends and strangers alike are met with two hands pressed together at the base of the heart. Namaste in Sanskrit, a joining of the fingers and skin, recognizes a counter divine. I bow to you it means.

The first time I visited India as an adult, I was with one of my best friends Sabeen. Sabeen is as close to a sister as I could get. We lost our fathers together and we became friends through a shared pain and burning desire to see justice in our lifetimes. It’s fitting that we travelled to India two years ago. Sabeen is the ultimate Bollywood devotee. She is not afraid to admit it either. I’m wobbly on that front. I’m difficult and stubborn, Sabeen is temperate and forgiving. I’m veg, she’s non-veg. You get my point here. It was in the passion of bargaining for some trinket or the other that Sabeen huffed at a merchant and said ‘Come on bhai, we’re from Pakistan’. I stared at her in horror. Why was she trying to get us maimed? I shot her angry eyes and clenched my face; surely she would realize that flouting our Pakistani-ness might not be the best way to endear us to our neighbours across the border. I was so wrong. The minute our nationality, our connection, had been revealed the shopkeeper fell over with friendship. He waived the price altogether. It was a small token, but it was as you do with siblings. ‘Welcome’ he said to us. ‘I have family in Karachi

‘ he said next.

There are plenty of tales just like this. When the 2005 earthquake ravaged much of our Northern regions, we were not the only ones to be hit; there were victims on the Indian side too. The Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, whose founding members include Dr Mubashir Hasan, a pioneer and Pakistani treasure, and the brave civil rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad initiated joint relief. The Pakistan chapter sent relief aid to the Indian victims of the quake and the Indians sent relief to our devastated and destroyed. The forum is a joining of people’s movements, of their aspirations and dreams for a peaceful future between our two countries. They have come together on resolutions ranging from demilitarization, Kashmir

, and religious intolerance in both countries. Speaking in the early weeks of 2004, Dr Mubashir Hasan outlined fourteen steps for peace the forum advocated to Islamabad and New Delhi:

‘Commit to partnership, equality and mutual respect’

‘Commit to resolving political and other differences through peaceful and democratic means’

‘Recognize the difficulty of modifying historical and public stances on the issue. Understand the imperative of finding and acceptable solutions…strive towards reconciliation and rapprochement’

There is no reconciliation without truth (that’s a direct note to you venal supporters of the mercenary National Reconciliation Ordinance). And here it is — there is more fortune in peace between our two countries than war will ever bring us. We must build bridges between our people, not bombs.

On the drive from Delhi to Jaipur, the only thing that broke the interminable voyage were fields of sarson, yellow buds alive with colour, just like we have in Lahore. Papaya plantations marked a patch of land between the green and yellow of the grassland. I thought of Sindh’s mangoes. I have a sweet tooth myself. India’s batsmen, Pakistan’s bowlers — can you think of a mightier team? Take that, West Indies.

I was accompanied on this most recent trip by another dear friend, Laleh — you may remember her as the Indian who shopped quite liberally on a road trip through the interior of Sindh. I ate Rajasthani thali with Laleh and felt the insides of my head sear with heat from the pepper of the food. We travelled by taxi in the day and passed on one side the pink stucco bricks of Rajput palaces and on the other a crimson red communist flag, sickle and cell flapping in the wind at a traffic light. We didn’t compete over our countries, playing the usual one-upmanship of nation states; instead we traded stories both familiar and unusual about our two homes. I told Laleh about Kot Diji, the fort we had missed on her last trip to Pakistan, and she told me about the Ajanta Alora Caves

, the site we could visit on my next trip to her country.

In all journeys away from our loved ones we discover certain truths. I love Pakistan. I am proud to be a citizen of this country and to be counted among the millions who call this home. That is not my truth, that I’ve always known. On my last night in the pink city, I was watching television. The US Secretary of Defence was ready to send ground troops into Pakistan the headline blared. At that point, our differences became pointless. It was no longer us against each other; there were larger threats now. Siblings, though stymied by rivalries at times and shadowed by each other’s ghosts, are still siblings. They have to protect each other in order to survive. We can’t help our pasts, but we have an amazing opportunity to push for radical change in our futures.

Courtesy- The News, 2/3/2008

Amar Jalil to be honoured

KARACHI, June 22: The University of Karachi will celebrate the golden jubilee of the career of the renowned short-story writer, novelist, playwright and columnist Amar Jalil on June 29 at a programme to be held in a local hotel.

Shields would be presented to Amar Jalil by the KU, Sindhi Language Authority, Sindh Graduates Association, University of Sindh, Institute of Sindhology, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Chair, Department of Culture and Pakistan Television Corporation at the programme.—PPI

Courtesy- DAWN

Source – http://www.dawn.com/2008/06/23/local17.htm

A gypsy journalist

I am a gypsy journalist wandering the planet like a gypsy. I love the way gypsies live and they explore the world. I am proud to be a “Gypsy Journalist”. Sometimes I find dead whales on Arabian Sea or partly crocodile in the city like Karachi and sometimes I am writing about historical building of the city of open museums, Karachi . Currently, I am working on my next book “Ashes of Karachi”. I love to wonder around world and bring you new legendary stories and share my observations. Though I am gypsy, but I am attached with a Karachi based English paper. Photo by Shahzad Shah Jilani

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Remembering Benazir Bhutto – An eyewitness account of Conditions in Balochistan after her assassination

She walked with us bare foot during her last visit of Balochistan

by: Khalid Hashmani

Washington D.C.—The “Justice and Democracy in Pakistan” forum organized an event to meet renowned writer and analyst Jawaid Bhutto, who was visiting Pakistan, when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. The event was held on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at a local restaurant.

Jawaid Bhutto obtained his Master’s degree from Belgrade-based Sofia University and has taught at the International Relations department of Sindh University for several years. He began by saying that his primary purpose to visit small towns and villages of Sindh and Balochistan was to recognize the changes that may have occurred in him on account of living in the Western world for the past eight years, away from his homeland.

On the dreadful day of December 27, 2007, Jawaid Bhutto was visiting Dr. Abdullah Jan, who is the Dean of Balochi Literature at the Balochistan University in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. They had just exchanged pleasantries for few minutes, when a few persons knocked the door of Dr. Jan’s house and informed him about the sad news that Benazir Bhutto, who was the last hope of millions of people of Pakistanis had been assassinated. Within few minutes of receiving the news, the electricity went off, shutting down television that they had just turned on. They switched to a battery-operated radio, but for some reason, that too was not giving any details as to what was happening in Pakistan. Soon, they learnt that there were no taxis, rickshaws, or other modes of transportation playing on city roads were closed and that angry mourners had shutdown everything in Quetta.

Jawaid ended up staying at Dr. Jan’s residence for three days before he could venture out and get to his hotel. During those three days, local Baloch visited Dr. Jan several times but all the news they brought was based on heresy. At the hotel, Jawaid soon learnt that there were no trains going to Sindh and other parts of Pakistan. There were no petrol stations that were open for other form of land transportation and the airport was closed. He was stranded in Quetta for ten days when a friend offered to drive him to Shikarpur, Sindh (about 200 miles away).

Trains that had left Quetta few hours earlier were forced to return back to Quetta. The trains that had left earlier got stranded in various cities and towns in Sindh and Balochistan. In acts similar to 1987, people had removed tracks in many places with bare hands.

They traveled on one of a major highway, which is normally heavily traveled. They were immediately taken back by the emptiness of the road as they seldom saw any other vehicle on the road. While trailing, they saw many burned gas stations, government buildings, railway stations, and police stations. Soon they made a stop at “Dera Allahyar”, which many people know as “Teople Dera” for “Temple Dera”. Upon reaching the town they went to the house of a non-political and traditional tribal elder man, who was a distant family relative of his friend who was driving him to Shikarpur. The elder said that in spite of him wanting to stop the destruction of property, he could not do much as he found his own sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces were participating in the carnage. The people of the area were extremely angry at the loss of Benazir Bhutto and felt that the country had become too cruel and not worth saving.

As they traveled through another town “Bhag”, they observed the similar expressions of grief and resulting anger in form of the destroyed, trucks, trailers, buildings and railway stations. Some people they met in Bhag were crying and reciting the stories about Benazir Bhutto’s recent visit to their town, just few days ago. They pointed out the spot, where she had addressed the people of town from a truck.

Everywhere, as he traveled from Quetta to Shikarpur, the only topics that people were talking about whether the Pakistan would survive after Benazir’s assassination and who killed her and who was behind her killing. The opinions were diverse but there was a consensus on one thing that … and General Musharaaf were behind her killing as they would be the primary beneficiaries of her death. No one was blaming religious elements as not a single mulla or madrassa was attacked. Some political pundits and commentators blamed Al-Quaida or Taliban for her assassination. But no one at least in rural Sindh and Balochistan bought that theory. Even today, many blame … and cite the swiftness of authorities to clean the crime scene as an evidence of their involvement.

In response to a question, Jawaid Bhutto said he did not meet any one who indicated suspicion in Asif Zardari but he observed that political enemies of Benazir Bhutto had started maligning Zardari.

Much of the damage to government offices, railway tracks and gas stations was done by unemployed youth. It was neither instigated by PPP nor by intelligence services but was simply a reaction of exploited people, who have suffered a lot. The young persons in rural Sindh are very angry and frustrated with high poverty levels in their areas and had hoped that Benazir would do something to alleviate poverty in their areas. 43,000 people were arrested – most of them unemployed youth.

What was amazing that in spite of the spontaneous nature of their actions, protestors were very careful not to harm other people. Many from many adjacent villages brought bread, milk, and other food items and served meals to the stranded travelers. For three days, while train service remained suspended, people took care of those impacted by the suspension in travel. Not a single person appeared before the Human Rights Commission (HRCP) saying that any intentional harm was done to human life.

My Country, My Life- Author:L K Advani

My Country My Life – an autobiography
By: L. K. Advani
(Formerly, Deputy Prime Minister of India and Presently, Leader of Opposition)
My Country, My Life is an extraordinary autobiography by a leading political personality of our times–L.K. Advani – which has been brought out by  Rupa Publishers this month in India (Number: ISBN 978-81-291-1363-4).This nearly thousand-page book presents a candid self-portrait to what Advani’s admirers and critics have always known him for: the gift for clarity of thought, strong convictions and forceful articulation.

The book begins with Advani’s account of an unbreakable bond between Sindh and India and tells as to how he had to abandon his homeland of Sindh which became a part of Pakistan after India was partitioned in 1947. Clearly, the pain of having to abandon the beloved homeland still remains and what lingers in Advani’s mind is the great heritage and history of Sindhi Society, its tolerance and inclusiveness, its Sufi culture

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Remembering Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi

By Aziz Narejo, TX

As we fight our present wars and honor our heroes of the day, we should not forget our leaders and our heroes of the past who led us during some of the turbulent times of our history, fought our wars, never compromised on principles, sacrificed their freedom and liberty and faced incarceration and tortures under previous dictators at various prisons and torture houses including the infamous Lahore Fort.

Let me remind you one such personality Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi with whom I had an honor of meeting a few times.

He was a humanist and a poet who felt the pain of the wretched of the earth and devoted his life to lessen their sufferings and their anguish. He quit a high position in British Raj bureaucracy to fight for the cause of the downtrodden. He was put in jail for so many times and for so long periods but it couldn’t diminish his spirit.

He remained a guiding star and the vanguard of peasant’s movement for over a quarter of a century and fought for the national, democratic, social, cultural and economic rights of our people. He is rightly considered as a non-controversial leader. His name was synonymous with the struggle of the oppressed people.

We miss him today when the feudalism has reemerged as a menacing power and along with naked opportunism, urban terrorism and lawlessness, it is disfiguring our society. We need leaders like him today to give us courage and inspiration and lead us in the war against the forces of darkness and the oppression.

Friends, it is the day to remember and pay homage to our great leader Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi who departed us 38 years ago today (21st May).

May 21, 2008

Commemoration of 13th Anniversary of GM Syed

London- Press Release: World Sindhi Congress (WSC) has organised 13th anniversary of  G M Syed, who struggled all his life for human rights, democracy, secularism and freedom of people.

Over three decades, Saeen was repeatedly detained in various prisons without trial until his death in 1995. The Amnesty International adopted him as a Prisoner of Conscience.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Meet the ‘new’ Asif Zardari

By Karan Thapar

NEW DELHI- Most people, I believe, grow to fill the responsibility placed on them. Promotions are, therefore, an act of faith. But that said and done I’m flabbergasted by the change in Asif Zardari. He’s literally become a different person.

The Asif I remember was a jovial tease, informal, chatty, fond of the good life and determined not to be boring or even serious. We first met the night after his wedding. “Benazir has told me all about you,” he said with mock gravity. “I’m on my best behaviour!” He then spent the evening pulling my leg and, frequently, his wife’s too. Weeks after Benazir first became prime minister we were together on her special flight from Islamabad to Karachi. It was an aged propeller plane which flew at a sedate speed. Sitting in the prime ministerial drawing room at the front, Asif looked at his watch. We’d been traveling for nearly two hours. “If you’d stuck to PIA not only would you have arrived but you’d be in the hotel pool by now!” I protested I wasn’t in a hurry. “Yeah? Let’s see if you return with us!” I didn’t. The Asif I meet two weeks ago was very different. Now the adjectives I would use are measured, emollient and deliberately self-effacing. Of course, he’s still charming, chatty and can’t resist teasing but there’s new gravitas, a consciousness of responsibility and a convincing sense of wisdom. Consider two examples. I pointed out that Nawaz Sharif would keep the PPP-led government unstable. Benazir’s reply would have been defensive. Asif chose to turn my question on its head. “And I welcome that,” he said. “I need people to keep me in check.”

“You need to be kept in check?” I asked, puzzled. “Power is a tricky thing,” he responded. “What better can I ask for than my own ally should check me?”

It was a winning answer but also utterly unexpected. How many politicians on the brink of power welcome the prospect of being kept uncertain and unstable? Even if he didn’t mean it, it was the perfect thing to say. However, it wasn’t just fluent cleverness that made Asif so engagingly different. He also showed vision and courage. When I asked about Kashmir and the role it has played separating. India and Pakistan, Asif, in a simple heartfelt reply, reversed Pakistan’s stand.

Let’s put Kashmir aside for a wiser generation to sort out, he said. Let’s not be hostage to the UN resolutions, he added. Let’s get on with the rest of the relationship and once we’ve learnt live and love each other then tackle Kashmir. Stunned, I made Asif repeat this three times. Not once did he use the opportunity to resile. Each time he re-affirmed what he’d said.

Finally, I asked: “Can you carry your countrymen? Can you handle the backlash this would provoke?”

Asif’s reply was simple. There were no flourishes or braggadocio. “That’s the test of leadership,” and he left it at that.

I can’t predict what sort of government the PPP under Asif Zardari will give Pakistan. I can’t even state Asif won’t change this position. Politicians often do and Asif has faced flak from the Jamaat at home and the Hurriayat in Kashmir. But I do know that Asif did not get carried away. This was not indiscretion or impetuousness. He meant what he said and, what’s more, he meant to say it.

In fact, when I asked if Dr. Manmohan Singh chooses to invite the new PM what the response would be, Asif said not only would the prime minister come but so too Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Fazlur Rehman, Altaf Hussain and Asif Himself. A new Pakistan would seek to be friend India.

I’m therefore full of hope. And whilst I accept hope can easily be dashed, I would say there’s need to encourage this one. That’s the challenge facing our government. How do we assist Asif Zardari without embarrassing or undermining him?

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Our beloved leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto

What is next in store for Sindhis and what could we do fight to secure Justice

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

Today’s 14th day since our beloved leader Benazir Bhutto was brutally murdered by the combined evil forces that appear to run Pakistan now days. These evil forces want to perpetuate their hegemony over Sindhis and other tolerant and forward-looking people of Pakistan and eliminate any one who oppose their dictatorship. With very little representation in the key decision-making institutions, Benazir Bhutto offered Sindhis the only hope for getting fairness and justice peacefully. Now that she has been taken away from us by those who want to enslave Sindhis, we must not only fight for justice for us but also for her.

The question that we need to seriously ponder is what is next in store for Sindhis and what could we do fight to secure Justice for Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and us? Engaging in e-mail discussions, praising and/or criticizing other Sindhi groups is one thing, but the need of the hour is to sincerely pledge and devote ourselves to secure fairness and justice for all Sindhis and other downtrodden people of Pakistan.

Benazir’s own blood family and political family (PPP) have left no doubt that they do not expect any justice for her from any investigations and inquiries being conducted by the present Pakistan government. They are demanding that UN must conduct an inquiry into the question as to who killed her and who had the motivation and opportunity to murder her. The global community in general and Sindhis in particular, have also taken initiatives to pursue UN to become a venue for justice for Benazir. An online petition appealing to UN to conduct an investigation has been signed by almost 8,000 persons with hundreds more signing it each day. Several friends have issued statements that in this critical hour, every Sindhi must join PPP and make it the platform of choice for their struggle to achieve fairness and justice. I can understand it that this is an “election time” and the Sindhi leaders of the PPP feel that it would not be prudent to specifically demand fairness and justice for Sindhis openly in the same way as ANP is fighting for the rights of Pashtuns in NWFP and Baloch nationalist parties doing the rights of Baluch. However, PPP’s Sindhi leaders must realize that the reaction of Sindhi masses over the loss of their only hope (benazir Bhutto) to achieve fairness and justice peacefully clearly shows that they are totally unhappy with the injustices they have been suffering at the hands of the present and some past Pakistani governments. The Sindhi leaders of PPP must recognize that after the elections, Sindhis masses would insist PPP to openly talk about Sindhi plight and forcefully fight for their rights. To get a sense of the deep sadness of Sindhis, read the excepts reproduced below from the Wall Street Journal photo gallery about reaction of Sindhis after hearing the news about the shahdat of Benazir Bhutto. By the same token, Sindhi masses and opinion influencers has to realize that there is nothing enemies of Sindhis would like than see Sindhis move away from PPP and become disunited in many groups.

In my view, the following are some of the practical actions and steps that we Sindhis must take in the immediate future:

* Keep the unity as a focal point and FULLY support vigils, protest marches, and other form of demonstrations that demand justice for Benazir Bhutto and others.

* PPP leadership must recognize that Benazir Bhutto was leader of all Sindhis and should not insist that any grievance or protest should solely be channeled through the PPP platform. On the contrary PPP leadership should encourage their party members to join any protest, demonstrations, and acts of grievances for Benazir Bhutto regardless of who organizes them.

* Organize a massive hunger strike in front of the UN office and in front of other key institutions in Europe, USA, Pakistan , and other countries to demand UN investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s killing and in the plight of Sindhis and Baluch.

* Raise funds to place full-page appeals in world-class newspapers demanding demand UN investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s killing and in the plight of Sindhis and Baluch.

* Create a central committee of overseas  to coordinate activities and actions to demand UN investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s killing and in the plight of Sindhis and Baluch.

* Formulate fouus groups in all major cities and towns and hold weekly sessions to formulate plans and take actions to demand UN investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s killing and in the plight of Sindhis and Baluch.

Are we ready to take some practical and pragamatic actions to secure justice and fairness for Benazir Bhutto and Sindhi masses or must we continue to limit expressing our frustration through e-mails and statements?

If there are any volunteers to provide help by contiibuting towards newspapers ads and joining in peaceful protests and hunger strikes in front of the UN office and in front of other key institutions in Europe, USA, Pakistan , and other countries to demand UN investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s killing and in the plight of Sindhis, Balochs and other oppressed Pakistanis.

Nov. 01, 2008

Salam Benazir Bhutto

By Javed Larik

An other wound in the soul of nation. No body will take her place. She is martyr (Shaheed). Daughter of Shaheed became shaheed. She fulfilled her promise and laid down her life for the people. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto must be proud of (Benazir Shaheed) Pinki.

She proved to be his continuation even up to her last breath. She certainly knew the cost of being among the people. None could separate her from people. None could intimidate her. Oh the daughter of east, oh the daughter of land, Oh MARVI MALIR JEE we salute you. SALAM BENAZIR you will rule the hearts we will never forget you.

Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Fatima Bhutto

mirandfatima.jpg – Mir Murtaza Bhutto

(September 18, 1954- September 20, 1996)

Murtaza Bhtto, the elder son of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was a revolutionary. Bhutto campaigned as an independent in the 1993 elections, winning a seat in the assembly governing the Sindh province. In 1996, he accused police of unfairly targeting his organization. Several hours after the conference, he was shot and killed along with six supporters during an altercation with the police. Murtaza was killed by police in 1996 in Karachi, during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto.

Fatima Bhutto (born 29 May 1982) is a young poet, writer and columnist who came to fame after the appearance of her first book, a collection of poems, titled Whispers of the Desert. Fatima was only 15 years old when the collection was published.

She is now a columnist for The News in Pakistan. She received notable coverage for her second book. Fatima is the daughter of the Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto. She is the grand-daughter of former Prime Minister, Z.A. Bhutto. Fatima is not known to be very active political worker. She is however far more active as a political writer and spares no body in criticism. Fatima’s style of writing resembles that of “Arab News” jovial writer Jehad Khazin. Her writings reflect some Pan-arabism , Liberalism and a lot of multi-directional political sides.