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BENAZIR’S ASSASSINATION : A VIEW FROM SINDH

By: Abdul Khaliq Junejo

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was, without any saying, a gruesome, ghastly, hideous and horrible act of highest magnitude that shook the entire country. Yet it was not totally incomprehensible.

Apprehensions about such cowardice attack and fears about her life were felt and shown not only within the country but throughout the world and not only in the media but by the administrative authorities and intelligence organs of the governments most powerful and most friendly to Pakistan. These fears came closest to be turned into reality on the day of her return from exile in Karachi when about 150 of her supporters including her bodyguards were killed. Still it was allowed to happen, makes it more intriguing.

Benazir Bhutto was, no doubt, the head of country’s biggest party and Pakistan’s Politician of international stature. But it is equally beyond doubt that Sindhis had an special relationship and an extraordinary attachment with her. A very large number of Sindhi people loved her without caring for gain or loss and without making her accountable for her deeds of commission or omission. They thought her defender of their rights and carrier of their hopes and aspirations. The killers seem to be inept, coward and short-sighted. For cheap gains and shoddy interests they have committed a crime consequences of which they are enabled to imagine and incapable to comprehend. By killing BB they have not only robbed People’s Party workers of their inspiring force but deprived Pakistan of a genuine political leader, who had on her back not only a political legacy but a hard-fought political struggle also. Most of all they have committed the brutal murder of hopes, aspirations and dreams of millions of Sindhi People.

And the way government responded to this tragedy of highest magnitude was just rubbish. While whole country was reeling under the ensuing shock, grief and anger, the state handed over this all important matter to a lower grade contract employee whose non-serious and changing-on- daily basis attitude was an insult to the assassinated leader and tantamount to rubbing salt into the wounds of her mourners.

When injured-to the-core Sindhis came on the roads to express their inner feelings of shock, grief and anguish, they were called criminals and hundreds of cases were registered against hundreds of thousands of them. I, being a political opponent of Benazir Bhutto and the PPP, say with sure that the people flooding the roads from Karachi to Kashmore on the evening of 27th December, 2007 were not only the PPP Workers but the majority of them were common Sindhis, who felt their hearts broken. And I say with confidence and responsibility that their reaction was instant and natural. No power on earth can motivate and mobilize millions of people in a matter of few minutes as was the case after the breaking of news of BB’s assassination. Also I would say that while registering their protest Sindhi people acted with political maturity. Considering the state responsible for the destruction of their dreams, they targeted their anger at government apparatus

being careful to avoid human casualties. Scores of trollers were burnt but not a single person was hurt. Dozens of train bogies were put to torch but only after making sure that each and every passenger was safely taken out. Not only that but Sindhi People, even in this traumatic situation, did not lose their traditional hospitality and hosted thousands of passengers, including men, women and children in their homes for days and made arrangements for their safe return to their homes.

However, on second and third day some criminal elements did intrude taking advantage of the volatile situation. But then it is a well-known fact that criminals, at least in this part of the world, operate under the shadow of government agencies. In this case, the absence of law enforcing agencies from the sites of loot and theft adequately prove the point. In any case, when you encroach upon all the freedoms and close all the avenues of legal and peaceful protest and the very leaders through whom people express their will are killed blatantly, then people take on any path they find available.

It is an admitted fact that on the eve of her return to Pakistan from exile, Ms. Benazir Bhutto had written a letter to the head of state mentioning therein names of certain persons whom she felt her life threatened from. All of them were related to the state in one way or the other. Again immediately after the first attempt on her life at Karachi on 18th October 2007, she sent an email to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer through her representative Mark Seigel in which she mentioned “I have been made to feel insecure by his (Musharaf’s) minions” and that if anything happened to her, “I would hold (President Pervez) Musharaf responsible”. Now since she has been assassinated these writings stand as her dying declarations which put the responsibility on state functionaries. And the way government (mis) handled the post-assassination scenario from washing away of the incident site to the contradictory statements of different state functionaries (upto the highest

level) about the cause of and the people behind the murder, strengthen the view that state, at least some part of it, is involved in the matter. But if, for the sake of argument, we accept that the killing shots were fired by militants, as per claim of the government, even then the over-all responsibility of this earth-shacking incident comes on the state because it is the state which, by its role character, throughout the 60 years of its life, has time and again made the people believe that the solution to all the issues and disputes lies in the gun-power. The collective will of Bengali people (1971) was reciprocated by sending tanks to the streets of Dhaka, the political decision of Baloch people (1948 and 1970s) was changed with the force of the cannon and Sindhi people demanding restoration of 1973 constitution were showered with bombs and bullets. Nawab Akber Bugti and Balach Marri were killed when they voiced the Balochs’ demand for ownership of their resources.

Before that Pakistan’s first elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was murdered at the behest of military junta.

Many questions that have been simmering in the hearts and minds of the people of Sindh, and also Balochistan, regarding the formation and functioning of the State for quite some time, have flared up with the firing at Liaqat Bagh. Whenever Bengali, Baloch, Sindh and Pakhtoon nationalists were targeted, they were labeled secessionists and foreign agents. But the people’s party and its leadership has always aligned with the politics of strong centre and taken pride in combating nationalist movements. Then why leaders of this party have been targeted? While killing Akber Bugti and Balach Marri, it was charged that they were making demands out of the constitution. Since the 1973 constitution gives control of ports, oil, gas, coal and other natural resources to the centre, so calling for province’s authority over them was tantamount to treason. Come to the contest between Benazir Bhutto and the establishment, the position is altogether different. On the

one side Benazir’s whole political life revolves around 1973 constitution; struggling for its restoration when the uniform in power and trying to strengthen it while herself in power. On the other side General Pervez Musharaf seized the seat of power by defying and destroying 1973 constitution and continues his rule by continuously distorting and deforming this ‘sacred’ document. Still he is the champion of ‘first of all Pakistan’ and ‘she’ is the loser paying with her life. Isn’t it an astonishing scenario? People, specially those from Sindh, are asking what are the decisive factors in Pakistan power politics and what are the common factors between Baloch nationalists and BB to bring them to the common fate? And the answer are very clear and very simple. There is nothing common between Baloch nationalists and Benezir Bhutto but the fact that both belonged to the oppressed nationalities and the main difference between Benezir Bhutto and Pervez Musharaf was that she wanted

to run the country with the will of the people as per 1973 constitution while he likes to rule the country with the power of the gun as per his personal will and whim.

Due to its oppressive, exploitative and anti-people character and colonial-like behaviour, most Sindhi people had already lost faith in the State. However some of them, being part of an agricultural society, had pinned their hopes for better future in the person of Benezir Bhutto. On 27th December 2007 these hopes were murdered on the streets of Rawalpindi, the twin-city of country’s capital. So the people of Sindh have stopped looking towards the State. They have absolutely no expectations, neither they see any positive change coming from within the State.

They are now looking towards the democratic, progressive and rational people of the country for change in this situation of hopelessness. And certainly this change would have to come from outside the prevailing system. And to begin with this process of change in a manner that attracts the confidence of Sindhi people, determination of some fundamental questions would be necessary. It would have to be decided, once for all, whether this country will be ruled with the will of the people or with the power of the gun. Another issue of pre-eminence is to recognize and re-affirm that people of all the federating units inherit the same status and enjoy equal rights.

Keeping in view the speed of events, time will be the most important factor.

March 02, 2008

Democracy is the best Revenge

The whole country, especially Sindh, is in deep shock and mourning over the tragic death of Pakistan’s finest daughter, Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto, and there is a widespread anguish and soul searching among the democratic and progressive people of Pakistan about the destructive role of military establishment and agencies in politics of the country, the complicity of Pervez Musharraf and his allies in demolishing the democratic institutions, and in fact the very future of the state itself.

The targeted killing of Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto has raised fundamental questions about the future of basic human rights, rule of law, freedom of speech, democracy and national integration in Pakistan. The regime’s authoritarian and dictatorial rule has turned this democratic and peaceful country in to a state of anarchy and chaos.

The whole civil society of the country expresses grave concern on the above situation and feels that there should be a joint strategy for a joint and final struggle to bring this country back to the rails of democracy and people.

In this regard a National Solidarity Mission comprised of 30 civil society leaders, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and concerned citizens of Balochistan, Pakhtoonkhua, Punjab, Seraiki Wasaib, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas is visiting Sindh to condole the death of Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto and express their solidarity with the people of Sindh.

To address these grave questions and concerns and to welcome the friends of “National Solidarity Mission” Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) is organizing a reception in their honour and a discussion will also be held on the following topic “Democracy is the best Revenge”

On Monday, 31st January 2008 @ 12 A.M sharp @ House # A/15, Latifabad # 03, Hyderabad. You are cordially invited to attend the session.

On Sunday January 27 Launch of the Mission at Shah Latif Community Center, Islamabad with a group of Sindh Graduates Association (SGA) 11:30 Islamabad.

On Tuesday January 29 Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Hotel Press Inn, Larkana at 1430 hours, Larkana

On Wednesday January 30, Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Agha Jee Hall, Shahani Maohalla, Dadu at 1300 hours

On Thursday January 31, Reception by SDF and meeting with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at House # A/15, Latifabad # 3, Hyderabad at 1200 hrs, Hyderabad

On Friday February 1, Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Press Club Nawabshah at 1400 hrs, Nawabshah

On Saturday February 2 Concluding tour Press Conference at Sukkur Press Club, Sukkur/ Khairpur.

On Sunday February 3, Press conference at Press Club

January 26, 2008

Before Assassins Struck Dec. 27, Pakistan’s Ex-Premier Kept Up Frenetic Pace but Also Found Time for a Prayer

Bhutto’s Last Day, in Keeping With Her Driven Life

Before Assassins Struck Dec. 27, Pakistan’s Ex-Premier Kept Up Frenetic Pace but Also Found Time for a Prayer

By Griff Witte and Emily Wax

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Gripping the podium with both hands, Benazir Bhutto spoke in a shout that filled the cavernous park and echoed into the streets beyond.

“Wake up, my brothers!” she implored, her trademark white shawl slipping off her head to her shoulders. “This country faces great dangers. This is your country! My country! We have to save it.”

When the former Pakistani prime minister had finished speaking, she descended from the stage and paused. She then turned, waved and kept on walking.

Inside the park, a crowd of thousands was still cheering. Outside, a pair of assassins lay in wait.

In the hours before they struck on Dec. 27, Bhutto’s day had unfolded typically — for her and for Pakistan. The pace was frenetic, the stakes were high, and the issues were familiar: extremism and democracy, militancy and the military.

Since her return from exile more than two months earlier, Bhutto had been in nearly constant motion, trying to outflank her political opponents and hoping desperately to stay one step ahead of the sniper’s bullet that, she told friends, was “always waiting for me.”

If she succeeded, she believed the reward would be a storybook comeback. She would return to her old job, and to the realm of world leaders, after eight years as a glamorous sidelight in the salons of London, New York and Washington. The country, meanwhile, would return to democracy after its own eight-year drought under military rule. It would also turn the tide against extremism, beating back the growing threat posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

But the odds, for her and for Pakistan, were long.

On the day she was killed, Bhutto was pressing ahead on two main fronts. The first was to get the message out that she believed President Pervez Musharraf’s allies planned to rig the elections scheduled for Jan. 8. On the agenda for the day was a meeting with election observers from the European Union and another with two U.S. lawmakers — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.). At the latter meeting, scheduled for the evening, she intended to hand over a dossier of evidence that she said supported claims her party had been making for weeks that the elections would be fixed by means of ghost polling stations, voter intimidation and other irregularities.

The second front was terrorism. Bhutto met for 45 minutes that day with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and the two shared their concerns about the growing danger of extremism. More than perhaps any other Pakistani politician, Bhutto had been fixated on the problem both in public and in private. She spoke about it constantly.

For her, the threat was personal. She knew there were people out to get her. And on Dec. 27, there was reason for special concern.

The day before, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, a young man carrying explosives had been detained outside the site of her rally. The man told police he had been to a wedding just before he arrived to hear Bhutto’s speech and had not had time to dispose of some leftover celebratory dynamite. Police did not believe him.

That night, Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, called from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to say he was nervous. He wanted her to stop attending the rallies and let him go in her place, sources said. She refused.

But by next morning, she was having doubts. She was due to hold a rally that afternoon in Rawalpindi, and the city made her nervous, friends said.

For one thing, it was the home of a military she had distrusted her entire life. For another, her father — former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto — had died there, hanged in 1979 by the man who had overthrown him, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. And Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, had been assassinated in 1951 in the very park where her rally was to take place.

For Bhutto, who could be superstitious, those were bad omens.

More came later in the day. In the afternoon, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s supporters had been gathering on a street corner in Rawalpindi when a sharpshooter began firing from a nearby rooftop. Four Sharif activists were killed. Five others were injured. Sharif’s party quickly blamed Musharraf’s allies, alleging in interviews that they believed the attack marked the beginning of a campaign of political violence designed to scare opponents away from the polls.

But whatever her reservations, Bhutto decided to go ahead with her rally.

In the early afternoon, she huddled with her inner circle at her Islamabad home, eating a lunch of potato curry and chapati bread, said Babar Awan, a top official in Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who had been at her side for two weeks.

Her aides were anxious, thinking ahead to the rally. But she was calm.

“She kept telling me to relax and eat,” Awan said.

The agenda for the lunch was to review the prepared text of her speech. Bhutto seemed intent on not rushing, enjoying the moment.

“She was so overly satisfied that day, so overly confident and full of jubilance,” Awan said. “She looked so beautiful that day, in all the ways that a woman like her — bright, energetic, bursting with ideas and hope — could look beautiful.”

At one point, Bhutto brought her notes for her speech to the large picture window overlooking the mountains and read them there quietly. “I call on my homeland of Pakistan to come out and fight for Pakistan’s future,” Awan said her notes read. “I’m not afraid. We cannot be afraid.”

She then prayed.

Around 3:45 p.m., Bhutto and her entourage of top party officials left in two cars for Rawalpindi.

After suicide bombers attacked her homecoming reception in Karachi on Oct. 18, killing more than 140 people, Bhutto had considered abandoning public rallies. Instead she would tape her messages and deliver them on radio or television.

That plan soon fizzled, however. Mass rallies are central to Pakistan’s political culture. For her party to have a chance, she believed, she could not forgo them.

When the time came for Bhutto to address the Rawalpindi crowd, she set her notes aside and spoke spontaneously. People who had been following her career for years said it was the most passionate they had ever seen her.

“Her speech was beautiful,” said Kamran Nazir, 19, a student and PPP activist. “It was about saving Pakistan. It was about having hope, no matter what.”

Just before dusk, Nazir followed Bhutto out to the park gates. As the crowd surged around her vehicle, he saw her head rise from the sunroof, and he saw her hand begin to wave.

Advisers had warned Bhutto not to come out of her bulletproof sport-utility vehicle on the way in and out of rallies. But she insisted.

“She said, ‘The people come with a lot of expectations and love. I can’t resist that. I need to reply,’ ” said Farzana Raja, a top PPP official who was with her that day.

The crowd — chanting “Long live Bhutto!” — was making her happy. But it was worrying Mohammad Qayyam, a local police constable who was trying to clear a path for Bhutto’s SUV while scanning the crowd for threats.

Like nearly everyone else there that day, he didn’t see the man in the sunglasses walk up to Bhutto’s vehicle and fire three shots from a handgun at close range. Nor did he see a second man, his head wrapped in a scarf, who blew himself up moments later.

All he remembers is seeing the bodies, dozens of them, suddenly scattered along the ground.

Qayyam passed out, waking up later at Rawalpindi General Hospital, the same hospital where Bhutto had been taken for emergency surgery.

Outside the operating room, a group of PPP leaders joined hands and prayed. “Please, God, let our leader be okay,” they said. “Please, God, let her survive this.”

After about 40 minutes, Awan saw a doctor, Muhammad Mussadiq Khan, who told him the surgery was still going on. Somehow, Awan didn’t believe it.

“Put me straight,” he said.

The doctor repeated what he’d said.

“That’s not true,” Awan said. “Put me straight.”

Then the doctor delivered the news that, within minutes, would reach around the globe.

“It’s all over. We did everything we could. She didn’t make it,” he said. “Benazir Bhutto has expired.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008; A10

Courtesy: WashingtonPost

Source – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/15/AR2008011503304.html?hpid=topnews

A Joke!

– Contributed by: Mohammad Khan Sial

Sindh sent a prime minister to Punjab, they returned his dead body -Liaquat Ali Khan.

Sindh sent a prime minister to Punjab, they returned his dead body – Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Sindh sent a prime minister to Punjab, they returned his dead body – Shaheed Benazir Bhutto

Sindh sent a dead body to Punjab, they made him caretaker prime minister – Mohammadmian Soomro.!!

Courtesy: SindhWeek.Com

via – Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, Jan 12 – 17, 2008

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

Assasination of Ms Bhutto: A letter to Transparency International

To: Chairman,

Transparency International

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the people of Pakistan and the free world are shocked at the tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We strongly condemn this cowardly and barbaric act of terrorism by the forces of evil against the forces of democracy and moderation in Pakistan. Mohtarma Bhutto was a courageous and dedicated leader, who was the vanguard of democracy in Pakistan. She struggled against the forces of extremism and terrorism, and believed in liberty and freedom for all. She visualized a moderate, pluralistic, democratic and prosperous Pakistan.

The PPP rejects the inquiry being conducted by the Musharraf regime into the assassination of Mohtarma Bhutto and calls upon world leaders, civil society, and human rights bodies to urge the regime in Pakistan to let foreign experts conduct an independent investigation of the tragic incident, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations by a UN prosecutor, as conducted in the assassination case of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has already recognized that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has implications for international security by calling a special session of the UNSC and condemning the assassination.

“The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist suicide attack by extremists that occurred in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 27 December 2007, causing the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and numerous other causalities, ” said Italy’s U.N. Ambassador Marcello Spatafora as he read out a statement in council chambers in his current capacity as president of the council. He also said the Council also “expresses its deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of this heinous act of terrorism and their families, and to the people and the government of Pakistan.”

In addition to calling on Pakistanis to “exercise restraint and maintain stability” in the aftermath of the attack, the council also reiterated its call to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of the attack to justice. The council in their statement also reaffirmed the need to combat “by all means” threats to international peace and security caused by such terrorist acts. “The Security Council reiterates its determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations,” the statement also said.

Two months before her assassination, Mohtarma Bhutto wrote to Mark Siegel, her U.S. spokesman, lobbyist and friend, saying that if she were killed, General Musharraf would bear some of the blame. “Just wanted u to know if it does in addition to the names in my letter to Musharaf of October 16th, I would hold Musharaf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides could happen without him.” as reported by CNN. Siegel forwarded that e-mail to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, with instructions he not report on it unless Bhutto was killed.

Mohtarma Bhutto in a secret email to Foreign Secretary David Miliband written weeks before her death had claimed three senior allies of Pakistan’s General Musharraf were out to kill her, as reported in Daily Mail of December 30, 2007. Astonishingly, one of them is a leading intelligence officer who was officially responsible for protecting Ms Bhutto from an assassination. The second is a prominent Pakistani figure. The third is a well known chief minister in Pakistan who is a long-standing opponent of Ms Bhutto. Ms Bhutto told Mr Miliband she was convinced that the three were determined to assassinate her on her return to the country and pleaded with him to put pressure on the Pakistan government to stop them.

Earlier, in an interview with the French magazine Paris Match, she said that “I know exactly who wants to kill me. It is reminiscent of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.”

Mohtarma Bhutto wanted to hire British and American security experts to protect her, The Sunday Telegraph revealed on December 31, 2007. But the plans collapsed because General Musharraf refused to allow the foreign contractors to operate in Pakistan, according to senior aides. “She asked to bring in trained security personnel from abroad,” said Mark Siegel. “In fact she and her husband repeatedly tried to get visas for such protection, but they were denied by the government of Pakistan.”

The PPP and calls upon world leaders, civil society, and human rights bodies to urge the regime in Pakistan to let foreign experts conduct an independent investigation of the tragic incident, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations by a UN prosecutor as performed in the assassination case of the Lebanese Prime Minister Harriri.

Sincerely,

Ali Nawaz Memon

Senior Financial and Institutional Development Consultant

Good Governance Support Group

Jan 8, 2008

Assassination of BB: Causes, Ramifications and Challenges

Resolutions Passed by the Civil Society Forum on “Assassination of Shaheed BB: Causes, Ramifications and Challenges” 6th Jan 2008, @ Press Club Hyderabad

Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS) organized a civil society forum on “the Assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto: causes, ramifications and Challenges” at Press Club Hyderabad. Retired Justice Wajeehudin presided the conference, Rasool Bux Palijo was chief guest and Executive Director CPCS Jami Chandio facilitated the conference as host. Those who participated and spoke in the program included Yousaf Masti Khan, Advocate Akhtar Hussain, Rahat Saeed, Anees Haroon, Dr Rajab Memon, Mazhar-ul- Haq Siddiue, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, Kachkol Ali, Usman balouch, Ishaq Tunio, Amar Sindhu, kausar S Khan, Dr Ali Ahmed Rind, Inam Shaikh, Taj Joyo, Hussain Bux Thebo, Afzal Gujar, Dr Nazir Shaikh and others.

The forum unanimously passed the following resolutions:

We the writers, intellectuals, journalists, political and social activists, political parties and civil society organizations strongly condemn the criminal act of assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and express our solidarity with her family, party and the people.

We strongly feel that the assassination of shaheed Benazir Bhutto has caused a great political and emotional loss for the people of Pakistan in general and the people of Sindh in particular. In a country where the federation does not exist in true sense and structure, where the contract among the constituent federating units has already become abstract and obsolete, where politics has been criminalized and terrorized through state sponsorship, where intra-state conflicts are widening the gap among the provinces, where civil military conflict has started posing serious threats to the integrity of state, where secular forces are already harassed and democratic institutions are being virtually wiped out ; the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is indeed a great tragedy and irreversible loss.

Due to the heinous crimes committed by the ruling class and the establishment, the latter is loosing its rationale and emerging as a failed state on the political map of today’s world. We believe that:

* · Pakistan was established on the basis of 1940 Lahore resolution and the resolution clearly says that all the constituent federating units would be autonomous and sovereign but the ruling class and establishment have betrayed the contract and usurped the economic, political, social, cultural and emotional rights of oppressed nationalities and the people of Pakistan, thus negating and rendering totally irrelevant the above moral, social and legal foundation of Pakistan.

* · The ruling class and the establishment under the aegis of world imperialism interests of world imperialism virtually sold the country and turned into a neo colony from the every first days of the establishment of Pakistan and made its internal and external policy sub servient to the evil anti people interests of world imperialism.

* · In his famous 11th August speech the founder of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah clearly said that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state but on the contrary theocracy and fanatic militancy had been patronized and deeply rooted by the state and establishment over the years and decades which has maligned the image of the country through out the world as a nursery of terrorism.

* The military establishment has virtually conquered the state of Pakistan. It leaves no space for people and political forces. They do politics, run industries and business enterprises; create fake political parties, pseudo politicians, control parliament, judiciary and media. They have taken over every business of state and economy except doing their own professional work for which they are being heavily paid since decades at the cost of extreme poverty and under development. The military establishment has thus turned Pakistan into a militarized state and society.

We strongly assert and affirm that this country was established for the people and not for the usurpers of the rights and resources of the people of oppressed nationalities in particular and those of the people of entire Pakistan .

* We unanimously demand that the judiciary should be restored to Nov 2 position and an independent and credible inquiry commission be appointed under the guidance of Court in order to unmask the real culprits behind this horrendous and heinous criminal act.

* Pervez Musharaf has become a security risk for the country and the people of Pakistan . He has turned Pakistan into foreign and military occupied territory. We strongly demand that Pervez Musharf should immediately resign and a new credible interim government and independent election commission should be formed before the elections.

* Military should have no role and stake in politics and public life. The size of armed forces should be downsized and the armed forces should have roughly and reasonably equal representation from all the respective provinces. All Revenue and labor laws,

* Pakistan can only be saved and the intra-state conflicts could only be resolved if the foundations of federation be laid on the basis of 1940 resolution and structural equality among all the federating units. Federal Government should have only three subjects like foreign policy, defense, and currency where as all the rest of the subjects should be given to the respective provinces. Concurrent list should be abolished. Till this is done the 1973 constitution should immediately be restored.

* Thousands of political leaders and workers from, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and NWFP are detained illegally by the powers that be, they should be immediately released. All the lawyers, political workers and civil society leaders including president Pakistan bar Council Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Akhtar Mengal, Dr Safdar Sarki and others should immediately be released. After the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto thousands of political workers have been arrested and a large number of bogus cases have been registered against political workers especially in Sindh to curb and depress the people’s voice against the Musharaf regime.

* Pakistan has become structurally imbalanced federation after the separation of East Pakistan. The ruling class of one province dominates all the state institutions and enjoys absolute majority in the parliament against all three provinces that has emerged as a major source of conflict in Pakistan. Till the state of Pakistan is properly established on its original socio-political foundation based on the 1940 Lahore resolution, the interim solution should be to make senate more empowered where all provinces should have equal numerical representation. The members of senate should be directly elected and the passage of budget and money bills and all federal appointments like judges of supreme court , chief election commissioner, members and chairman of federal public service commission , ambassadors, heads of autonomous bodies and corporations, Governors, and chiefs of armed forces should be made after the scrutiny and approval of the senate.

* Water conflict has become key source of conflict in Pakistan. Sindh is the lower riparian of River Indus and all its tributaries. The constitution of Pakistan and international law confers inalienable rights to the lower riparian. Sindh has been opposing further cuts on Indus in the names of dams, canals and barrages to store divert and steal waters of Indus River and its tributaries without the concurrence of lower riparian. Ongoing illegal construction of Greater Thal canal should be stopped and all mega projects of large dams on upstream should be shelved.

* The 1990 census should be accepted and on the basis of those results fresh census should be conducted by clamping curfew in the whole country and counting heads where ever they are on that particular day. This will eliminate duplicate counting and the anomaly of awarding major share of NFC funds to one dominating province.

* The NFC award should be decided on the following basis:

o Index of infra structure in each province

o Human Development index and ratio of poverty in the provinces

o Level of per capita income of a province in comparison to that of the other provinces

o revenue generation capacity of each province

o Burden of legal and illegal immigrants on each province.

* All the indigenous languages of Pakistan like Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Siraiki, Hindko and others should be given the status of national and official languages like that given in India and Urdu and English be made the languages of communication.

Discrimination

By M. Saleem

Pakistan Muslim League (Q) has set up relief offices for the affected people of recent violations after December 27th, 2007. They have mentioned all the communities like Punjabi, Muhajirs etc, they have not mentioned Sindhis.

It is clear discrimination against Sindhis. Discrimination was in places since long but it was under table. Now it has been very clear and official discrimination against Sindhis. You can find these advertisements on Jung news paper.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 05/01/2008

BBC: Thousands who protested Benazir’s assassination Arrested in Sindh

The BBC has carried a news that thousands of people who were protesting Benazir Bhutto’s assassination have been arrested in rural Sindh. Those arrested include several party officials and candidates in upcoming election. It looks like that government is targeting PPP and its workers. They are trying hurt and bruise PPP since they do not courage to face them in elections.

For full story, go to BBC, click here:

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/12/071231_sindh_rioting_firs.shtml

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.

DO NOT BURN SINDH

By: Ali Nawaz Memon

MY HEART IS BURSTING. MY TEARS ARE NOT STOPPING. I HAVE LOST A GREAT LEADER…. I EXPECTED MOHTARAMA BENAZIR BHUTTO TO SOLVE OUR NATIONAL AND SINDHI PROBLEMS. SHE HAD PERSONALLY PROMISED ME TO FOCUS ON UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUE. WE WERE PLANNING CREATION OF NEW MINISTRY FOCUSING ON UNEMPLOYMENT ALONE.

NOW I AM HEARING THAT PEOPLE ARE BURNING SINDH.  BANKS, COURTS, ELECTION OFFICES, FIRE TRUCKS, AND PRIVATE PROPERTY ARE BEING BURNT IN LARKANA, JACOBABAD AND OTHER TOWNS OF SINDH. PROPERTY OF EVEN PPP WORKERS IS BEING BURNT. SOME BODY IS TAKING ADVANTAGE AND USING SHAHADAT OF MOHTARAMA TO SET US BACK FURTHER.

PLEASE DO NOT BURN ASSETS OF SINDH. WE NEED TO BUILD SINDH. DO NOT BURN IT. I APPEAL TO ALL WORKERS TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND ASSETS OF SINDH.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 27/12/2007

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information

Benazir Bhutto assassinated by bombing in Rawalpindi

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog,” referring to Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

Source of News:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071227/ap_on_re_as/pakistan

Pro-Democracy Groups succeed in getting restrictions on US Aid tied to democratic reforms in Pakistan

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

Those Pakistanis and their friends who stand for real democracy and non-partisan & independent judiciary would be pleased to know that yesterday US Congress passed a bill that puts pressure on General Musharraf and his cronies for real democracy.

The following are the key points from the recently passed bill that is expected to be signed by President W. Bush.

* Congress withheld $50 million until Secretary of State can certify that democratic rights and independent judiciary has been restored in Pakistan. The areas include are freedom of assembly and expression, releasing political detainees, ending harassment and detention of journalists, human rights defenders and government critics, and restoring an independent judiciary.

* Approved US Administration’ s earlier decision to deliver $200 million annual cash payment through USAID (and hopefully directly to Civil Society organizations) instead of direct payment to the Pakistan government. These funds will be directed to specific projects for the direct benefit of Pakistani people.

* Withheld a part of $250million military aid to counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities. According to newspaper accounts suggest that the language of the bill is such that it will make it difficult that money to acquire F-16 jets and naval equipment.

The Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC, which has very little representation of Sindhis and Baluchis, expressed unhappiness over these changes. According to a newspaper, one ironic comment from an embassy official said that “the government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan were not happy with such conditionality. ” As if Pakistani people are very happy with the status quo and the destruction of independent judiciary. The details can be read in all leading newspapers including Washington Post at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR20071219 02502.html

21 December, 2007


Civil society agenda & action plan

By Aziz Narejo, TX

It is true that an overwhelming majority of the civil society wants an end to the military rule and military intervention in civilian affairs. It wants the military to do its lawful duties and not to indulge in politics. It wants non-partisan judiciary. It also wants a non-partisan free press, rule of law, respect for human rights and an unfettered democracy.

It is also true that the stand taken by the majority of the higher judiciary led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, a remarkable movement by the lawyers, a just struggle by the media men and women and the increasing awareness and activism among the masses have greatly strengthened the civil society. It is finally finding its feet and wants to be reckoned with but it still has a long way to go before it can play its due role.

In the present fateful situation a heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of the civil society leadership, especially when the dictator has donned civvies (wolf in sheep’s skin) and is playing a farce in the name of elections. Soon we may have a civilian government working under the dictator and he may try to derail the lawyers and journalists’ movement.

To defeat the dictator’s schemes and to fulfill aspirations of all sections of the society including the common men and women, there is a great need for the civil society to come together, take a joint stand and launch a well-organized and coordinated movement. It is the duty of each and every citizen to participate in such a struggle.

I am writing this as an ordinary citizen to call upon the leaders of the civil society in Pakistan to help bring the civil society leadership on one platform. I request them to host a conference of the forward looking and progressive pro democracy elements to:

1. Discuss and possibly set a brief agenda for the civil society.

2. Prepare an action plan for a struggle to end military intervention in civilian affairs, establish democracy, rule of law and non-partisan of judiciary and media, reach a just contract between the federating units and make sure the supremacy of the will of the people and the parliament.

Why?

1. It is the most catastrophic and the saddest tragedy that Pakistan was hijacked at the time of its birth by the people and the forces that imposed centralism, denied the core principles outlined in the “1940 Pakistan Resolution”, rejected the inherent rights of the minorities in a state and paved the way for a few in the elite to control the destiny of the country. These forces were soon joined by the military establishment that eventually took over the apparatus and started dictating every one else.

2. The country has been under continued military domination for at least half a century now, at times under direct military rule and at other times under military dominated rule. It is interesting to see that the country has suffered the most when it had been under the direct military rule. It explains the ability and the competency of the military establishment.

3. The long military domination of the society has established the principle of “might is right”; it has polluted the minds of the people specially our youth, hastened the degeneration and retardation of the society, nurtured insanity and corruption, created a class of opportunists and collaborators and bolstered the feudalism in the country.

4. The uninterrupted 13-year military rule under Ayub and Yahya ended in the dismemberment of the country while the next military ruler Zia mutilated, disfigured and dismantled all the civilian institutions, nurtured extremism, sectarianism, terrorism, racism, use of force and left behind such deep scars that may never heal.

5. The present military ruler is no different from his predecessors and seems to be pushing the country and the people over the cliff and finishing off the job left behind by the earlier dictators.

His actions against judiciary, lawyers, media and other civil society activists are the most condemnable. Today the country is burning and an overwhelming majority of the people is outraged at his actions.

What to do?

It is the time that the civil society takes a stand and saves the people and the country from an imminent catastrophe. It is the duty of all the civilians to speak up and act. The things can’t be left to just the politicians and the political parties because:

1. The political parties have been severely weakened by the years of military domination of the society, which has subverted the political and civilian institutions.

2. It is simply beyond the much-hampered capabilities of any single political party or even an alliance of several parties to take on the might of the military establishment that it has acquired after the continuous domination of all spheres of political and economic activities in the country.

3. There is a gulf of mistrust among the politicians and between the masses and the politicians. The politicians lack credibility and stand divided and can not agree to a joint stand on their own.

In such a situation, it will help if a conference is called by independent civil society leadership. It may succeed in bringing all the pro democracy leadership together and agree to a joint action plan.

Such a conference should help and compliment the political parties and not compete with them and shouldn’t seek in any way to form a new or even an umbrella organization. It should strengthen the political parties and all other civilian institutions and organs.

We must understand that the fight is very important and at a very crucial stage. It is not the sole responsibility of the political parties to take up the fight. All the civilians, civil society organizations and institutions have to chip in and have to strengthen the political parties and other civilian institutions.

When?

Such a conference should be held as soon as possible. I hope the civil society leadership would take an immediate action on this appeal.

27/12/2007

Has the Left left Pakistan?

By: Haider K. Nizamani, Canada

INDIA’S West Bengal and Pakistan’s Punjab are comparable provinces in terms of population. About 80 million people live in each.

Since 1977, the people of West Bengal have voted Communist Party Marxist (CPM)-led coalitions into office. It would be preposterous to imagine communists forming the provincial government in our Punjab after the January elections. The Left simply does not matter when it comes to Pakistan’s political chessboard.

Is there any Left left in Pakistan? What happened to it as an organised entity? What about the ideas it championed? Are the issues that provided the Left rationale for action resolved in today’s Pakistani society? Should we mourn or celebrate the death of the Left?

The fate of the Left in Pakistan from the very beginning was bound-up with the machinations of Cold War politics and the way Pakistan’s ruling elite firmly aligned itself with the West in that conflict. The role of the Left in the country varied in each decade of Pakistan’s history up-to the 1990s. This brief run-down on the changing fortunes and misfortunes of the Pakistani Left since independence is offered here in the spirit of initiating discussion on this issue. The overview is confined to the present day Pakistan which until 1971 had less than half of the country’s population.

What do we mean by the Left in Pakistani context? For this article it refers to self-identified Leftist parties and individuals who question the existing social property relations and the international order associated with them. Marxism in some form remained its intellectual inspiration.

The Left identified itself with the cause of economically exploited urban and rural classes of the country. The state was seen as a custodian of the interests of absentee landlords and the big capital at home and world capitalism led by the United States at the global level. At the time of independence, the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), an offshoot of the Communist Party of India (CPI), became the organisational base to coordinate efforts to dismantle what it viewed as prevailing unequal and unjust socio-political order.

The CPI had lent its support to the Muslim League’s demand of Pakistan invoking the principle of national self-determination. That support, however, did not translate into a congenial working atmosphere for the CPP in the newly created state. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Subh-e-Azadi (Freedom’s dawn) succinctly summarised the 1950s for the Left in Pakistan. He called it ‘the night-bitten dawn.’ In March of 1951 several high ranking military officers, including Major General Akbar Khan, and their civilian cohorts were arrested for allegedly planning the overthrow of the government to install a pro-Moscow regime.

The Rawalpindi Conspiracy, as it is commonly known, was used as a ruse to suppress dissent and punish those individuals who were identified with the Left. It was also used to strengthen pro-West officers within the higher echelons of the armed forces. The subsequent witch-hunt led to the arrest of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Syed Sajjad Zaheer, who had relocated to Pakistan in order to lead the CPP, and other intellectuals and trade unionists associated with the Left. And this, in Ayesha Jalal’s words turned Pakistan ‘into a veritable intellectual wasteland’.

The Pakistani Left, in term of organisational capacity, was in disarray during the 1960s. Consolation for this weakness came in the shape of issues which dominated the political discourse in the late 1960s. Spin-doctors of the Ayub regime organised celebrations under the banner of ‘the decade of development. ‘ All that ordinary West Pakistanis saw was growing disparity and pauperisation. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had jumped the Ayubian boat, and the Pakistani left joined hands to express popular sentiments in the slogan of ‘roti, kapra, aur makan’ (bread, clothing, and housing). These were quintessential Left issues added by call for an independent, which meant less pro-American, foreign policy.

The 1970s started with the revolution of rising expectations which swiftly slid into the revolution of rising resentments and disillusionment. The political honeymoon between Bhutto and the Left didn’t last long. Imperatives of strengthening his hold on power compelled Bhutto to cozy up to Pakistan’s traditional power bases. The Left did not have the organisational capacity to match Bhutto’s populist polemics. In marked contrast with the 1970 elections where agenda revolved around roti, kapra, aur makan; the agenda of the 1977 elections was largely shaped by the clergy questioning Bhutto’s Islamic credentials. The Left had waned from the political horizon.

Then came General Ziaul Haq and his penchant to turn Pakistan into Islam’s fortress. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan resulted in what Fred Halliday calls ‘the second cold war’ with Zia teaming up with Ronald Reagan to bleed the Soviets. Support for the Mujahideen was matched by repression at home. Intelligence and police forces actively hunted down Leftists, often on trumped up or trivial charges. As a result, university teachers, students, journalists, and assorted other activists with actual or imagined connections with communism were more likely to be found behind bars during much of the 1980s.

The tenacity with which some of these individuals faced the Zia regime made up for their lack of organisational capacity and intellectual depth. When most of these towering individuals were released by 1987 their mystique evaporated as they struggled for political anchorage in changed Pakistan.

The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt the ideological and psychological blow to the Left for which it was least prepared. The folksy Marxism it subscribed to viewed Soviet Union as infallible. The West celebrated the end of the Cold War as the ‘end of history’ where capitalism and liberal democracy had triumphed as the organising principle for political communities.

Formal political space in Pakistan was now occupied by centrist and right of the centre parties. Where did the Left go in the 1990s? Individuals belonging to the Left ran helter-skelter and most of them eventually ended up in two fields; media, both print and electronic; and mainly externally funded non-government organisations (NGOs) working in areas of education, health, micro-credit, and women’s empowerment.

The remunerative edge of the NGO sector means it is more appealing. But the changed ideological milieu has made erstwhile opponents of capital into means of spreading its reach in far flung corners of society in the name of micro-credit. Whereas in the past the Left spoke of classes and contradictions the new jargon is centred on community and cooperation.

Anti-imperialism and the struggle for equitable and just order at home went hand-in-hand in the traditional leftist agenda. In today’s Pakistan the plank of anti-imperialism is occupied by overly-simplistic anti-Americanism as championed by assorted religious parties and individuals like Imran Khan. Concern for an equitable and just socio-political order is conspicuously absent from the current political discourse.

With the Left nowhere to be seen in the formal political arena, Pakistan’s political discourse revolves around phrases like ‘extremism versus moderation’ both of which leave the fundamental structures of the society untouched. ‘The night-bitten dawn’ Faiz lamented half-a-century back has indeed lasted for a long time and shows no signs of ending.

The writer can be reached at hnizamani@hotmail.com

Courtesy: Daily Dawn, Dec. 4, 2007

Is the left wing struggle divided on ethnic lines?

By Shakeel Nizamani, Calgary, Alberta

After the fall of Soviet Union, many left-wing workers (accustom to comparing themselves as KHAHORI of SHAH) who used to convince simple folks by telling the fairy tales of flowing rivers of milk and honey in communist countries became so demoralized that either they became MULLAH or MAWALI and some even are basking under the sun of their former arch enemy-U.S.A.

Though some old guards sticking to their guns and believe that Marxism is still relevant and prophesy that it will make a come back.

Some Sindhi left-wing nationalists do see these Pakistan left-wing ideologues as usurper. Is the left wing struggle is also divided on ethnic lines?

05/12/2007

Back to Square One

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The 1983 history (MRD Movement) appears to be repeating itself. Some players are different, other players are the same but the establishment once again succeeds in their plan to deny the justice to Sindhis and other exploited groups of Pakistan. Supreme Court justices are gone, press and media has been clamped down, Baloch are dying, and the same machinery is busy in churning lies and propaganda against PPP only because the party is still the number one choice in Sindh and Baluchistan.

In addition to the full page advertisement in the Pakistani newspapers about fictitious letter by Benazir Bhutto to Peter Galbraith, who did not even work for National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1990, I have received venomous e-mails whose aim is to malign PPP and divide people. One in particular titled “Price Per Jialas” used baseless allegations and a lot of innuendo. It has sentences such as “stampeding bigwigs of PPP literally driving over the dead and injured party workers/Jialas in their luxury cars”, “Ms. Bhutto returned to Dubai. Her husband picked her up from the airport in their Bentley luxury-car. A single Bentley costs at least $264,000” and “Ms. Bhutto owns a pink family villa fringed by palm trees in an upscale Emirates Hills Dubai) neighborhood overlooking a lake and with a view to a golf course. Average price for a villa in Emirates Hills is said to be $6,000,000.” were clearly aimed at discrediting Benazir and part of the conspiracy create an environment where PPP can be declared as having lost elections.

The hurried elections under the emergency rule, whose nomination date starts today are all designed to defeat the true ballot box choice and ensure that the same unrepresentative groups continue to rule Pakistan and continue to deny due rights of the Sindhis and the people of Pakistan.

Alas, our jihad remains limited to declaring “enemies” of our “enemies” as true friends and joining hands with those who pursue the path of fundamentalism and want to strengthen military even further using resources of Sindh and Baluchistan.

I think the time has come for us to call spade a spade and leave the delusional world of securing justice through democracy and elections. This is not going to happen as the establishment controls are not easily breakable. It about time that we take an inward look at our strengths and weaknesses and formulate a strategy on how we would be able to protect Sindhi identity, political rights and culture in years to come!

22/11/2007

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.

International Sindhi seminar was great success

NEW DELHI, INDIA: A three-day international Sindhi seminar held at New Delhi (India) from Oct 26 to 28, 2007 which was a great success…

The seminar organized by an NGO Maruee in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi was attended, among others, by a 12-member writers’ delegation from Sindh (Pakistan) headed by Dr Suleman Shaikh – associated with Sindh Graduate Association – SGA. This was the 5th seminar of its kind which was held in connection with the silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee and it was dedicated to the great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689 – 1752). Various Sindhi speaking people who were followers of Shah Latif and living in various parts of India specially came to Delhi to attend the seminar.

A musical show was also organized on the occasion in which renowned singers from Sindh Shafi Faqir, Ms Paroo Chawla and Ms Padma Gidwani (both from India) performed. An Indo-Pak poetic symposium dedicated to the two renowned Sindhi poets late Naryan Shyam and late Shaikh Ayaz held. Sant Kanwar Awards were also distributed on the occasion. Ms Veena Shringi, General Secretary of Maruee and Ms Shalini Sagar – Information Secretary made special efforts to make this seminar a great success.

The members of Sindh’s delegation were; Dr Suleman Shaikh (leader), Abdul Fatah Malik Advocate, Mohammad Khan Sial, Noor Ahmed Jhinjhi, Ali Haider Shaikh, Ms Najma Shaikh, Shafi Faqir (singer), Ms Mehrunissa larik, Ms Nusrat Lashari, Ms Nazir Naaz, Ms Mumtaz Fatah Malik & Ms Nahid Hingoro. The Group members visited various historical, religious & entertainment places in Delhi like Jamia Masjid, Red Fort, Gate of India, Mazars of Sarmad Shaheed & Abul Kalaam Azad, Mazar of Nizamuddin Olyae, Qutab Minar and most modern under-ground train system (metro train) which is still under construction but partially is in operation.

///-///

If two Germanys re-unite, why not Pakistan, India? Pro-govt. ex- parliamentarian Syed Khadim Ali Shah demands in Delhi seminar

NEW DELHI, INDIA: A pro-Govt ex-parliamentarian (Pakistan) Syed Khadim Ali Shah who belongs to Mirpurkhas district in Sindh has suggested that if two Berlins (Germanys) reunite, why not Pakistan and India? He was speaking in an inaugural session of Sindhi seminar held on Oct 26, 2007 at Delhi which was dedicated to the Great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai. Mr Shah attended the seminar in connection with launching ceremony of 04 books including his book written on Shaheed Bakhtaawar – a Sindhi lady who laid her life for raising voice against unjustified distribution of grain between peasants and landlords in Thar. It may be pointed out this was a literary and non-political seminar which held from Oct 26 to 28 in Delhi to celebrate silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee – an NGO in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi (Sindh). Later organizers of the seminar, informally expressed their embarrassment on such political demand in a literary programme dedicated to the Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (Sindh)

Source: SindhWeek.com

///-///

International Sindhi Conference in Singapore – An important effort to keep Sindhis Connected

By Dr. Satish Rohra

Under the auspices of Alliance of Sindhi Associations America and Singapore Sindhi Association, a memorable Sammelan/Conference held at Singapore from 27th to 29th July 2007.

This conference was International in real sense. In former Sindhi conferences most of the time only a few delegates from neighboring country attend. But this Sammelan was attended by delegates from 35 countries including USA, U.K, India and Singapore around the world. …

It is necessary to mention here that beginning of these Sammelans was made by Sindhis of America. In beginning for many years this Sammelan was held in USA or Canada. The very first Sammelan was held at New Jersey near New York. New one was in New York. Later they were held at Chicago, Toronto (Canada), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, etc. Three years ago it was held at London. Last year it was held at Mumbai.

… This was the first Sammelan, which was inaugurated by the head of the State. On the 27th July at 7pm, at Hotel Grand Copthorne, President of the Republic of Singapore, his Excellency Shri S. R. Nathan personally lit the lamp and declared the conference open. Mr. Presidnet Nathan had come together with Lady Nathan and some of his cabinet ministers and other officials. …

It was also the first time that India’s former deputy Prime Minister and Opposition leader in the present parliament of Indis, Shri Lal Krishin Advani graced the Sammelan with his presence…

President of Singapore, Mr. Nathan who inaugurated the Sammelan or conference praised Sindhi’s role in the development of Singapore. … The key note speaker, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore and former ambassador of Singapore to the United Nations, said, so far Sindhis have been engrossed in “difficulties”, “achievements”, and “trade”; now they should pay attention to other three and they are “Globalization”, “Peace” and “Tolerance”.

High commissioner for India in Singapore, Dr. Jaishankar, welcomed all delegates and expressed his pleasure that this Sammelan was organized in Singapore.

Dr. Satish Rohra said that the Sammelans and conferences of this kind are very necessary in which we talk and strengthen ourselves as Sindhis. Dr. Rohra further said, “Sindhiat” is not a name of anything… Dr. Satish emphasized that there are many virtues in Sindhi Sanskriti which could bring about a “better world”. He further said, it is wrong to believe that Sindhis have no unity; in fact Sindhis are quite well united… Dr. Rohra also pointed out that for Sindhis “to stay connected to each other” is enough, and that itself is the unity.

Ram Jawhrani said that although majority of Sindhis are financially well off … Kimat Israni talked of ten points on nourishing Sindhi Bhasha…

… Swami Swaroopanatida’s discourse on one way praised Sindhis but at the same time he talked the lack of unity in Sindhis. Swamiji’s talk was very powerful.

Dr. Ram Buxani had plenty to say. His main topic was “Talk Sindhi”, Live Sindhi” and keep “Sindhyat” alive.

In the concluding speech, Kamlesh Moorjani told in his loud and effective voice the achievements of this Sammelan and congratulated the organizers. ….

Source: Sindhishaan

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19/11/2007

NEW DELHI, INDIA: A three-day international Sindhi seminar held at New Delhi (India) from Oct 26 to 28, 2007 which was a great success…

The seminar organized by an NGO Maruee in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi was attended, among others, by a 12-member writers’ delegation from Sindh (Pakistan) headed by Dr Suleman Shaikh – associated with Sindh Graduate Association – SGA. This was the 5th seminar of its kind which was held in connection with the silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee and it was dedicated to the great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689 – 1752). Various Sindhi speaking people who were followers of Shah Latif and living in various parts of India specially came to Delhi to attend the seminar.

A musical show was also organized on the occasion in which renowned singers from Sindh Shafi Faqir, Ms Paroo Chawla and Ms Padma Gidwani (both from India) performed. An Indo-Pak poetic symposium dedicated to the two renowned Sindhi poets late Naryan Shyam and late Shaikh Ayaz held. Sant Kanwar Awards were also distributed on the occasion. Ms Veena Shringi, General Secretary of Maruee and Ms Shalini Sagar – Information Secretary made special efforts to make this seminar a great success.

The members of Sindh’s delegation were; Dr Suleman Shaikh (leader), Abdul Fatah Malik Advocate, Mohammad Khan Sial, Noor Ahmed Jhinjhi, Ali Haider Shaikh, Ms Najma Shaikh, Shafi Faqir (singer), Ms Mehrunissa larik, Ms Nusrat Lashari, Ms Nazir Naaz, Ms Mumtaz Fatah Malik & Ms Nahid Hingoro. The Group members visited various historical, religious & entertainment places in Delhi like Jamia Masjid, Red Fort, Gate of India, Mazars of Sarmad Shaheed & Abul Kalaam Azad, Mazar of Nizamuddin Olyae, Qutab Minar and most modern under-ground train system (metro train) which is still under construction but partially is in operation.

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If two Germanys re-unite, why not Pakistan, India? Pro-govt. ex- parliamentarian Syed Khadim Ali Shah demands in Delhi seminar

Courtesy: SindhWeek.com

NEW DELHI, INDIA: [By: Special Correspondent – Sindh Week.Com Report] A pro-Govt ex-parliamentarian (Pakistan) Syed Khadim Ali Shah who belongs to Mirpurkhas district in Sindh has suggested that if two Berlins (Germanys) reunite, why not Pakistan and India? He was speaking in an inaugural session of Sindhi seminar held on Oct 26, 2007 at Delhi which was dedicated to the Great Sindhi Sufi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai. Mr Shah attended the seminar in connection with launching ceremony of 04 books including his book written on Shaheed Bakhtaawar – a Sindhi lady who laid her life for raising voice against unjustified distribution of grain between peasants and landlords in Thar. It may be pointed out this was a literary and non-political seminar which held from Oct 26 to 28 in Delhi to celebrate silver jubilee celebrations of Maruee – an NGO in collaboration with Sindhi Academy, Delhi (Sindh). Later organizers of the seminar, informally expressed their embarrassment on such political demand in a literary programme dedicated to the Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (Sindh)

Courtesy: SindhWeek.com

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International Sindhi Conference in Singapore

An important effort to keep Sindhis Connected

By Dr. Satish Rohra

Courtesy: Sindhishaan

Under the auspices of Alliance of Sindhi Associations America and Singapore Sindhi Association, a memorable Sammelan/Conference held at Singapore from 27th to 29th July 2007.

This conference was International in real sense. In former Sindhi conferences most of the time only a few delegates from neighboring country attend. But this Sammelan was attended by delegates from 35 countries including USA, U.K, India and Singapore around the world. …

It is necessary to mention here that beginning of these Sammelans was made by Sindhis of America. In beginning for many years this Sammelan was held in USA or Canada. The very first Sammelan was held at New Jersey near New York. New one was in New York. Later they were held at Chicago, Toronto (Canada), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, etc. Three years ago it was held at London. Last year it was held at Mumbai.

… This was the first Sammelan, which was inaugurated by the head of the State. On the 27th July at 7pm, at Hotel Grand Copthorne, President of the Republic of Singapore, his Excellency Shri S. R. Nathan personally lit the lamp and declared the conference open. Mr. Presidnet Nathan had come together with Lady Nathan and some of his cabinet ministers and other officials. …

It was also the first time that India’s former deputy Prime Minister and Opposition leader in the present parliament of Indis, Shri Lal Krishin Advani graced the Sammelan with his presence…

President of Singapore, Mr. Nathan who inaugurated the Sammelan or conference praised Sindhi’s role in the development of Singapore. … The key note speaker, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore and former ambassador of Singapore to the United Nations, said, so far Sindhis have been engrossed in “difficulties”, “achievements”, and “trade”; now they should pay attention to other three and they are “Globalization”, “Peace” and “Tolerance”.

High commissioner for India in Singapore, Dr. Jaishankar, welcomed all delegates and expressed his pleasure that this Sammelan was organized in Singapore.

Dr. Satish Rohra said that the Sammelans and conferences of this kind are very necessary in which we talk and strengthen ourselves as Sindhis. Dr. Rohra further said, “Sindhiat” is not a name of anything… Dr. Satish emphasized that there are many virtues in Sindhi Sanskriti which could bring about a “better world”. He further said, it is wrong to believe that Sindhis have no unity; in fact Sindhis are quite well united… Dr. Rohra also pointed out that for Sindhis “to stay connected to each other” is enough, and that itself is the unity.

Ram Jawhrani said that although majority of Sindhis are financially well off … Kimat Israni talked of ten points on nourishing Sindhi Bhasha…

… Swami Swaroopanatida’s discourse on one way praised Sindhis but at the same time he talked the lack of unity in Sindhis. Swamiji’s talk was very powerful.

Dr. Ram Buxani had plenty to say. His main topic was “Talk Sindhi”, Live Sindhi” and keep “Sindhyat” alive.

In the concluding speech, Kamlesh Moorjani told in his loud and effective voice the achievements of this Sammelan and congratulated the organizers. ….

What is happening in Pakistan?

Musharraf in Contempt, Military in Politics, Politicians in Disarray: What is happening in Pakistan ?

By Aziz Narejo, TX, USA

In a landmark judgment on August 23rd this year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ruled that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had an inalienable right to return to the country, remain in the country and participate in political activities with the directions that the federal and provincial governments should not hamper his safe return. Everybody saw that the government violated the SC judgment and forcibly deported NS to Saudi Arabia .

The SC is now hearing a contempt of court case and it is surprising that the PIA and the government officials including the PM have submitted sworn statements that none of them had any hand in the NS deportation. PM is however in hot waters as the foreign office has pointed a finger at him saying that it was on his verbal orders that a plane was arranged to fly NS to Jeddah.

The Chief Justice in the hearing of the contempt case today reiterated that Nawaz Sharif can come to Pakistan any time and stressed for the implementation of court’s earlier judgment in letter and spirit. He said: “There was a clear-cut violation of our judgment.”

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=10905

On one hand when the SC insists on the implementation of its order of August 23, Musharraf’s statement at a PML-Q meeting on Thursday Oct. 26 clearly shows his disrespect for the judiciary and a clear contempt of court. Please read his statement in daily The News of 26th October:

“Nawaz can’t return before polls: Musharraf

By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD : President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Thursday assured worried PML-Q legislators that Nawaz Sharif would not be allowed to return before the general elections.

The president said this while talking to MNAs belonging to the ruling party and its allies at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at the Prime Minister House on Thursday evening. …”

Now isn’t it clear violation of a SC judgment and a contempt of court?

You also read the news of the military ruler presiding over political meetings, corps commanders discussing and making decisions on political issues and military officials meeting politicians to discuss again political matters. Isn’t that violation of the Constitution that forbids military people from indulging in any political activities?

Then look at the politicians! How they are reaching for each other’s throats at such a critical time in Pakistan ‘s history. Can’t they put up a joint stand against the military regime?

31/10/2007

Oct. 18 Tragedy: Blame the Victim – Distorted Minds, Distorted Views

Oct. 18 Tragedy: Blame the Victim for the Crime: Distorted Minds, Distorted Views

By Aziz Narejo, TX

It is shocking to see the emails and statements blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy in Karachi . The accusations are absurd and outrageous but unfortunately they are not uncommon or unheard of in Pakistan . On the contrary, that is exactly what one expects in the country where military and undemocratic rule over the time has distorted the politics, polluted the minds and created an unnatural atmosphere.

Wasn’t it the military dictator Musharraf who blamed the rape victims to invite the violation of their bodies and souls to seek immigration to Western countries? (By the way, he made that wild and shameful accusation as the cases of Mai Mukhtaran and the Sui rape victim Dr Mrs. Khalid were getting wide publicity in the world media. I think it would be the first duty of any future civilian set up to open the Sui rape case and prosecute the rapist for his crime and Musharraf for unlawfully absolving the criminal and obstructing the course of justice).

Similarly the Chief Justice of Pakistan was blamed for 12th May Karachi massacre while the real culprits, the terrorists and Musharraf’s brothers in arms have conveniently been kept off the hook.

And now they are blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy! It is bizarre to blame Benazir for an attack on herself and her own rally causing death and pain to her supporters and denying herself an opportunity to lead and address the biggest ever gathering of people in Pakistan.

This is the prime example of distorted polity in Pakistan. Will we ever change?

26/10/2007

There is always a scope for Joint Actions

Sindhi Leaders in Sindh Explore Joint Actions the Protection and Promotion of Rights of the people

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Verginia

Finally it looks like Sindhi leaders have realized that “divided we fall and united we become much stronger” and have taken first steps to at least start talking with each other on ways to promote and protect our rights . For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by other alliances and minor political differences to divide us. Now is the time to ponder over that our unproven trust in others to deliver to us fairness and equality has not gotten us any where…

02/10/2007

What is happening with Lawyers and Judges in Karachi

Few days ago some an ethnic organization’s activists surrounded Sindh High court.

Two lawyers have been murdered in Karachi in recent days.

Few days ago, some unidentified people did chalking on the walls of SHC and banners against the Chief Justice, Sindh High court at main entrance get of Sindh High court near Sindh secretariat and Sindh Assembly building. Same day at the night some unidentified people had opened fire and on city court. Now City Court’s Secretary and four Lawyers have arrested when they were coming to Sindh High Court.

10/11/2007

For BBC Report, click here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/10/071001_karachi_tense_sq.shtml

Army Rule Prevents Pakistan from becoming a Nation

Seminar in Washington DC

By: Khalid Hashmani

Once again, Washington DC witnessed another interesting and informative session. The “Pakistan and Its Army: A Changing Relationship? ” event was held on Friday, September 28, 2007 and organized by the South Asian Program of Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The key panelists at this event included Shuja Nawaz, author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its army, and the wars within” and Colonel (ret) David O. Smith, Country Director for Pakistan in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy).

Mr. Shuja Nawaz, who is writing a new book on Pakistan Army, comes from a Pakistani military family and is a brother of a former Chief of Staff of Pakistan Army. He began with the statement that “Pakistan is a country that is still struggling to become a nation”. With the separation of half of the country in 1971, a divide between religious and moderate segments of Pakistan has allowed military to rule Pakistan.

He said that although the country was created in the name of religion, the founders of Pakistan were unanimous that it was not to be a religious state. The power of military has grown mainly on account of fear and relationship with India. In the past, people had utmost respect for Army and considered it a strong non-corruptible institution but with time people has come to see it as a one of the root causes of country’s problems. The successful military rules have left national institutions so weak that these institution cannot even work during civilian governments. He said that Army does not have any close relationship with religious elements or attached to a particular ideology. He called Army’s rule as “controlled form of democracy” in which a Parliamentarian form of government becomes more like a de-facto Presidential form of government. He criticized the increasing involvement of Pakistani military in running businesses and industries and said these involvements often lead to decisions that are counter to national interests.

Mr. Nawaz tried to convince that present day military is changing as it is no longer predominantly from the three districts of Punjab. He said that the current trends show that its composition mainly comes from those who are from large urban areas. To emphasize that Army is no longer a Punjabi Army he said that the recent figures show that recruits are being hired in all provinces. It is only after I questioned him about the numbers of native Sindhis and native Baloch in Army that he conceded that many of these recruits may have come from those families that migrated from India, Punjab, and Pakhtonwa and are now settled in Sindh and Balochistan.

Talking about the perception that Pakistan should adopt the Turkish model where military has a special role, Mr. Nawaz said that such a model is not going to work because neither the Pakistan Army is as homogeneous nor the people of Pakistan are passive any longer.

Comparing the past and current financial burdens imposed by military, he said that in 1965-70 period, Pakistan spent about 2.8% of GDP on military and in 1970-75, it grew to 4% compared to only 3% that went to the “development” expenditure. He added that today only 14% of all revenues remain available for investment on the social needs.

Talking about one of a critical “governance” changes that has occurred in Pakistan since the start of military rule was in the “warrant of Precedence”. Before Ayub Khan, the senior most military position was at the 20th position in the order of precedence and now the Chief of Staff is at the number one (1) position. He commented that not even periodic civilian regimes have tried to change this order precedence.

Mr. David Smith, started his remarks by saying that he was proud to have attended the Pakistani Army Staff College in Quetta. He said that like the US military, Pakistan Army too is ill prepared to deal with insurgency type of warfare as it requires decentralization in decision making, creativity, and taking risks. He added that “centralized” system has roots in the South Asian culture (from father to his son – to his son –) and poses the greatest challenge in successfully introducing serious changes. Citing an example from his stay the the Quetta staff college, he said that he was impressed with many things but felt that his fellow student did not show much creativity. Often in certain exercises, even though the students were told to think on their own and come up with own solutions, invariably, students came up with the “cookbook” solutions.

In the Question-Answer session. a member of audience citing the recent event where 280 soldiers including officers and one Lt. Colonel surrendered to insurgents without firing a single shot, asked if the Pakistani Army has lost its will to fight against stronger adversary. One of the panelists responded that the actual facts have not come out in public so we do not know the real story and added that newspapers quote some soldiers as saying that they could not fire on fellow Muslims because if they died in the return fire, they would not go to heaven. To which, another member from audience said, that such stories do not make sense as soldiers from the same Army did not hesitate in firing on and killing innocent Baloch men, women, and children who too were Muslims. In conclusion a panelist said that he would agree that we really don’t know who is being recruited and who is joining Pakistan military.

29 September, 2007

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,

Educate Sindh Forum Organized a get Together in London

The New Ray of Light : Young Sindhi Leadership is rising

– Sohail Kalhoro

Educate Sindh forum organized a get together dinner at my residence in London on the evening of 15th Sept 07 which presented an opportunity for many SINDHI PROFESSIONALS to personally come together and participate in a vibrant evening which saw friends with diverse backgrounds ranging from: Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Chartered Accounting, Satellite Communication, Business Administration, Environmental studies, Civil, Electrical, and Telecoms Engineering.

Sincere thanks to all friends who took time out of their busy weekends and joined us from London, Slough, Bristol, Birmingham,Surrey as well as Pakistan. Group members started arriving 17:00 onwards on a warm London evening. The event started with an informal introduction of the participants and their respective professional fields. Dinner was served following which an interactive suggestions/recommendations session was initiated focusing on;

1) AIMS/OBJECTIVES: Responding to a query by a member it was informed that the objective of EducateSindh is to channel the resources and capacity of the SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in the field of education, employment opportunities, and career counselling.

2) TARGET AUDIENCE: Again, in response to another question put up by a friend regarding who the target audience is which would be benefited from the services provided by this group.It was elaborated that the group’s expertise and resources is not confined to a single segment and in order to maximize the benefits of the participation of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS as many audience should be catered to.

3) EDUCATESINDH STRUCTURE: It was informed that the credibility and success of EducateSindh is due to the fact that it is an open forum, having no hierarchical boundaries which makes it an inclusive and participative platform for all.

4) ORGANIC GROWTHIt was unanimously agreed that the benefits of this group should be extended to wider community audience and thus the participants agreed to share their contacts by providing a minimum of 5 to 10 new members and thus helping this forum to grow organically. In this regard it is down to the responsibility to each individual of this group to similarly help add new members.

5) EMAIL AS AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF COMMUNICATION It was emphasized that exchanging emails should be made a habit as it provides the most efficient and productive means of communicating as well as encouraging friends and social contacts to stay in touch over this medium. QUICK, EASY & EFFECTIVE.

6) “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS” AS A BRAND The essence of this group is the participation of highly motivated, qualified & enthusiastic Sindhis and this should be made the unique selling point (USP) of our endeavours hence the association with the brand “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS”. Furthermore, it is a step forward in helping relate the common link between sindhis world over.

7) SHARING EXPERIENCESEducateSindh provides a flexible & friendly platform to SINDHI PROFESSIONALS where they could share their practical experiences not just limited to the exchange of emails but also by actually personally talking to the local community including schools, colleges, universities which would benefit the most from the sharing of these experiences.

Each one of us can contribute by sharing whatever little experience we have gained whether it is just by visiting Sindh, Khairpur, Nawabshah & other Universities and talking to a handful of students and guiding them on the spot about their path to being qualified & successful in their respective fields or even just visiting our own primary/secondary schools in villages and talking to the teachers and headmasters. This trend should be encouraged as it will maximize each of our individual capacity to help. The idea here is to not limit ourselves to large gatherings or wait for such opportunities but to utilize whatever little time we have at our hands to broaden the horizon of many.

The get together which went on until around 22:30 was concluded with an aim to further continue holding these interactive get togethers extending to different geographical and wider audience which began with the successful meeting of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in Karachi on the 12th Sept 07 following onto 15th Sept London dinner with a view to organize a seminar in sindh after Eid.

Special thanks to our friends who attended last night’s dinner. Abdullah Abbasi, Ahmed Kamran, Amar Jalil Metlo, Asad Palijo, Ashraf Lakho, Dr Ali Gul Metlo, Dr Shoaib Qazi, Gul Laghari, Haleem Junejo, Hassan Junaid, Imran Mahar, Imran Soomro, Junaid Ahmed Narejo, Khalid Jamali, Manzoor Unar, Mohammad Ali Shaikh, Mujeeb Metlo, Razzak Solangi, Roop Panjwani, Saboor Mahar, Saeed Soomro, Shabbir Mallah.

News courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,

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