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Sindh Assembly withdraws controversial, apartheid, notorious black law SPLGO 2012

Sindh Assembly adopts bill to withdraw SPLGO 2012

KARACHI – SINDH: The Sindh Assembly has adopted a bill to withdraw the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012 and reinstate the local government act of 1979, Geo News reported. The bill, pertaining to the withdrawal of SPLGO 2012 and restoration of the Local Government Act 1979, was presented by Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro amidst protest from Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) MPA’s. Later, the MQM members staged a walk out from the provincial assembly in protest against withdrawal of the local government ordinance 2012.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89024-Sindh-Assembly-restores-Local-Government-Act-of-1979–

JALSO of PML-F – A rejection to SPLGA – An emerging Alternative to get off forty years prison of PPP

Nawab Ali RahooBy: Nawab Ali Rahoo, Hyderabad,Sindh

Misfortune of one yields fortune for another. The prevailing leadership of PPP has provided an opportunity to PML-F to launch itself in a manner that deprived & betrayed masses by PPP-P Government may find rescue & comfort in the folds of PML-F. Since the day PPP- MQM coalition government tabled SPLGO in Sindh Assembly & got it passed hurriedly. The very moment PML-F on Assembly ground & the Nationalists on the roads opposed it with tooth & nail. The arrogant PPP neither paid attention towards public resentment nor responded to any political party opposing this barbaric bill.

On the one hand they started joking on opponents then criticized severely & finally conducted public meeting (jalso) in Hyderabad on 10th October 2012 which proved a flop show. On the other hand Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC) under the convener ship of Syed Jalal Shah along with Jatoi Bros & Shahryar Mahar gathered at Pir Sahib Pagaro to accelerate the struggle against controversial Dual Local Government System. Due to Government’s tough & unfavorable stand on this controversial black bill there was a growing frustration among masses of Sindh.

In the mean time Pir Sahib Paggaro appeared as the gigantic voice of Sindh & Sindhis which raised a new hope among downtrodden masses of Sindh. His patriotic stand, vision, attitude & dealing with recently erupted political affairs earned for him a “leadership” role. Thus genial Pir Sahib Pagaro got consensus to lead all parties who are struggling against dual bill in particular and are willing to form a grand alliance against PPP in Sindh in coming elections in general.

Continue reading JALSO of PML-F – A rejection to SPLGA – An emerging Alternative to get off forty years prison of PPP

SPLGB 2012 announced in Sindh Assembly amid uproar

KARACHI: Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khoro Thursday announced the approval of Sindh People’s Local Government Bill (SPLGB) 2012 amid opposition’s uproar in the assembly.

During the assembly session, the speaker announced that the Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad signed the draft of SPLGB 2012 turning it into an act.

Following the announcement, member of the opposition Nusrat Sehr Abbasi tore copies of the agenda which lead to a heated exchange of words with Sharjeel Memon.

Abbasi was also told to shut up by Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and by Murad Ali when she was interrupting his speech.

MPAs of the government also chanted slogans against the enemies of democracy.

Earlier, PML-F, PML-Q, ANP and NPP had staged walkout from the assembly session in a protest for failing to get opposition benches in the assembly.

Continue reading SPLGB 2012 announced in Sindh Assembly amid uproar

Human-chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building to protest discriminatory, dual, black and apartheid SPLGA-2012.

Sindhi Adabi Sangat and Sindh Writers and Thinkers Forum jointly organized a human chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building on Sunday to protest against passage of Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012. A large number of writers, poets, journalists, civil society activists and politicians took part in making the human chain. Amid tight security by police around the Sindh Assembly building the participants also comprised of women and children who were restricted at the Arts Council round-about, where they gathered and the leaders addressed to the participants. The police had closed down the gates along the road leading towards Sindh Secretariat and Sindh Assembly. Dr. Mushtaq Phul, General Secretary of Sindhi Adabi Sangat, noted writers and authors Agha Saleem, Irshad Memon, Noor Ahmed Memon, Inam Shaikh, Ishtiaq Ansari, Gul Hassan Kalmati, Qabool Abro, Manzoor Solangi, Murtaza Sial, veteran Sindhi poets Akash Ansari, Hidayat Baloch, authors journalist Dastagir Bhatti and G. N. Mughal, Hamsafar Gadahi politicians Ismail Rahu, Ali Hassan Chandio, Shafi Mohammad Jamote, civil society activists Prof. Mushtaq Mirani, Muzaffar Chandio and Zulfiqar Halepoto were the prominent among the participants of the human chain.

Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

By: Khalid Hashmani

I have read the article of adi Sarah Zaman a couple of times but I still do not see any argument against the legal challenge except that the Supreme Court may give a decision of rejecting the argument of Barrister Ghumro and that it will weaken the case of Sindh against SPLGA. The argument made is also that this legal challenge will weaken Nawaz Sharif and strengthen MQM. My view is that if we Sindhis are afraid of even challenging a violation of our rights in Pakistan’s supreme court, how are we going to file the case of Sindhi rights at the International Court and the UN? Do we expect Nawaz Sharif to guarantee Sindh rights?

Whether or not Nawaz Sharif wins the next election should not digress us from taking the actions that we believe are in the larger interest of Sindh. At best, Nawaz Sharif can guarantee us the same deal that he gave us when he won the election last time and became Prime Minister and imposed his Chief Minister on Sindh just as the PPP did it. It would be a grave mistake if Sindhis assumed that any political leader would help resolve this issue for them. The civil society has to take it upon itself to beat the crisis. It does not matter who the winner of election is. Sindhis will keep losing until they are able to get up on their own to safeguard their interests. We simply cannot afford any more to depend that a political party that is popular in Punjab to protect Sindh rights.

In objecting to the Barrister Ghumro’s legal petition, adi Sarah Zaman raises the following seven (7) questions: 1. Was the decision to file a petition by Barrister Ghumro approved by the Sindh Bachayo Committee? 2. Is the legal petition in the interest of Sindhis? 3. Does the Sindh Bachayo Committee agree with the main argument of the Barrister Ghumro’s petition? 4. Is this not an action to protect MQM and hurt Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League? 5. Is the present government in Islamabad doing what one would say the “back foot playing” game to push back Nawaz Sharif? 6. Can Sindh afford to bear the loss if the Supreme Court gives the decision that is not acceptable by Sindhis? 7. Were the intellectuals, writers, and poets consulted on the filing of the legal petition and were they in agreement?

Other than pointing out another legal point, adi Zaman has neither analyzed nor provided any answers to the questions raised by her. On the legal point, if I am reading correctly, she says “Since the (SPLGA) Ordinance was sent on October 11th in the form of a ‘Bill’ to the Governor of Sindh for his approval. That bill, according to newspaper reports was signed by the Governor and sent to Ministry of law on 18th October. For this reason the petition can be nullified. The attorney of Barrister sahib should have waited when the representative of Sindh would have come on November 8th”. Frankly I cannot make head and tail of this argument and would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this argument?

I am in 100% agreement adi Zaman’s advice to Sindh intellectuals and leaders that it is their duty to awaken the people and not to mislead Sindhis in taking the steps that would lead them to further misery.

She also says that Barrister Ghumro has taken 180 degrees turn from what he said before on the issue of SPLGA and his action of filing petition. I have tried to researched this alleged “turn about” by Barrister Ghumro but cannot find any evidence. Once again, I would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this allegation?

Another point that adi Zama makes is that Sindhis in London decided to focus on awakening people in Sindh instead of demonstrating in front of 10 Downing Street and shouting “Balle Balle..” or going to international forums and courts. First of all, Sindhis never shout “Balle, Balle…”, second, to the best of my recollection WSC held an impressive demonstration against SPLGA in London and many SANA GTA Chapter members gathered to tell Canadian authorities about how SPLGA violated human rights of Sindhis.

I am very much concerned about the campaign against one of the most active champion of Sindh Rights Barrister Ghumro. He has fought for Sindhi Rights in many innovative ways and has been source of most intelligent and thoroughly researched legal advice to Sindhis. I would trust him any day more than any urban or rural wadero or any political party in Pakistan. I abhor any attempts to create rift among Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, and writers. I believe that we should talk to every one and any one but please do not insist that Sindhis refrain from adapting an independent line of action and get on the bandwagon of Nawaz Sharif, Pir Pagaro, Altaf Hussain, Imran Khan, or Asif Zardari. This would hurt Sindhis both in the long term and short term.

Our intellectuals, poets, and writers had been in slumber for quite sometime and now that they are wakening and activating themselves, it will be a unforgivable crime to create a rift among them so that one or other political party wins the next elections in Pakistan. In the long run, only Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, writers, and other civil society will keep the candle of Sindhiat alive and help Sindhis to defeat SPLGA just like they defeated “one unit”.

Continue reading Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, DawnNews reported.

The apex court admitted the petition, filed by Barrister Zameer Ghumro, for hearing on Nov 8.

Ghumro stated in the petition that the Sindh Assembly had violated the Constitution by passing the local government bill.

He also stated in the petition that the Sindh government had transferred executive powers to metropolitan corporations without having the power to do so.

The apex court admitted the petition for hearing and issued notices to Attorney General Irfan Qadir and Advocate-General Sindh Abdul Fateh Malik, for the hearing on Nov 8.

Previously, the passing of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 had received relentless resistance from the main opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly, as well the nationalist parties in Sindh.

Continue reading Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

Sindh local govt law intensifies polarisation

By: Sohail Sangi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

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

SANA Toronto Briefs Imran Khan (PTI Chief) on SPLGA

By: Khalid Hashmani

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

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

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

– – – – – – – – – –

SINDHI ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA (Toronto Chapter)

Memorandum: October 25, 2012

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

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

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Regards,

Abdul Razzak Khushk

President, SANA,Toronto.

President Zardari and Sindh

By Mohammad Khan Sial

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

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

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

Continue reading President Zardari and Sindh

Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

Sindhis in UK demand to revoke Sindh local bodies law

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

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

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

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

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

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

SANA Toronto rejects the SPLG in Sindh

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

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

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

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

Sindh rejects “SPLGO” – Statement of writers, intellectuals and civil society of Sindh

Press Release – We the writers, poets, intellectuals, artists, and civil society members of Sindh strongly condemn the government of Sindh for unlawfully passing SPLGO-2012 in the Sindh Assembly. This act (illegal) exposes PPP of betraying Sindh and Sindhi people. This act has virtually created state within state in Sindh and has encroached upon the sovereignty of Sindh over its big cities.

This act has seeded permanent division and conflicts among different people living in Sindh. The PPP government did not realize that through this act, Sindh

has been plunged into chaos, unrest and conflicts, making the lives of people of Sindh unbearable. The PPP government in the name of reconciliation

has destroyed the governance, social and economic fabric of Sindh. No peace will return to cities in the presence of the act. This act has given limitless power to mayors and has created big cities as fiefdoms for them.

The PPP government was given mandate to curb terrorism, introduce good governance, promote economic development and protect the rights of Sindh and Sindhi people. But it has sold the people of Sindh and created the division of Sindh. The new political developments indicate that the PPP government is creating conditions, which may destroy peace in Sindh. The responsibility squarely rest on the PPP government.

Sindhi writers and intellectuals have gathered here to take firm stand against the act and pledge to fight against it like they fought against One-Unit.

They will not only struggle against this act in Sindh and Pakistan but all over the world. They will raise voice against the black act in international forums including-the UN. We feel that this black act will not only lead to the division of Sindh. But specially so called metropolitan corporations in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas will facilitate illegal migration from India, converting Sindhis in a minority in their own land, which we will never allow and will prefer to die.

This black act will support terrorism, target killing, ethnic cleansing of Sindhis in Karachi, Hyderabad and MirpurKhas. It will promote all types of organized crimes in these cities.

We appeal to the people of Sindh to be united against this black act. We demand from the PPP government to withdraw the black act and leave to next government to introduce local government bill observing all democratic norms including consultation with the all stakeholders. We do not have trust on the PPP government and it has already betrayed the people of Sindh on all fronts.

We notice that recent events may cause highly tense among Sindhis and the PPP government will be squarely responsible for it. Once again we demand to avert the situation if she calls herself democratic by withdrawing this act immediately, call all stakeholders to concern and introduce new bill acceptable to all.

PPP’s Oct 15 Hyderabad Public Gathering yet another big Disappointment

By: Dr. Azhar A. Shah

PPP’s Oct 15, 2012 Hyderabad Public Gathering was yet another big disappointment indeed. None of the speakers’ could dare to justify the controversial & infamous SPLG Act 2012 and to refute the criticism logically. All they did was unethical character assassination of the nationalist leaders! They conveyed the message that PPP is not in a position to have dialogue on the SPLGA but it is ready for len den (political bribe)!

The feudal lords of PPP gathered their peasants and workers only to tell them that they had nothing to say about SPLGA 2012. Even the minister for Local Government and the Sindh Chief Minister didn’t bother to justify how SPLGA and its various provisions would be beneficial for the people of Sindh and how the criticism of nationalist leaders was invalid! They couldn’t cite any working examples of the newly passed controversial law anywhere in the world.

Having listened to all the speeches of PPP leaders one could easily conclude that they are no more eligible to be called people’s representatives. One of the PPP leader publicly says that he has firm belief that ‘aik zardari sab pe bhari(one zardari more than all). When this is the norm that one person is more than all then what do we expect about democracy! He indeed publicly confessed that it is Mr. Zardari who engages in all this game and he and other members of PPP have no role what so ever!

The take home message of PPPs public gathering for the people of Sindh was to go and get ready for revolution; we have nothing to offer you; elect your proper alternatives who could Save Sindh. That’s a good message indeed!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 Oct. 2012

ONE SINDH, ONE SYSTEM – NO TO APARTHEID DUAL SYSTEM

Sindh has been subject to continuous onslaught against its sovereignty and unity particularly during last sixty five years of Pakistani Federation. The recent attack on its sovereignty has been hurled by no other than Pakistan People’s Party who claims to have the mandate of the people of Sindh. This attack on the unity and sovereignty of Sindh in the shape of so called Sindh Peoples Local Government Act, 2012 reminds us the era of July, 1948 when Karachi was snatched from Sindh and placed under the suzerainty of centre. Sindh Assembly had to take refuge in Hyderabad. At present, Sindh Assembly’s very existence at Karachi will also be devoid of any utility as it has transferred the executive authority of Provincial Government to Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi making itself and the Sindh Government a puppet in the hands of Karachi Mayor.

Unfortunately, Sindh Government is undeterred by its capitulation and surrender. Its Ministers, advisors and PPP office bearers have been making baseless allegations against the leaders of National and progressive Parties of Sindh who have been spearheading a heroic struggle against this black law. Ignorant of the very letter and spirit of SPLG Act, 2012, the Government is defending the defenseless. We would like to present the case of Sindh against this law by pointing out various provisions of this black law. For the sake of convenience and understanding, we have divided the Act of 2012 into three parts: First relates to the constitution of Councils, Second enumerates the powers of the Metropolitan Corporations and third is about the financial powers conferred on the councils and resources made available to them.

Continue reading ONE SINDH, ONE SYSTEM – NO TO APARTHEID DUAL SYSTEM

SANA-Toronto announces Protest against SPLG Law.

As per decisions of ec meeting of SANA Toronto chapter held on October 10, 2012 regarding the issue of controversial, apartheid and discriminatory SPLG law, it was decided to arrange a community gathering in a one week time to protest against this black Law and formulate a joint strategy .

Ec believes that every step forward should be with the consent of all membership of SANA along with community and ec is working towards finalizing the details of this protest meeting before inviting the community for participation in the event.

Ec hopes that all of us men & women along with our family will join this protest meeting to show our resolve to oppose all such black laws like SPLGO/SPLGB and defend our motherland Sindh with all peaceful means.

Mammoth rally in Karachi rejects apartheid SPLG law

Mammoth rally rejects LG law

By: Ramzan Chandio

KARACHI – The participants of a huge public gathering of nationalist and other political parties on Wednesday rejected the Sindh People Local Government Law, terming it a plot of ruling PPP and MQM to plunge the province into civil war-like situation, which may pave way for division of Sindh in future.The protest sit-in, which was organised by the Save Sindh Committee, comprised of nationalist parties. They staged sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club and demanded immediate withdrawal of the controversial local government law.The workers’ caravans of the political parties while hoisting their party flags and chanting slogans against the PPP government reached the venue of sit-in on Wednesday’s afternoon, which converted into huge public gathering.Besides Sindh’s nationalist parties,

Continue reading Mammoth rally in Karachi rejects apartheid SPLG law

It seems that a battle is unfolding between the nation of Sindh & the PPP

Another kind of war

By Editorial

Has a war involving different parties, different forces and different motives begun in Sindh? This certainly seems to be the case. Just a few days after a shooting killed six PPP activists at a rally in Khairpur, which was to have been addressed by MNA Nafeesa Shah, the homes of at least six other PPP leaders were targeted by explosive devices across the province. Pamphlets found at some of the sites attributed responsibility to the little known Sindhudesh Liberation Army, according to police officials.

Those targeted included Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Agha Siraj Durrani in Shikarpur and PPP lawmaker Imdad Ali Pitafi in Hyderabad. In other places, bomb disposal squads defused four bombs placed at the residences of Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro and Law Minister Ayaz Soomro in Larkana, lawmakers Syed Faseeh Shah in Nawabshah and Haji Hayat Talpur in Mirpurkhas. The police claim to have made one arrest and uncovered other evidence from a closed-circuit television camera.

It seems that a battle is unfolding between Sindhi nationalists and the PPP. Unless other complexities and conspiracies are involved, which is possible, the only reason that comes to mind is the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance passed recently by the Sindh Assembly amidst a huge uproar. While the law was strongly backed by the MQM and agreed upon by most of the PPP, some members dissented and nationalist forces fiercely opposed the legislation, which reintroduces city governments. The war we are now seeing is, however, an extremely dangerous one. It can quickly spread through all of Sindh, where both the PPP and the nationalists have influence and a political presence. The idea of the two, pitched against each other, is an alarming one. This is all the more so, given that subsequent violence spread rapidly in Sindh and its settlements. A solution is needed with the PPP taking the lead in finding one.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/449729/another-kind-of-war/

Local government backlash

Local government backlash: Amid song and dance, anti-Sindh mantra goes on

Excerpt;

…. Wearing red caps and holding placards inscribed with anti-government slogans, the protesters, men, women and children, staged a sit-in in front of the press club.

A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market.

The protest call was given by the Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee). Different political parties, including Awami Tahreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, joined in.

And almost every leader of the party vented his anger against the government for passing the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012.

Jalal Mehmood Shah, the Save Sindh Movement convenor; Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party; Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeay Sindh Tehreek; Sanan Qureshi of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Saleem Zia of the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League; Masroor Jatoi of National Peoples Party; and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Asadullah Bhutto were among those who spoke.

Sindh is our motherland and no one would let the PPP and its coalition partner to divide it, said Dr Qadir Magsi. Criticising the ruling party and its leadership, he said that people of Sindh should not expect good things from the PPP any more. ….

In his speech, Jalal Mehmood Shah announced an “unending” struggle against the new local government system and termed the rally a referendum against the system. “This large gathering proves that people of Sindh will not accept the black law, which has been imposed in the province at gunpoint,” he said.

The nationalist leader reiterated that rallies, hunger strikes and all other protests will go on in the province until the law is withdrawn. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/449844/local-government-backlash-amid-song-and-dance-anti-sindh-mantra-goes-on/

(SPLGO) 2012 is an apartheid act passed without due process

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA

My view we diaspora Sindhis should let everyone in Sindh, Pakistan, and rest of world know that (SPLGO) 2012 is an illegal act passed without due process and that it denies historic rights of Sindhis. For the time being, we should play a crucial role in creating awareness about this ill-conceived scheme among the following two groups:

1. Tell the heart-less PPP Assembly members that their action is a serious blunder which will hurt coming generations of people who live in Sindh and that they must go back to the Sindh Assembly and vote to withdraw this foolish regulation. We must make it clear to them that if they do not that as soon as possible, Sindhis will neither forget nor forgive them for this act of betrayal.

2. Create awareness in the general public of Sindh that (SPLGO) 2012 law undermines Sindh and will divide various ethnic people living in Sindh and keep rural Sindh under the shackles of poverty and dominance by urban and rural waderas/feudals. If PPP does not move fast to dismantle (SPLGO) 2012 immediately, we should play our role in encouraging them to vote for any one but PPP.

In doing so we must not align ourselves with any political party or a grouping of political parties. Our (SANA) actions should be transparent and inclusive and any appearance of supporting any faction must be avoided at all costs.

There are several actions that we can take but in the immediate future – for one we should call and write to PPP members to take immediate action to dismantle the ill-conceived action they took. We should also call other political and NGO leaders, writers, poets, teachers, student leaders, social writers, intellectuals, professors and other leading persons in Sindh and urge them to start and strengthen the movement to have one uniform system of local bodies in Sindh and restore equal rights for everyone who lives in Sindh.

I believe the above simple but focused actions will take enough of our time and encourage people of Sindh to rise on this critical occasion to force immediate annulment of (SPLGO) 2012.

Americans do it due to stress, Muslims due to hate!

Discussing the Motives of the Afghan Shooter

by Glenn Greenwald

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.

Continue reading Americans do it due to stress, Muslims due to hate!

The supreme court on the army and ISI chiefs’ removal

By Nasim Zehra

Excerpt;

….. The prime minister is within his constitutional authority to remove the two chiefs, and therefore under what law would the Chief Justice of Pakistan interfere in the prime minister’s authority and ask for a no-removal guarantee by the latter? Giving such a guarantee would clearly restrict the constitutional powers given to the elected prime minister. Was the CJP overstepping his constitutional mandate? The CJP can re-interpret or use his own discretion, but not without undermining the Constitution.

Such an action by the CJP could set a dangerous precedent and could undermine the recent thawing of government-army tensions. The Chief Justice of Pakistan is humbly advised to re-trace his missteps on this matter. Meanwhile, the government would be ill-advised to give in writing that it will not remove the army and the ISI chiefs.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2012.

Pakistan – We will not accept any unconstitutional act, says Yasin Azad

According to reports, Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad says they will not accept any unconstitutional act.

via » Twitter

The wretched of Sindh – by Asghar Soomro

 …. Last year, donors generously funded the relief work but they must have been shocked to see the way it was managed. Donated materials included food and non-food items, which generally did not reach the needy people on merit. A lot of it was openly sold in the markets or distributed among party loyalists. Moreover, in some places, it was dumped without any reason.

For example, in district Dadu, more than 10,000 mineral water bottles, 12,000 blankets, thousands of warm clothes and drinking water tanks have been destroyed by the recent heavy rains in the area. They did not distribute the items among the people, letting them rot away since last year’s floods in the district. This is a criminal act. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington lobby group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over Kashmir

Pakistan funded Washington lobby group, U.S. says

Washington (CNN) — Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.

A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, “acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years,” an FBI arrest affidavit states.

One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.

Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years. ….

Read more → CNN

Commissionerate system restored in Sindh

SINDH – KARACHI: The Commissionerate System has been restored in the province of Sindh. An official statement on Saturday said that Acting Governor of Sindh, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, promulgated three ordinances on Saturday which will be effective immediately.

Accordingly the Commissionerate System, Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 and Police Act 1861 have been restored, the statement added.

The Acting Governor repealed the Police Ordinance 2002 …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Extremely shameful act of how Pakistani law enforcement agencies kill unarmed pregnant woman ruthlessly

– Chechen ‘terrorist’ was pregnant when shot dead

[To see the photo of the woman raising her hand next to a security checkpoint before being killed by Pakistani troops in Quetta, click here].

QUETTA: The autopsy report of a woman who was among the five suspected Chechen terrorists killed in Quetta on Tuesday, reveals that she was pregnant at the time she was shot dead.

Express 24/7 correspondent Shehzad Baloch reports that the autopsy which was carried out at the Bolan Medical Complex in Quetta, revealed  the woman, who is yet to be identified by authorities, was shot 12 times. The report also reveals that she was seven months pregnant. No bomb-related injury has been found on her body.

Autopsies on the remaining four bodies is under way….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Via Siasat.pk

More on above issue: Do suicide bombers take passports and visas in their packets

Osama Bin Laden fiasco: the buck stops with the military —Dr Mohammad Taqi

– OBL fiasco: the buck stops with the military

The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies.

The events of the last ten days have been as much amusing as they have been distressing. The Pakistani establishment has been running like a chicken with its head cut off. From an initial reaction that mixed denial with a desire to claim some credit for the death of the US’s enemy number one, the response has morphed into a wrangling within the ruling classes as well as posturing and digging in vis-à-vis the US.

While the establishment, and now the political government, has determined that there, ostensibly, is enough blame to go around the whole world and the intelligence agencies therein, the primary finger pointing continues between the military and the political elite. It reminds me of the game called ‘hot potato’ in which the kids pass around the hot potato — usually a ball — to the fast pace of music. The person holding the hot potato when the music stops, is out of the game. Apparently, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been ‘volunteered’ to hold the hot potato of the Osama bin Laden (OBL) fiasco for now.

In a complete about-turn from his statements of less than a month ago, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has suddenly discovered the importance of the civilians leading the charge on security issues. Asking the civvies to lead in the national security and foreign policy matters — really? Something is not right with this picture. This never happens unless the top brass is in thick soup. The 1965 Operation Gibraltar, the 1971 Dacca debacle, 1989 Jalalabad misadventure, and the 1999 Kargil disaster: as Yogi Berra would have said, it’s like déjà vu all over again!

In several addresses, including the one last month on the Martyrs’ Day (Yawm-e-Shuhada), General Kayani had made no mention whatsoever of the civilian government. And he was not just talking past them. He had been talking of a bond directly between the people and the army, with the political forces conveniently left out of the equation. Is it not interesting then that the army chief now “believes that the people of Pakistan need to be taken into confidence through their honorable elected representatives”? He has further “requested that strength of democracy must be put into effect to develop a consensus on important security issues, including war on terror. Articulation of a national response through parliament, under the circumstances, is the most effective way to let the world know the historic achievements of Pakistan against al Qaeda and its terror affiliates.” And in the vintage Pakistani Army style, the millstone will be finally put around parliament’s neck, as the general has also requested the “honorable prime minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, to kindly consider convening of a joint session of parliament for briefing on security issues as related to Abbottabad incident”.

In February 1989, the security establishment through the then ISI director, General Hamid Gul, gave an in-camera briefing to parliament. The nascent Benazir Bhutto government had been under severe pressure to steer clear of any interference in the foreign policy agenda set out by the establishment. The domestic pressure brought to bear on BB through a hostile provincial government in Punjab was intensified to get her to comply. The closed-doors briefing informed parliament that the ISI was about to unleash the Afghan mujahideen mercenaries on Jalalabad in March 1989 — a battle that ended in the rout of the jihadists. One of BB’s close lieutenants and perhaps her most powerful minister then, told me: “We decided to step aside and let the khakis have their way … to get them off our backs.” Unfortunately for the Pakistan People’s Party, neither could it shake the khakis off its back then, nor would it be able to do it now. And Pakistan continues to reap the whirlwind for the wind that Hamid Gul et al sowed in Afghanistan.

The civilian government is being blamed now for not taking interest in national security matters. The public memory may be short but we have not yet gone into collective amnesia to not remember the ruckus raised by the establishment and its media stooges to successfully block the placement of the ISI under civilian control in 2008. Similarly, the civilian government and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani were much maligned for ‘engineering’ the clauses in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which called for civilian oversight of the US funding to the military. And lest we forget, the ambassador neither invited nor granted visas to OBL, Ayman al-Zawahri, Mullah Omar, Tahir Yuldeshev, the Haqqani network and thousands of jihadists roaming in Pakistan.

The question however is not just whether the civilian leadership should extend a lifeline to a junta on the ropes for reasons over which the politicians never had any control. The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies. The embarrassment does not appear to be about lying but about getting caught lying. All indications are that the wiggle room left by the world powers is being squandered through misplaced swagger.

At minimum, the public deserves to know that there has been an undeclared policy of pursuing foreign policy objectives through the jihadist proxies. If the people of Pakistan agree to this adventurism, then at least everyone will be on the same page and brace for whatever consequences it entails. If the PPP and its coalition partners wish to be a party to a jingoistic consensus, more power to them. But such public consensus can never be developed through in-camera briefings and passing on the buck.

While the politicians are rightly accused of dodging accountability, the security establishment has not done any better. In fact, the opposite has been true in many cases. Professor Hassan Abbas records in his book Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism that in Operation Gibraltar, the highly competent General Akhtar Malik was replaced mid-battle with the inept General Yahya Khan, resulting in disaster, but Yahya was never held accountable. But it is better late than never to begin. If OBL indeed moved into his Abbottabad hideout five or six years ago, that implies that General Kayani himself was in charge of the ISI at the time. The buck therefore stops at his desk, not parliament.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

Courtesy: Daily Times

Mukhtaran Mai: Pakistan betrayed you once again

By Raza Rumi

April 21, 2011 will be remembered as a black day in Pakistan’s history. Not because this was the day when the Supreme Court acquitted the alleged rapists of a poor, marginalised woman. It will be marked as the day when, once again, Pakistan’s colonial criminal justice system failed to protect the vulnerable, thereby rendering a heinous crime such as gang rape almost unpunishable.

Nine years ago, a misogynistic panchayat of south Punjab ordered the gang rape of a woman for no sin of hers. It was her (then 12-year-old) brother who was sodomised and then accused of illicit relations with the sister of the powerful rapists. This low-caste family had to be ‘fixed’. Thanks to the media frenzy, the state had to act when what happens in subaltern Pakistan was exposed. Suo motu notices by the courts, police investigation and faulty prosecution ultimately led to no justice. At every step of the legal process, powerful men obstructed the cause of justice. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Failing the Baloch

By Basil Nabi Malik

THE mutilated bodies surface quietly in various parts of the province, and usually without any forewarning. The killings take place sporadically but surely, the bodies dumped on unforgiving mountains or on deserted, half-constructed roads. Perhaps they are meant to constitute a message for certain segments of society.

On some occasions, the arms and legs of these corpses are found to have been snapped; often, their faces are smashed in and swollen. At other times, the flesh shows that severe torture was inflicted on various parts of the body, the wounds indicating the use of knives, electric prods or drills that tore gaping holes into the body. The remains are often unrecognisable. And all of them have a gunshot wound in the head.

These aren’t scenes from a battlefield in Afghanistan, Iraq or even the former Yugoslavia. Instead, this is the situation in the largest province in Pakistan: Balochistan. According to assessments made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), severe human rights violations have been taking place in Balochistan since the onset of the latest phase of the insurgency.

Of the many incidents of torture reported by the organisation, one is the case of Alam Pirkani Baloch who belonged to the Pirkani tribe. Apparently, he was arrested and placed in the custody of the Federal Intelligence Unit (FIU). During his incarceration, he was allegedly hung upside down with some sort of sharp-edged tool between his thighs and in his hands.

After his hands and legs had bled for a while, he was taken down. Then chillies and salt were rubbed into his wounds.

In another incident, Ali Beig of the Marri tribe was said to have been arrested by personnel of the City Police Station, Quetta, and handed over to the FIU. He was made to stand naked in freezing weather, electric shocks were administered to him and he was beaten with strips of rubber. After two months of being in the custody of the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and the FIU, he was transferred to a jail where the FIU would, allegedly, take him away at night for further torture. After a year, he was once again transferred to the FIU camp where he was subjected to torture with heavy steel rollers.

In another example of the types of activities taking place in Balochistan, Eid Mohammad, son of Haji Wali Jan, was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Act. He was kept in custody for three months. At the time of his arrest, Eid was a student of class 8 and was only 14 years old at the time. Although details of what that happened to him during his detention are sketchy, it is reported that Eid can no longer go to school. He regularly suffers nightmares, during the course of which he screams hysterically and pleads that he should not be tortured.

These are just a few of the various incidents of alleged torture recorded by the HRCP in its fact-finding missions over the years.

Furthermore — and shockingly — these incidents of torture are not considered separate to and distinct from the instances of disappearances that are taking place in Balochistan.

In fact, many reports pouring in nowadays indicate that most of those desolate and mutilated bodies discovered on the uninhabited mountains or empty roads were actually persons reported as missing. Additionally, suspicion is raised by the fact that many such bodies come to light after there has been an attack on paramilitary or government forces that is blamed on nationalist forces.

Despite the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan, which is indicated by the examples given above, these incidents seem to have raised little concern in other parts of the country. The media appears more concerned about the presence of CIA agents in Pakistan than the actual damage that is being caused apparently by state agents in Balochistan. Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan is more concerned about completing its tenure than actually trying to heal the wounds of the Baloch.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, appears more interested in issuing contempt notices to certain PPP leaders as compared to ensuring the fundamental rights of all those tortured and maimed souls who happen to call Balochistan their home. As for the people of Pakistan, sadly, they appear more interested in scrounging for national pride on the fields of Mohali rather than resurrecting the same on the shamed mountains and empty roads of Balochistan.

However, whatever the motives behind such dismissive attitudes, and civil society and the state authorities’ lack of reaction to such incidents, it is clear that the said acts have served to perhaps irreparably harm any possibility of the Baloch placing their trust in the state of Pakistan and attempting at reconciliation.In fact, it has unfortunately now come to such a head that the hatred that certain Baloch tribal people have long held for the state of Pakistan is seeping into other segments of society.

The educated classes, students as well as other parts of the middle class are all growing increasingly militant.

As stated by Jamil Bugti, son of the late Nawab Akbar, Bugti, “The next generation is all in the mountains, and they’re not willing to talk to anyone. People like me, and others, like the different nationalist parties that are in parliament, they don’t have any role to play. They look very good on TV. That’s about it.”

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and a Karachi based lawyer. basil.nabi@gmail.com

Courtesy: DAWNhttp://www.dawn.com/2011/04/12/failing-the-baloch.html