Tag Archives: discontent

Sorrows of Sindh

My encounters with the intelligentsia of Sindh and infrequent visits to small towns and the rural areas have led me to believe that it is an alarming situation and grievances are building up at different levels. It may be possible to compare some aspects of Sindh’s politics with the kind of discontent that has simmered in Balochistan for a long time. But Sindh is strategically located on Pakistan’s economic lifeline.

By Ghazi Salahuddin

In the fractured mirror that is Pakistan, each large fragment projects a scary image of disorder. In this flaming montage, Sindh sometimes stands out and diverts our attention from other, apparently more crucial, issues of national security. In many ways, it is the last frontier in the country’s struggle for survival.

In a column that is appearing on Pakistan Day, a ritualistic reflection on what this anniversary means may be in order. But this would be a camouflage. Yes, it would be a day of some popular rejoicing if we had won the World Twenty20 Cup cricket match against India on Friday. In recent days, nothing seems to have given us more joy than the two thrilling cricket wins against India and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. Watching TV, one felt that we were gloating over it in a somewhat indiscreet manner.

This reference to cricket should be relevant because it triggers thoughts about various traumatic events in South Asian history and underlines the logic for new beginnings. Our relations with India, in particular, need to be rebuilt for the sake of national security. If we move ahead on this path, a silver lining could emerge on our horizon.

Meanwhile, of course, we must first put our own house in order. It is in this context that the situation in Sindh has recently become more disturbing. The latest flare-up in the saga of Sindh was the murder on Friday of two leaders of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM). Their charred bodies were found in a burnt-out car near Naushahro Feroze.

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History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

Past present: Black mirror

History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.

After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.

Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.

During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.

Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.

When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.

Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.

The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.

G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.

Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].

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Pakistan’s Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job

By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s army chief, the most powerful man in the country, is fighting to save his position in the face of seething anger from top generals and junior officers since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to Pakistani officials and people who have met the chief in recent weeks.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has led the army since 2007, faces such intense discontent over what is seen as his cozy relationship with the United States that a colonels’ coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question, said a well-informed Pakistani who has seen the general in recent weeks, as well as an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years.

The Pakistani Army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that General Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, Pakistanis who follow the army closely said.

Washington, with its own hard line against Pakistan, had pushed General Kayani into a defensive crouch, along with his troops, and if the general was pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, the Pakistani said. ….

Read more: The New York Times