Tag Archives: Immigrants

Deaths in South Africa as mobs target foreigners

At least five killed in Durban since last week in violence that has left hundreds stranded, unable to return home.

Violence against immigrants in South Africa has killed at least five people since last week in one of the worst outbreak of violence against foreigners in years.

Hundreds of migrants mostly from other African countries had been forced out of their homes, authorities told the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday.

Khadija Patel, a South African journalist, told Al Jazeera there have been previous instances of violence against foreigners.

“Hundreds of foreign nationals were displaced in Isipingo [20km south of Durban] late last month, when a group of South Africans attacked foreigners living and working in the area. The victims of that continue to reside in a makeshift camp at a sports ground in Isipingo,” Patel said.

Continue reading Deaths in South Africa as mobs target foreigners

Refugees pay more income tax than millionaire investor immigrants

Only 39% of investor immigrants paid any income tax 5 years after arriving

By CBC News

Refugees who have come to Canada over the past 30 years have paid more income tax in this country than immigrant investors admitted under the now defunct immigrant investor program, critics say.

Ian Young, a South China Morning Post journalist based in Vancouver, crunched the numbers with data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Canada seeks 50 millionaire immigrant investors under pilot program

Only a small proportion of the immigrant investors who have come to Canada under the program since 1980 end up staying here, Young said, again relying on numbers from the federal government.

“After five years, only 39 per cent of investor immigrants declared any income. Not only that, those who did, their average incomes were very low,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The Current on Friday.

Not much Canadian income

They may have been millionaires, but they were earning very little money here in Canada. Immigrant investors declared about $18,000 to $25,000 of income annually, he said.

“Why? Either because they were living off existing wealth, or they weren’t declaring their [global] incomes,” Young said.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/refugees-pay-more-income-tax-than-millionaire-investor-immigrants-1.2984982?cmp=rss

Michigan wants 50,000 visas to bring immigrants to Detroit

By Joseph Lichterman

DETROIT, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Thursday called for the U.S. government to set aside 50,000 special visas over the next five years to attract highly skilled immigrants to live and work in the bankrupt city of Detroit.

Read more » Reuters
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSL2N0KX1VP20140124?irpc=932

CBC – Canadian quality of life hammered by recession

Index shows turnaround in GDP growth no boost to quality of life

Canada’s economy may well be muddling through, but on a more personal level, Canadians generally are not, a new study of well-being suggests.

The Canadian Well-being Index, led by researchers at the University of Waterloo, shows that quality of life in Canada deteriorated by 24 per cent between the onset of recession in 2008 and 2010.

Canada’s main economic indicator, gross domestic product, only declined by about 8.3 per cent over the same period and began to make a turnaround by the end of 2010. ….

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/10/23/well-being-index-canadians.html

An Irish engagement with the Greek crisis

To the crucible: an Irish engagement with the Greek crisis and the Greek left

By Helena Sheehan

January 21, 2013 — Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the author’s suggestion and with her permission — A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy. The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.

Greece is the crucible.1 It is a caldron where concentrated forces are colliding in a process that will bring forth either a reconfiguration of capitalism or the dawn of its demise.

Salaries, pensions, public services are falling, while prices and taxes are rising. Massive asset stripping is underway. Water, power, ports, islands, public buildings are for sale. Unemployment, emigration and evictions have brought a sense of a society unraveling. Homeless people wander the streets and scavenge for food in bins or beg it from the plates of those eating in tavernas. If they are immigrants, they are terrorised. Those looking into a horizon without hope either drift into desolation or perform the ultimate decisive act of suicide. Some have done so in private spaces, while others have chosen public places to underline the political nature of their fate, as they jump from heights, set themselves on fire or shoot themselves. In April 2012, Dimitris Christoulas, a retired pharmacist, who felt he could no longer live a dignified life after his pension had been slashed, shot himself in front of parliament. His last words were: “I am not committing suicide. They are killing me.” He urged younger people to fight.

Continue reading An Irish engagement with the Greek crisis

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading Who wants to divide Sindh?

Kuwait visa restrictions for Pakistanis

THERE is a total ban on all types of visas for Pakistanis in Kuwait. The ban, imposed on nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, includes suspending all tourism, visit and trade visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses.

It is indeed the prerogative of the Kuwaiti government to hire immigrant workers from any country. However Pakistanis already working in Kuwait must be governed by laws so as not to put them under additional emotional stress, resulting from forced separation from their families.

Continue reading Kuwait visa restrictions for Pakistanis

What’s being said about Muslims in the West is what was once said about Catholics & Jews in 19th & early 20th century

Popular anti-Muslim myths busted in new book

By Haroon Siddiqui

It started “in the far reaches of the Internet and the mutterings of the political right, then in increasingly mainstream and mass-market venues” and has since entered “the central corridors of European and American politics.”

So writes Doug Saunders in The Myth of the Muslim Tide (Alfred Knopf Canada), to be released next week. He is the European bureau chief of the Globe and Mail, and author of the much-acclaimed Arrival City (about the sprawling slums of Mumbai, Rio, London, Paris, Chongqing, Los Angeles, etc. — the first stop in the mass migration of millions from rural to urban areas).

Saunders was living in the U.S. during the Sept. 11 attacks and in London during the July 7, 2005, subway bombing. He has reported extensively on the war on terror and on Islamophobia in Europe.

Continue reading What’s being said about Muslims in the West is what was once said about Catholics & Jews in 19th & early 20th century

Greece: Amnesty International slams migrant roundups, says detained face ‘inhumane’ conditions

By Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece — Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Greek authorities to stop mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants, arguing that police are treating law-abiding foreigners like criminals and subjecting thousands of detained persons to “degrading and inhumane” conditions.

The London-based group said Wednesday that legitimate asylum seekers were being denied proper assistance and that police were stopping and detaining suspects based on skin color. ….

Read more » The Washington Post

Israel and its black immigrants

Israel and its black immigrants

Keep out – Racial tension is rising as black asylum-seekers pour in

TEL AVIV – ON MAY 28th it was the turn of Yorusalem Mestun, a 22-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker in hot-pants. Five young Israelis smashed the glass door of her internet café and pulled a knife on her, while her Jewish neighbours looked on. The police came, checked her visa and left without, she said, offering help or sympathy.

Attacks on Israel’s fast-growing population of African asylum-seekers, mainly from South Sudan and Eritrea, are rising. Hundreds of Jews led by settlers from the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to create their state, recently marched through districts of south Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, where black immigrants proliferate, chanting “Africans Out!” Pumped up with angry excitement, the middle-aged chef of a fast-food shop, in HaTikva, a working-class district where migrants are also settling in large numbers, offers passers-by “grilled kushi”, provocatively meaning “grilled blacks”, and suggests getting rid of the immigrants by throwing grenades at their tenements. In recent weeks, several homes and a kindergarten for Africans have been firebombed.

Liberal Israelis have staged anti-racist rallies. A generation after their arrival, over 120,000 Ethiopian Jews have been integrated. The country has received an estimated 60,000 black asylum-seekers. It is not the first to struggle when large numbers of people suddenly arrive.

On May 29th the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland. He said he shared the rioters’ pain and promised to solve the problem by completing a wall along the border with Egypt. He said he would also build the world’s largest detention centre—and deport all those within, starting with the South Sudanese.

Until 2009 the 15,000 or so asylum-seekers entering via Sinai every year were banned from coming within a radius of 30km (19 miles) of Tel Aviv. Since the government revoked that order, the security forces, after catching immigrants crossing, verify their identity and then pack them off to Tel Aviv. Scores of destitute new arrivals bed down every night in a park near the main bus station.

Continue reading Israel and its black immigrants

Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

A clique of hoodlums, urchins and loafers came out on streets of some wild gang-infested areas of Karachi, the bustling capital city and business-centre of Sindh. These nefarious and abominable elements gathered in groups, pasted and posted some slogans and posters on the walls of shops and houses and raised shrill slogans for the creation of a ‘Muhajir’ province. No Sir, it is not me who call them ‘Muhajirs,’ they themselves, call ‘Muhajirs,’ meaning ‘refugees’.

These belonged to a hitherto unknown wicked fraternity known as “Mohajir Sooba Tehrik (MST), which translated in simple English means, “Refugee Province Movement.” Is there any such parallel example anywhere in the world, where the ‘refugees,’conquer and demand a separate state within a state for themselves?

The numerous nations that formed a Federation of Pakistan were Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Seraiki, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Each of these nations had their own language, culture, heritage, history, arts, music, norms, traditions and historical land.

Millions of innocent lives were lost during unfortunate partition of the sub-continent of south Asia and then the urdu Language was imposed as a national language on the Nations who had formed the federation of Pakistan. This created restlessness in Bengal and after sacrificing millions of innocent lives on the question of language, Bengal became Bangladesh, a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation – free from unfair  rule of the security establishment of the deep state . Today, Balochistan is on the same path which was taken by East Pakistan (Banglades) yesterday. The security establishment of the deep state continuously working on its policies with their subjugation of Sindh and Balochistan and trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs into minority in their historical lands.

Gullible Sindhis who gave them shelter on their historical land but unfortunately it seems that they had no respect whatsoever, Sindh gave them honour and dignity. Sindh accepted them as her own children! Sindh called them ‘Sindhis’ not ‘Muhajirs!’

65 years on – they still have not adopted the language of Sindh. They had never respected and appreciated the glorious and peace loving Sufi culture, norms and traditions of Sindh.  They are remain thankless, ungrateful, unappreciative towards Sindh and calling themselves ‘Muhajirs’ and asking for the division of the land of Sindh which is providing them shelter and living.

Now, let me give a piece of advice to them: “Go read the glorious History of Sindh!” Many  conquerors entered in Sindh and each time the valiant sons of Sindh fought and sacrifice their lives for their beloved Motherland Sindh and then those tyrannical invaders all left with their tails tucked. If any one doesn’t adopt Sindh and calling and think themselves as invaders then the Sindhis will really treat them and would play their historical role as sons of the soil and sacrifice their lives for the defense of their motherland.

The Indus civilisation is centuries old  and the borders of this glorious, illustrious and exalted land of Sindh are historical and inviolable! If any one tries to violate this sanctity of Sindh, or any other force including the conspirators of the deep state, then it will destabilize whole of the region! Therefore, the loyal and filial children of Motherland Sindh are reminding those individuals, “Don’t think about the division of Sindh because it is better for them not to do so.”

Continue reading Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

FACTS ARE FACTS – The Untold Story of India’s Partition. By WALI KHAN

Translation by Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed

Second Edition, November 2004

Excerpt;

[ page 194 & 195] … Pakistan was a different story. The Muslim League had taken no part in the country’s freedom. They never launched any movement or struggled for freedom. So engrossed were they in opposing the Congress Party that they sought British help in fulfilling their objective. The British were aware that in the whole of Pakistan there was only one organisation which had participated in the struggle against British imperialism, the Khudai Khidmatgars of the North West Frontier Province. The British and the Khudai Khidmatgars were naturally not kindly disposed towards each other. On these two scores, the MuslimLeague and the British were on common ground; therefore, whoever opposed the British, was also opposed to the Muslim League. Consequently, a Muslim League Government was expected to fall in line with the British, and would allow the British to use it in taking revenge on behalf of the allies. The British viewed Pakistan as a totally new country, which would take a while to stand on its own. For years to come the Government of Pakistan would have to look up to the British for assistance. Another reason for British complacency about Pakistan was that her rulers were not locally born, but had migrated from India. They were immigrants who did not have their roots in the new country. Their authority was derived from the Muslim League. Based on empirical evidence the British realised thatthe Muslim League could not acquire political power even inMuslim Punjab. It is axiomatic that if a political party is not properly organised and disciplined, the political power slips outof its hands and passes on to the bureaucracy. The Governmentof Pakistan did precisely what the British had expected them to do. Almost all key positions were given to the British. Whenthe names of the new Governors of the Provinces were announced, with the exception of Sind all the provinces hadBritish Governors: (1) Sir Frederick Bourne, East Bengal; (2)Sir Francis Mudie, Punjab; (3) Sir George Cunningham, NWFP; and (4) An Englishman as Agent in Baluchistan. Sir Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah was the only Pakistani, who was appointed the Governor of Sindh. This appointmentwas made because the capital of Sind was Karachi which alsohappened to be the capital of Pakistan. The Government Houseof Sind was occupied by Jinnah, the Governor-General of Pakistan. Therefore another residence had to be arranged for the Governor of Sindh!The British were appointed the Chiefs of the PakistanArmy, Air Force and Navy: (1) General Sir Frank Messervy,Commander-in-Chief, Army; (2) Air Vice-Marshal Perry Keane, Chief of Air Force; and (3) Rear Admiral Jefford, Chief of Naval Staff …

[page 199] It is curious logic that when we participated in thestruggle for freedom with the Congress against the British rule, the gutless Muslim League leaders used to taunt us by calling us the children of the Hindus. Now when the Hindus have left behind properties worth crores of rupees, those very leaders are the first to arrive, take possession of them, and assert their right on them. ….

Courtesy: scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/73921691/Wali-Khan-s-Book-Facts-Are-Facts-The-Untold-Story-of-India-s-Partition-in-1947

Are we innocent?

by I. A. Rehman

THE carnage in Norway last Friday shocked the world’s conscience. It has also posed some extremely tough questions for European societies, the world’s Muslims in general, and the people of Pakistan in particular.

Europe will do itself and the world at large great injustice and harm if it dismisses the matter as the isolated work of a deranged mind. It must look deep into the factors that led to Anders Behring Breivik’s reliance on perverted intelligence.

The unpardonable doings of Al Qaeda, the other so-called jihadists and Muslim megalomaniacs have certainly contributed to the spread of Islamophobia in Europe and other parts of the western world, but it would be wrong to limit the list of culprits to them. It may be necessary to probe the extent to which the tone and tenor of the war on terror may have contributed to the growth of both militancy in parts of the Muslim world and reckless Muslim-bashing in the West. The idea is not to shift blame from one party to another, it is only a plea for keeping the indigenous sources of terrorism in Europe also in mind.

The world cannot possibly forget the rise of European fascism that built its power by fanning racism and persecuting certain religious and ethnic communities (Jews and Blacks). Nazism is a disease many parts of Europe are still afflicted with. The Norwegian people themselves have had anxieties about neo-Nazi and other extreme-right gangs for more than a decade.

These facts make it necessary for European societies to take note of elements who may be exploiting the public sentiment against terrorists and immigrants to impose on them new and more horrible forms of right-wing tyranny.

The leaders of Islamic thought and Muslim public opinion on their part cannot shun reality by simply telling the Europeans to put their house in order. Nor can they get away by declaring that terrorists constitute a small minority among Islamic scholars and lay Muslims both, however true this statement may be. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Via → WICHAAR.COM

Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro

Excerpt:

…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.

Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….

….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.

Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….

….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.

This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….

….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….

…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …

… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …

Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.

The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.

Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …

… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …

… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.

The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …

… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …

To read full article :→ Marxist.com

Justice for Few

U.S. And Justice for Few – William Fisher

NEW YORK, 14 Dec (IPS) – Poor defendants on death row, immigrants in unfair deportation proceedings, torture victims, domestic violence survivors and victims of racial discrimination – all these groups are consistently being denied access to justice while those responsible for the abuses are protected, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Programme, told IPS, “Access to justice is a fundamental human right and bedrock tenet of American democratic system – it was even codified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. championed 62 years ago.”

“Unfortunately, access to the courts and effective remedy have been severely curtailed over the last decade, especially for those who need it most,” he said. “It is time for our government and judiciary to recommit to respecting and promoting this essential right.” …

Read more : ipsnorthamerica.net

The Sindhi society is not a hate society that dislikes others. Their opposition to mass migration towards Sindh is due to their natural desire to survive as a nation in their historic land

Washington Sindhis Get-together with Nazir Essani and Discussion on Sindhi Challenges

by: Khalid Hashmani

On June 12, 2009, several members of Sindhi community of the Washington D.C. area had a get-together with a visiting Sindhi Social Development consultant Mr. Nazir Essani at a local restaurant. Apart from customary introductions, the group had an excellent discussion session about the current situation in Sindh and the challenges that must be met by Sindhis to survive as a nation. Those who participated in the discussion included Nazir Jawaid Bhutto, Essani, Khalid Hashmani, Ali Nawaz Memon, Sarfraz Memon, Hanif Sangi, Aijaz Sindhi, and Iqbal Tareen.

Continue reading The Sindhi society is not a hate society that dislikes others. Their opposition to mass migration towards Sindh is due to their natural desire to survive as a nation in their historic land

Sindhis are standing at the verge of a deep hole

by Aijaz Sindhi

While Sindh has never been in easy situation during past 60 years, the current phase seems to be a defining moment for the Sindh, and Sindhis. She is in a terrible dilemma. In the absence of a unified national policy or strategy, the nationalist leadership is also in a quandary. They have to make the most difficult decisions of their life time. If they protest against the influx of population from Swat and Malakand, they are labeled as playing in the hands of MQM. If they stand still, and do nothing, they are causing the Sindhis to turn into a minority…

Sindhis are standing at the verge of a deep hole. We must come down from our ego driven positions, and start thinking about a long term and a short term objective strategy to get the Sindh out of the current situation.

What is our immediate objective, and how do we set our long term goals? One thing is for sure, and Sindhis must get this in their thought process, that is – Baloch Sardars have never, and do not seem to stand by Sindhis in the hour of their needs. Sindhis must address the problem of MQM, and ANP in the perspective of self interest. We must not be enslaved to our ego driven ideology. It is high time that we put the Sindh ahead of everything else.

In a world, where Jews and Palestinians have come to terms, and are willing to sit on the table, we need to and leave the options open to talk to our political adversaries as well. However, these talks must be qualified. We need to make an objective comparison between MQM and ANP in the greater interest of the Sindh, Pakistan and South Asia.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.

May 30, 2009

Status of Karachi

A Letter to Editor Dawn

By ABDUL KHALIQUE JUNEJO

THIS is apropos of Bina Shah’s article, ‘Who owns Karachi?’ (Sept 14). Earlier she had come on the columns of this paper with another question, ‘Who is a Sindhi?”

I fail to comprehend what compels her to bring under dispute such settled issues and put question mark over the future of a people who carry a glorious past of more than 5,000 years. Is she doing this with some objective in mind or out of sheer ignorance and/or innocence? She herself says: “I learned more about Karachi from Mr Yousif Dadabhoy’s letter than I have from all my years living in the city, to be honest”.

Honestly speaking, if she really wants to get answers to such important and serious questions, she should open the pages of history books, know more about the process of immigration, natural and unnatural, throughout the world and understand the political and economic interests/motives of the different power players therein.

She considers the city nazim of Karachi ‘forward-thinking and progressive’ and is very much impressed by his ‘My City My Responsibility’ programme, according to which “anyone can come forward and register himself or herself as a city owner. All one has to do is volunteer two hours of time per week doing something in the interest of the city”.

Her one question comes to mind immediately: is this the way of owning cities in the world, particularly the US to which Ms Shah refers so often? Can I go, whenever it suits me, to New York, Paris or London and become its owner by getting my name registered after doing two-hour work in the interest of the city?

And if giving two-hour time can make anyone the owner of Karachi, then what will happen to those who gave sweat and blood to build this city and have spent many generations here? The current nazim has initiated another programme, also called ‘Hamara Karachi, an annual festival, for the last few years. Here people from as far as Kolkata, Hyderabad Deccan and Mumbai are included but no Sindhi is invited.

The writer compares the ‘golden years’ of 40s and 50s of the ‘gem of Karachi’ with ‘today’s Karachi of guns, drugs, crime and filth’ with a sense of sadness.

I would only like to add here, for her knowledge, that this difference, in the exposure of Karachi, is the result of unlimited, uncontrolled, unregulated and free-for-all influx of people from different parts of the world facilitated by such policies as pursued by the sitting mayor.

Ms Shah has fallen prey to the tendency, nowadays being promoted by certain groups, of using such terms as carry serious repercussions for the unity and integrity of Sindh. For example, ‘urban Sindh’ ( and rural Sindh). Through this description the idea being promoted is that the urban Sindh belongs to non-Sindhis ( immigrants)and the native Sindhis occupy the rural Sindh.

The most important part of Ms Shah’s article is the one mentioning plans for picking Thatto as an option (alternative to Karachi)for ‘the disinfranchised population of the old goths of Karachi, as well as a restive interior youth who want to move from the rural to the urban areas of Sindh’.

Here a two-pronged policy is being pursued: ‘old villages’ are being uprooted and the people of ‘interior’ denied entry into the life of Karachi, while people from outside Sindh are being facilitated settlement in Karachi.

Courtesy & Thanks: Daily Dawn
http://dawn.com/2008/10/01/letted.htm