Tag Archives: Jinnah

The search for Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan

Sixty-five years after the death of its founding father, Pakistanis are still searching for Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s vision for the country – and a missing historical speech.

During much of its existence, Pakistanis have been encouraged to believe that Mr Jinnah created Pakistan in the name of Islam as a theocratic state.

Others have disagreed, arguing the founding father wanted a Muslim-majority but secular and progressive country.

The debate over the two competing and contradictory visions has intensified in recent years as the country reels from growing Islamic extremism and Taliban militancy.

At the heart of this debate are some public addresses of Mr Jinnah given around the time of the partition of India in 1947.

Transcripts of those addresses have been available in Pakistan.

Crucial speech

The archives of state-owned broadcaster, Radio Pakistan, also contain cranky old audio recordings of most of those speeches, except for one: his address to the Constituent Assembly in the port city of Karachi on 11 August 1947, three days before the creation of Pakistan.

Extract from 11 August 1947 speech –  If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.

I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish.

Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago.

No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this.

You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.

For liberals in Pakistan, it was a crucial speech in which Mr Jinnah spoke in the clearest possible terms of his dream that the country he was creating would be tolerant, inclusive and secular.

“You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan,” Jinnah declared. “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Continue reading The search for Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan

Re-imagining Pakistan

By Husain Haqqani

Almost every discussion of Pakistan, especially in India, inevitably tends to be about the logic and raison d’etre of the country’s creation.

The process of partitioning a sub-continent along religious lines did not prove as neat as Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah had anticipated. Mr. Jinnah was a lawyer who saw partition as a solution to potential constitutional problems in an independent India.

Pakistan must also overcome archaic notions of national security. Instead of viewing ourselves as a ‘warrior nation’ we should see ourselves as a ‘trading nation’ that can take advantage of our location for economic purposes.

In his first address to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 –exactly 67 years ago today – Mr. Jinnah had said: “I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of every one of us to loyally abide by it and honorably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all…. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done. A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it; but in my judgement there was no other solution, and I am sure future history will record its verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem.”

Armed with nuclear weapons Pakistan does not need to live in fear or insecurity. The state of insecurity fostered in Pakistan is psychological and should now be replaced with a logical self-confidence. Once pluralism and secularism are no longer dirty words in my country, and all national discussions need not be framed within the confines of an Islamist ideology, it will become easier for Pakistan to tackle the Jihadi menace.

It is clear from Mr. Jinnah’s statement that he only saw partition as a constitutional way out of a political stalemate, as he saw it, and not the beginning of a permanent state of hostility between two countries or two nations.

The first step in reimagining Pakistan would be to abandon the narrow ideological paradigm of Pakistani nationalism. Pakistan is here to stay and no one in the world wants it dismembered if it functions effectively as a responsible international citizen.

This explains his expectation that India and Pakistan would live side by side “like the United States and Canada,” obviously with open borders, free flow of ideas and free trade. It is also the reason why the Quaid-e-Azam insisted that his Malabar Hills house in Bombay be kept as it was so that he could return to the city where he lived most of his life after retiring as Governor-General of Pakistan.

We all know now that partition and the birth of Pakistan were not simply the end of an argument about constitutional options, as Mr. Jinnah had thought.

The entire country was plunged into communal violence, hundreds of thousands of people from both sides were butchered and millions had to flee their homes.

Instead of living as good neighbours like the United States and Canada, India and Pakistan have gone on to become adversaries in a state of constant war, a situation that has not benefitted either country but has damaged Pakistan even more.

Continue reading Re-imagining Pakistan

Jinnah made a mistake and I am ashamed of being Pakistani

By Mahwash Badar

Anyone who has ever travelled abroad will tell you that no matter where you go, no matter how developed the country it is that you’re travelling to – if you’re a British national or a Caucasian American, the doors become friendlier. The security becomes less pressurising. Visa queues are shorter. Procedures are simpler.

If you’re a brown Pakistani man (or even woman) who is travelling to another country – that’s a whole other story. You’re working in the Middle East, chances are your salary is just a little bit above the basic working wage – or anything that will get you a bed-space with seven other human beings. Respect is minimal. You’re not supposed to ruffle any feathers. Or demand for rights. Your children are thousands of miles away studying (because you can’t afford education for them here), your wife probably has another job to help make ends meet and your job squeezes every drop of your blood into a tiny container that helps build the skyscrapers and that little container is thrown away quicker than you can say ‘burj’, as soon as your company decides to say bye bye.

Pretty much the equivalent of… well, I don’t know. What is that the equivalent of? What analogy do I draw to represent the utter misery that is being a Pakistani in this super-power dominated world?

As if the current state of the country, what with its years of dictatorship and lack of infrastructure, hasn’t driven us insane enough, there is the added bonus of inviting religious extremists and letting them destroy everything we hold near and dear. Sure, apologists will reason it saying “this is not true Islam” and whatnot. But my question is when – seriously – when do we set aside the debate of what is true Islam and what isn’t?

Let the clerics and the religious scholars sit in their mosques and minibars – oh I meant minbars. But once and for all, eliminate and annihilate the savage, beastly, cowardly, immoral men who buy the bodies of fragile, poverty-stricken, desperate men, strap them with explosives and send them into markets with innocent women and children. Finish these abhorrent elements in the society that attempt to throw us back to the Stone Age.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/22231/jinnah-made-a-mistake-and-i-am-ashamed-of-being-pakistani/

What’s wrong with Pakistan?

By Peerzada Salman

KARACHI, Aug 16: A book titled ‘What’s wrong with Pakistan?’ written by eminent journalist Babar Ayaz was launched at a hotel on Friday.

The main feature of the event was an interesting discussion on the contents and genesis of the book with the writer anchored by journalists Asif Noorani and Amir Zia. Mr Ayaz was first requested to read out a couple of passages from What’s wrong with Pakistan?

The author obliged and mentioned that at the beginning of every journalist’s career he’s asked to learn about the five Ws (what, where, when, who and why). Citing examples of the likes of political economist Adam Smith and economist and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, he pointed out they studied why society behaved in a particular way.

He said he had read many books on the topic he chose to write on but had found out that those books shied away from calling a spade a spade. His was an attempt to call a spade a spade. He then read out passages from the preface to the book in which he touched upon issues such as distrust between institutions and provinces, military operations, war on terror and the notion of a failing state espoused by certain writers. He said there was a need to have an unbiased and dispassionate diagnosis. He argued Pakistan was born with a genetic defect.

After the reading was over, Mr Noorani asked the writer about why he penned a book at such a later stage in his life. The author replied that when he was a young student in Sukkur, he was required to read Shakespeare. It made him think to himself that Shakespeare would not have even imagined that one day his work would be read in a place called Sukkur. This meant writing helped you live on. Mr Ayaz said he was not in favour of compiling his newspaper columns into a book. The fact that Syed Sibte Hasan began writing after he turned 60 proved an encouraging factor as well.

Continue reading What’s wrong with Pakistan?

The vision we lost

JinnahBy Mahir Ali

A COUPLE of months ago, it was reported that the ambulance conveying Nelson Mandela from Johannesburg to a hospital in Pretoria had broken down, entailing a 40-minute wait before he could be transferred to another ambulance amid the bitter chill.

The unfortunate event was inevitably reminiscent of a September afternoon many decades earlier when another founding father faced a similar predicament on the streets of Karachi. The weather was vastly different, though. And the consequences considerably more dire.

Pakistan was not yet even a year old when Mohammed Ali Jinnah lapsed into the fatal stage of his ailment, which remained something of a state secret unto the end. By the time Lieutenant-Colonel Ilahi Bakhsh, the principal of Lahore’s King Edward Medical College, was summoned to Jinnah’s bedside in Ziarat in late July 1948, it was already too late.

In a slim volume titled With the Quaid-e-Azam During His Last Days, based on a diary he kept during the time, Dr Ilahi Bakhsh says had a course of treatment been launched considerably earlier, the prognosis would likely have been notably better. Jinnah initially responded well to medication and an improved diet, but the will to live eventually seeped out of him.

He was reluctant to heed his doctors’ advice to move from Ziarat to Quetta on the eve of the first anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, but eventually gave in. The shift was predicated by Ziarat’s elevation, and the doctors felt Karachi would be even more conducive from the medical point of view, but Jinnah was extremely reluctant to return to the governor-general’s official residence as an invalid.

By the time he agreed, he was probably well aware that his hours were numbered. Minutes before he breathed his last, he responded to Dr Ilahi Bakhsh’s reassurance that “God willing, you are going to live” with a faint but seemingly unequivocal “No, I am not”.

In Quetta a couple of weeks earlier, he had shocked the good doctor by confiding in him: “You know, when you first came to Ziarat I wanted to live. Now, however, it does not matter whether I live or die.”

“I noticed,” Dr Ilahi Bakhsh writes, “tears in his eyes, and was startled by this manifestation of feeling in one generally looked upon as unemotional and unbending. I could not, moreover, account for his dejection at a time when he had been making excellent progress in all respects, and ventured to seek enlightenment from him.

“The explanation he offered was that he had completed his job, but I found it enigmatic and evasive. Was his job incomplete five weeks ago, and had he done something in the meanwhile which had given him a sense of fulfilment? I could not help feeling that something had happened which undermined his will to live.”

In his preface to the 2011 Oxford University Press edition of the treatise, the doctor’s son, Nasir Ilahi, notes that “based on information available” to his elder brother, Humayun, “there was an initial version of this book which the author had submitted to the Pakistan government for review … but which regrettably does not exist any longer.

“The author was required to delete certain passages from the book as they were considered to be politically inappropriate and sensitive. Essentially, these included, inter alia, information … which suggested that the patient was unhappy after some difficult meetings with his close political allies who he felt were departing from the cardinal concepts of the state of Pakistan that he had begun to visualise…

Continue reading The vision we lost

`Bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` – 2

By Ardeshir CowasjeeJinnah

There has to be something seriously wrong with a country in which many of its citizens are still arguing as to whether it should or should not have been made, or debating as to whether it came into being by accident, intent, design or even intrigue. All possible accusations have been levied against the logic of Pakistan`s making.

The fact is that Pakistan exists and has existed for 62 years — in what shape is quite another matter. Arguments on that score will never cease, and they should not as it failed initially to take off in the right direction.

A valid argument has been made by a few of the many who responded to last week`s column against the exhortation `bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` — that we should be looking and moving forwards rather than retreating.

Continue reading `Bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` – 2

Jinnah Institute resolution: Pakistan, India experts spell out peace steps

By Maha Mussadaq

ISLAMABAD: A draft resolution on peace recommendations for India and Pakistan through trade and other measures were presented by former ambassador Sherry Rehman at Jinnah Institute’s 3rd Islamabad Dialogue which concluded on Friday.

As the two day Islamabad Dialogue came to an end, a number of Indian analysts and Pakistani experts on the region united for a successful dialogue.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/573228/jinnah-institute-resolution-pakistan-india-experts-spell-out-peace-steps/

Secular Jinnah & Pakistan

Jinnah“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.” ~ Founder of Pakistan, M.A. Jinnah, Speech at Muslim University Union, Aligarh 10, March 1944

“We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of social justice could find free play.” ~ Founder of Pakistan, M.A. Jinnah

Two Nations Theory: From its cradle to the grave

Iqbal Tareen delivers keynote speech at the first Anniversary of Shaheed Bashir Khan Qureshi held in New York on April 6, 2013. This event was hosted by Sindhi Academic and Cultural Association of North America.

Topics covered:

1. Two Nations Theory: From its cradle to the grave

2. GM Syed and Pakistan Resolution in 1938-40 – intent to create United Nations of Pakistan

3. Jinnah’s arguments refuted

4. Individual and national freedoms

5. Empowerment of women a must to free a nation

6. Nation of Sindh defined

7. An inclusive vision of new Nation of Sindh

8. Separation of State and religion – a must for progressive and tolerant national transformation

Sarabjit Singh dies at Pakistan’s Jinnah hospital

LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD: Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a Lahore hospital late on Wednesday night after being comatose for six days following a brutal assault by other inmates of a high-security jail, officials said.

“I received a call from the doctor on duty (at Jinnah Hospital) at 1 am (1:30 IST) informing me that Sarabjit is no more,” Mahmood Shaukat, the head of a medical board that was supervising Sarabjit’s treatment, said.

Officials of the Indian high commission in Islamabad said they had been informed by officials of Jinnah Hospital about Sarabjit’s death.

Shaukat said authorities were yet to decide on conducting an autopsy of Sarabjit’s body.

Asked whether the autopsy would be done after getting permission from the government, he said: “At the moment I have no idea.”

No decision had been made about handing over the body to Sarabjit’s kin or to Indian authorities, he said.

“These matters will be worked out according to the directions from the government,” he said.

Earlier in the day, official sources in Lahore had said Sarabjit had slipped into a “non-reversible” coma and this could lead to “brain death”.

His measurements on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which indicates the levels of consciousness and damage to a person’s central nervous system, had dropped to a “critical level”, the sources said.

Sarabjit’s heart was beating “but without brain function” because of the extensive head injuries he sustained when he was assaulted on Friday, a source said.

Sarabjit was completely unresponsive and unable to breathe without ventilator support.

Continue reading Sarabjit Singh dies at Pakistan’s Jinnah hospital

If a Shia, you are on your own

By Ejaz Haider

Let me make it simple: if you are a Shia in Pakistan, you are on your own. This fact I state for the benefit of all those citizens of this country, Shia and Sunni, who are grieving the slow demise of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and expecting that the tide could be reversed through state action.

Now for the longer answer.

There is no doubt about who is killing the Shia. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has repeatedly taken responsibility for it. Its captured terrorists have often stated before courts that they have killed Shias and, given the opportunity, will do it again. The identity of the killers is a settled issue.

Nota Bene: The issue of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the funding to Sunni extremist groups and whatever is left of Shia extremists, and circumstantial evidence of indirect involvement of hostile agencies is important but peripheral to the main issue, i.e., the terrorists are Pakistanis and killing on the basis of centuries-old denominational differences. The current murderous spree, of course, has a modern political and geopolitical context.

A more relevant question is: if the group that is involved in these killings has not only been ID-ed but IDs itself, what is stopping the state from acting against it, and effectively?

This is where the problem begins.

The LeJ was begotten from the dark womb of the Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP, banned by Pervez Musharraf, has reincarnated itself as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. It has a certain political presence. It is technically not the LeJ, even as de facto it is. LeJ terrorists, along with the hardline splinter group of Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), have over the last five years, come to form the backbone of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conglomerate. The TTP is an entity that political parties now — the ANP included (in desperation) — want to talk to, even as the state considers the LeJ a terrorist entity.

So while the LeJ is a terrorist organisation providing manpower to the TTP, the state is being pressured to talk to the latter and give it the legitimacy of an insurgent group.

But this is not all. In Punjab, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in talks over seat adjustment with the ASWJ, the Dr Jekyll to its Edward Hyde, the LeJ. Leaving aside the PML-N’s petty lying about the issue, it is a fact that it wants to placate the LeJ through a dangerous liaison with the ASWJ. The general impression is that this is being done to win votes. That’s only partially true. The primary reason is that the PML-N doesn’t want mayhem in Punjab, its central vote bank, where it wants to win and win big through a lot of development work (even if lopsided) by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Continue reading If a Shia, you are on your own

“INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

By Dr. Ali Gul Metlo

The linguistic issue has been haunting Pakistan since its very beginning. The grave error was made by none other than the founder of the country Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah himself by declaring Urdu as the national language before a very charged Bengali audience in Dhaka. Ignoring all the native languages over an alien language to the newly formed realm of Pakistan. He and the rulers after him failed to comprehend the very strong Bengali sentiment and other ethnicities sentiments for their mother tongues and their cultural affinities. The edifice which was built on wrong foundations only made further divisions with the time. Instead of heeding to the demands for rightful status of native languages, the biased and visionless rulers of the newborn country were aiming to appease the Indians who were considering Urdu to be just an alias of their Hindi language with a different script. With this background a sane voice was made aloud.

In 1999 UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

On 9th February 1951, Sir Sultan Agha Khan while addressing a session of Motamer al-Alam-al-Islamiyya in Karachi, said ‘’Your choice in Pakistan of Urdu will in no way ameliorate or help your relations with your neighbour, nor will it help the Muslim minorities there in any conceivable way. Howsoever you may add Arabic and Persian words to Urdu, there is no denying the fact that the syntax, the form, the fundamentals of the language are derived from Hindi and not from Arabic.’’

He further argued: ‘’Is it a natural and national language of the present population of Pakistan? Is it the language of Bengal where the majority of Muslims live? Is it what you hear in the streets of Dacca or Chittagong? Is it the language of the North West Frontier? Is it the language of Sindh? Is it the language of the Punjab? Certainly after the fall of the Moghal Empire, the Muslims and Hindus of certain areas found in it a common bond. But now today other forms of bridges must be found for mutual understanding.’’

Pointing to its history Sir Agha Khan said: ‘’Who were the creators of Urdu? What are the origins of Urdu? Where did it come from? The camp followers, the vast Hindi-speaking population attached to the Imperial Court who adapted, as they went along, more Arabic and Persian words into the syntax of their own language just as in later days the English words such as glass and cup became part of a new form of Urdu called Hindustani. Are you going to make the language of the Camp, or of the Court, the national language of your new-born realm?’’

The Agha Khan’s advice fell on deaf ears and visionless rulers who were unable to take its notice. However the language movement in Bengal grew steadily. Instead of correcting the policy the government outlawed the protests and resorted to violence in Bengal. It was 21 February, 1952 when the peaceful protesters in Dhaka University were fired upon resulting in numerous killings. The sacrifices made by Dhaka University students became an icon not only for the Bengali language but also for the disadvantaged languages of the whole world with the passage of time. The February 21, was ultimately proclaimed to be as the International Mother Language Day in November 1999 by UN.

The day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Learning from the 21 February 1952 incident in Dhaka, the world made it a point to ameliorate the linguistic problems globally, whereas in Pakistan the situation went worse with the time and lead to disaster after disaster, the biggest one world witnessed was on 16 December 1971 in the breakup of the country.

In Sindh where Sindhi language was in very well advanced position as compared to other languages of West Pakistan suffered the most. Long before the partition, Sindhi was the official language and medium of education. Historically very rich and having literally dynamic traditions. These were the very reasons Sindhi was targeted ruthlessly as soon as Pakistan came to being. Its cities which were booming with cultural and economic activities were vacated through state sponsored violence and imposing black laws. City of Karachi was detached from Sindh. Capital of Sindh was shifted to Hyderabad.

Hundreds of Sindhi medium schools were closed, its use in offices and courts was banned, radio Pakistan stopped broadcasting Sindhi music and other programmes in Sindhi etc. Then came the one unit in 1955 when Sindhi was completely declared an outcaste. Sindhi literary activities and publications were declared anti state. Even postal letters bearing word Sindh were not delivered. Sindh striked back and reacted with extreme anger and full vigour in 1960s, by abruptly challenging the multiple socio-cultural, linguistic, political and economic blows and shocks of last two decades. Resulting in the birth and rapid rise of modern Sindhi patriotism.

The linguistic issue in Pakistan has been intricately knotted with the cultural, socio economic and democratic rights of the people. Languages bring people closer and bring about socio economic and political harmony. This natural cementing element was callously suppressed to serve and to further the vested interest of an insignificant alien minority. Without acknowledging linguistic rights economic, political and human rights are inconceivable. Under the cover of making Urdu as so called national language the jobs, politico-economic and cultural rights were usurped with a trickery and fraud by this well established and experienced clique. The struggle continued against these excesses by the deprived and excluded sections of masses. One Unit was undone. Bengalis achieved independence at the cost of massive human tragedy.

Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

IndoPakPeaceNOW Global Vigil Jan 27, 2013

Initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)

Confirmed venues and times so far:

Bradford: 2-3 pm, Student Central, J.B. Priestly Library, University of Bradford, U.K.

Cambridge, MA: 4.30-5.30 pm, Harvard Square Pit (fb event link)

Islamabad: 6 pm, Press Club, F-6/4. Contact 0344-5469738 and 0300-9880397

Karachi: 5.30 pm, Karachi Press Club

Lahore: 6 pm, Lahore Press Club, Shimla Pihari (fb event link)

Los Angeles – 5 pm, in front of UCLA

Mumbai: 7 pm, Gateway of India

New Delhi: 5.30 pm, Gandhi Peace Foundation, email aaghazedosti@gmail.com

New York: 5 PM at Union Square near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue

Shahdadkot- 5 pm, Press Club

Toronto: 5 pm, 365 Bloor St. East, Toronto (outside Indian Consulate) (fb event link)

Washington DC: 6 pm, Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, VA

Kansas City: 5:30-7:30 at Kababesh Grill, Overland Park

Courtesy:  via Facebook

When Pakistan will be revived in true letter and spirit of Jinnah’s Pakistan?

JinnahBy Dr. Saif Ur Rehman

The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, wanted Pakistan to be a moderate secular state.

On 11th August 1947, Founder of Pakistan addressed constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He said “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The Constitution of Pakistan provides for fundamental rights. It is clearly written in article 25(1) of constitution of Pakistan that All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. And it was the guaranteer for inter-faith harmony among all religions and sects.

But things were changed, in the 1980s clauses were added to the laws by the military government of dictator General Zia-ul Haq.

As those laws were not legislated by elected representatives of the people of Pakistan, so when she was prime minister, Benazir Bhutto tried to change the blasphemy law because it was being used to terrorise religious minorities, but she couldn’t succeed. She was able to make the existing law more moderate but those changes were reversed by the government of Nawaz Sharif later on.

In the name of the religion, there have been serious human rights violations since the 1973 Constitution were changed to accommodate amendements in the name of blasphemy. This has made the lives of members of minority communities miserable.

Vested interests have made the most of these draconian laws in the wake of personal hatred and killed many an innocent person in the name of blasphemy. There is a need to redo the law, removing the draconian clauses so that no vested interest should be able to exploit the law.

In January 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer – a prominent critic of the law- he advocated to repeal these draconian laws and he was assassinated by his bodyguard. The assassination divided Pakistan, with some hailing his killer as a hero. In March 2011 Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead in Islamabad, he was also critic of the law and demanded to repeal it.

Shaheed Salmaan Taseer stood for minorities’ rights to review court’s verdict in the case of Asia Bibi, but he was martyred by a religious fanatic and it was a black day in the history of Pakistan when people in northern Punjab, especially in Rawalpindi, celebrated martyrdom of great leader of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet, was also assassinated on 2 March 2011. Both leaders never committed blasphemy but were killed brutally.

Continue reading When Pakistan will be revived in true letter and spirit of Jinnah’s Pakistan?

A country lost

By: Cyril Almeida

IT began with the flag. A strip of white slapped on, but separate and away from the sea of green — the problem was there from the very outset: one group cast aside from the rest.

A more prescient mind would have thought to put the white in the middle, enscon-ced in a sea of green, a symbolic embrace of the other.

But why blame the flag?

It began with the founding theory.

A country created for Muslims but not in the name of Islam. Try selling that distinction to your average Pakistani in 2012. 1947 was another country and it still found few takers.

Pakistan’s dirty little secret isn’t its treatment of non-Muslims or Shias or the sundry other groups who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the rabid and the religious. Pakistan’s dirty little secret is that everyone is a minority.

It begins with Muslim and non-Muslim: 97 per cent and the hapless and helpless three. But soon enough, the sectarian divide kicks in: Shia and Sunni. There’s another 20 per cent erased from the majority.

Next, the intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafi and the Ahl-e-Hadith. Seventy per cent of Pakistan may be Hanafi, five per cent Ahl-e-Hadith.

Then the intra-intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafis split between the growing Deobandis and the more static Barelvis.

And finally, within the 40 per cent or so that comprise Barelvis in Pakistan, there’s the different orders: the numerous Chishtis, the more conservative Naqshbandis and the microscopic Qadris.

In Pakistan, there is no majority.

There’s the terror that every minority lives in: non-Muslim from Muslim, Shia from Sunni, Barelvi from Wahabi, secular Sunni from rabid Barelvi — the future is now and it is bleak.

Some mourn the passing of Jinnah’s vision and seek solace in his Aug 11 speech. But there never was an Aug 11 version of Pakistan: it was stillborn, killed off by the religious right as soon as it was articulated.

Continue reading A country lost

The Talibanisation of Society in Pakistan

Abandoned by their government, the poor of Pakistan have turned to the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups for support and solace. At the same time, a growing pressure for emancipation presses against fundamentalism. Which force will triumph? A report based on travel in rural Sindh.

By: Jan Breman (J.C.Breman@uva.nl) is professor emeritus at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In her prison cell, Asia Bibi is waiting since 2010 for execution of the verdict brought against her. Blasphemy is the crime she has been accused of and for that gravest of sins the penalty is to be hanged. Why and how was she found guilty?

Asia Bibi is an agricultural labourer in Punjab, illiterate, mother of small children and Christian. When at work in the field as part of a female gang, she went to fetch water to drink and passed around the jug to her fellow workers. A few of them refused, saying that having touched her mouth, the spout had become unclean. Asia belongs to a low caste of Hindu origin that has been converted to Christianity. This attempt to escape from the stigma of untouchability has not ended the discrimination to which she is subjected.

Continue reading The Talibanisation of Society in Pakistan

Migration not solution for Sindhi Hindus

By: Kapil Dev

Some 65 years ago, Muhammad Ali Jinnah made a historic speech to the first Constituent Assembly, which was being presided over by none other than a scheduled caste Hindu, Jogendra Nath Mandal, also the first law minister of Pakistan, which many of us perhaps don’t know. Jinnah’s words ‘You are free; you are free to go your worship places. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state’ often reverberate in our ears on this day. It won’t be wrong to say that a person belonging to religious minority, be it a Christian, Hindu or Parsi, has crammed these historic words just to quote and justify their existence here and they rightly do so. In fact these words are an epitome of Jinnah’s vision of secular Pakistan which was hijacked soon after his death by right wing mullahs.

Continue reading Migration not solution for Sindhi Hindus

Karachi violence: At least 18 killed within 24 hours

 

KARACHI: As the spate of unrest continues in the city, at least 18 people have been killed within 24 hours due to firing and other incidences of violence, Express News reported on Sunday.

A political activist was shot dead by unknown armed men in the New Karachi area, while a body of another activist was found in the Shirin Jinnah Colony. Two others, also belonging to a political party, were injured in Korangi.

Continue reading Karachi violence: At least 18 killed within 24 hours

The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

Continue reading The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

Kuldip Nayar’s new book on Jinnah, Shastri, Nehru India & Pakistan

Jinnah amputated India and inflicted a permanent bleeding wound on a 5,000-year old border less society, turning friendly neighbours into cannibalistic monsters, hellbent on feeding frenzy over each other’s corpses.

More » Out Look

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281456#.T-8SOS96nz0.facebook

Via – TK’s facebook page

What’s Wrong with Pakistan?

Why geography — unfortunately — is destiny for South Asia’s troubled heartland.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Perversity characterizes Pakistan. Only the worst African hellholes, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Iraq rank higher on this year’s Failed States Index. The country is run by a military obsessed with — and, for decades, invested in — the conflict with India, and by a civilian elite that steals all it can and pays almost no taxes. But despite an overbearing military, tribes “defined by a near-universal male participation in organized violence,” as the late European anthropologist Ernest Gellner put it, dominate massive swaths of territory. The absence of the state makes for 20-hour daily electricity blackouts and an almost nonexistent education system in many areas.

Separate the religion from the State – the Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been lanched in Sindh

FSP for a secular Pakistan

KARACHI: The Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been constituted by liberal progressive social activists and like-minded people to struggle for a secular Pakistan.

This was announced by FSP President Iqbal Haider at a press conference held at Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Sunday.

Journalist Zubaida Mustafa, chief guest Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari, Vice President of forum Hasil Bizenjo, KPC President Tahir Hassan Khan and others were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the press conference, Iqbal Haider said that Pakistan’s critical situation was just because of us forgetting the principles laid down by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said that FSP was a national forum being supported by people throughout the country. Secular system in Pakistan can change the situation of the country, he said adding that people from Sindh, Punjab, Azad Kashmir and other areas are being encouraged to join the forum.

Haider said, “Non-Muslims also gave us an opportunity by joining the forum,” adding that Pakistan came into being on secular basis where all were supposed to have equal rights. Hasil Bizenjo said that time was ripe for the people to consider secular system seriously. He said that secularism was a part of various parties’ manifestoes in 1970s, but eliminated later on, giving rise to extremism. People, who termed secular system as Kufr, favour it in India, he said. He further added that they would try to promote secular system through the forum. Earlier, Haider read the declaration of the forum in which he also quoted speeches of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20126\18\story_18-6-2012_pg7_18

Interlude in Brown?

by Omar Ali

Pakistan’s existing political and administrative system is based almost entirely on Western models. but the official national ideology is ambivalent or even hostile to Western civilization and its innovations. In the past this was less of a problem since “national ideology” was not very well developed (Jinnah himself was famously confused about what he wanted and while the Muslim League used Islamist slogans freely during the Pakistan movement, a number of its leaders and ideologues were happy to go along with vaguely left wing justifications for the state once they were comfortably in power after partition), but  ever since the time of General Zia, there has been a steady push to establish a particular Islamist version of Pakistani nationalism as the default setting. The process has not gone entirely smoothly and significant sections of the super-elite  intelligentsia remain wedded to Western left-liberal (and more rarely, frankly capitalist/”neo-liberal”)) ideologies while the deeper thinking Islamists tend towards Salafism, but it has gone further in the emerging middle class and within the armed forces. There, a superficially Islamist, hypernationalist vision has taken root and can be seen in its purest form on various “Paknationalist” websites.
This “paknationalism” is an extremely shallow and rather unstable construct. It is not classically Islamist but it regards Islam as the main unifying principle and ideological foundation of the state. In practice, it is more about hating India (and our own Indian-ness) that it is about any recognizable orthodox form of Islam. It is also very close to 1930s fascism in its worship of uniforms, authority and cleansing violence. People outside Pakistan rarely take it too seriously and prefer to  get their versions of Pakistani nationalism from more liberal interpreters, but the “Paknationalists” are serious and one of these days, they are going to have a go at Pakistan if present suicidal trends persist in the civilian elite.  Their interlude may not last very long, but it is likely to be exceptionally violent and may end in catastrophe.

Read more: 3QuarksDaily

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/06/the-iron-guard-by-omar-ali.html#more

Who orchestrated the exodus of Sindhi Hindus after Partition?

By Haider Nizamani

Excerpts;

….. The lone source Ajmal sahib has cited is not a thoroughly researched book but a ‘polemical brochure’ written by the then-secretary of the Sindh Assembly Congress Party, PV Tahalramani, in November 1947 to persuade the Indian state to intervene in Sindh. Let’s look at the role the Sindhi leadership in the days immediately following Partition and compare it with the role of some key figures of the central government on the matter of anti-Hindu riots. Because of space constraints I will only briefly refer to the political leanings and the role of the Sindhi Hindu leadership of that time in facilitating the migration of Hindus from Sindh. The exodus of Hindus from Sindh cannot be seen in isolation from the influx of refugees in Sindh and the setting up of the central government of the newly-founded state of Pakistan in Karachi, Sindh.

Sindh’s governor, Francis Mundie, described Sindh in the days leading up to Partition as a place which “characteristically carries on almost as if nothing had happened or was about to happen”. It changed when, according to Hamida Khuhro, Karachi rapidly became “a vast refugee camp”, making Jinnah “extremely worried about the mass exchange of population which was taking place and the bloodshed that accompanied it…. In fact Jinnah told Ayub Khuhro, premier of Sindh, categorically that he expected to retain the minority communities in Pakistan. Khuhro fully agreed with Jinnah. Hindus, he felt, ‘were an essential part of the society and economy of the province’. The events took an ugly turn in Karachi and Hyderabad (where) the new arrivals were entering and occupying houses where the owners, particularly Hindus, were still living, and throwing out the owners”.

Congress leaders advised Hindus to leave Sindh which was viewed by the Sindhi Muslim leadership as a ploy to deprive Sindh of its merchants, bankers, and sanitation workers. According to Brown University’s associate professor of history Vazira Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007): Ayub Khuhro, the premier of Sindh, and other Sindhi leaders also attempted to retain Sindh’s minorities, for they also feared a loss of cultural identity with the Hindu exodus.” The Sindh government “attempted to use force to stem” the exodus “by passing the Sindh Maintenance of Public Safety Ordinance” in September 1947. On September 4, 1947 curfew had to be imposed in Nawabshah because of communal violence. It turned out that the policies of a local collector resulted in the exodus of a large Sikh community of Nawabshah to make room for an overflow of refugees from East Punjab. The Sindh government took stern action to suppress the violence.

The Sindh government set up a Peace Board comprising Hindu and Muslim members to maintain order in the troubled province. PV Tahilramani was secretary of the Peace Board. He is the one who rushed to Khuhro’s office on January 6, 1948, at around 11 am to inform the chief minister that the Sikhs in Guru Mandir areas of Karachi were being killed. According to Khuhro, senior bureaucrats and police officials were nowhere to be found and he rushed to the scene at around 12.30 pm where he saw “mobs of refugees armed with knives and sticks storming the temples”. Khuhro tried to stem the violence and Jinnah was pleased with his efforts.

The prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was angry with Khuhro when he went to see him on January 9 or 10. Liaquat said to Khuhro: “What sort of Muslim are you that you protect Hindus here when Muslims are being killed in India. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!In the third week of January 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan said the Sindh government must move out of Karachi and told Khuhro to “go make your capital in Hyderabad or somewhere else”. Liaquat said this during a cabinet meeting while Jinnah quietly listened. The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on February 10, 1948, against the Centre’s impending move to annex Karachi. The central government had already taken over the power to allotment houses in Karachi. Khuhro was forced to quit and Karachi was handed over to the Centre in April 1948.

The above facts made me write that the violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. I will happily withdraw my claim when furnished with the evidence to the contrary.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/388663/who-orchestrated-the-exodus-of-sindhi-hindus-after-partition/

Imran Khan is playing very dagerous game.

Imran, Allama and Pakistan ka matlab kiya

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Speaking at one of his rallies, Imran Khan asked “What slogan did Quaid-e-Azam use to make Pakistan?” and then answered his own question with “Pakistan ka matlab kiya? La illah ilallah”. The only problem is that this is a slogan that Quaid-e-Azam never used. In fact, in what could have been Jinnah addressing Imran Khan through space time continuum, we find that the founder of this state as having very clearly stated that Pakistan ka matlab kiya was not a slogan he ascribed to. Saad Khairi in his book “Jinnah Reinterpreted” recounts that a local leader of the Muslim League at the final meeting of the All India Muslim League said “Quaid-e-Azam, we have been promising our followers Pakistan Ka Matlab Kiya La illah ilallah” to which Jinnah angrily responded “Sit down. Neither I nor the working committee of the Muslim League have passed any resolution to the effect Pakistan ka matlab kiya. You might have done so to catch a few votes.”

Continue reading Imran Khan is playing very dagerous game.

Goodbye Pakistan Resolution, says JSQM chief

By Ammar Shahbazi

Karachi – As the nation celebrated the 72nd Pakistan Day with much enthusiasm across the country, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chairman Bashir Qureshi bade “farewell” to the 1940’s Pakistan Resolution and demanded independence for Sindh.

Speaking at a rally, which was, ironically, organised on M A Jinnah Road close to the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, Qureshi said that Sindh contributed 80 percent of revenue to the federal budget and the Sindhis had therefore the right to make their own decisions.

He said that “Punjab has usurped the resources of Sindh in the name of Pakistan [and Islam]” and that there was no country named Pakistan in history. “Pakistan is not a country and Pakistanis are not a nation.” The JSQM leader said that for the past 65 years “the Punjabis have usurped the resources of Sindh.”

The party had announced an “Azadi March” on the 8th of this month and since Friday morning activists of the party, carrying their red party flags on motorbikes, private cars and trucks, had been reaching the rally site from various part of the city.

The activists were shouting the party slogan: “Tunjho Desh, Munjho Desh, Sindhu Desh Sindhu Desh” on their way to the rally. The rally caused a major traffic jam on Sharea Faisal bringing vehicles to a standstill.

Addressing a crowd holding the party flags, the JSQM chief said that the he believed that the Urdu-speaking people were part of the Sindh nation and that “their future lies in Sindhu Desh”.

On the issue of Balochistan, he said that the largest province of the country deserved freedom from Punjab’s hegemony as did the province of Sindh. He said his party did not believe in violence.

Delving into history, he said that the British merged Sindh with Bombay. Warning the people of Sindh, he said that the “enemies always have had an eye on Sindh’s quota”. Qureshi also warned that projects like Zulfikarabad City were a conspiracy hatched against the people of Sindh to turn them into a minority in their own province.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-99166-Goodbye-Pakistan-Resolution-says-JSQM-chief

The many meanings of March 23

By: Haider Nizamani

AS always, March 23 will be celebrated by official ceremonies at home and abroad. Iqbal’s dream will get due mention as will the political acumen of those who passed the Lahore Resolution in 1940 calling for a separate country.

Rarely, though, do we hear about the actual contents of the historic resolution. The annual celebrations are routine, but voices calling attention to the contents drown in the din of fervent patriotism. Why is that the case?

The operative section of the resolution says: “no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the north-western and eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent States’ in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”

Present-day nationalists in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh, embrace the contents of the resolution. Sindhi nationalists argue that the contents of the 1940 resolution constitute key elements of the pledge on which Muslim-majority regions opted for Pakistan.

In their assessment, the 1940 resolution envisaged a country where the constituent units would be autonomous and sovereign. The All India Muslim League was able to secure the support of Muslim-majority regions by opposing the centralist platform of the Congress.

Some who had been supporters of the Muslim League at the time of the Lahore Resolution, such as G.M. Syed, later turned against the party and eventually against the country. Why did they switch from being pro-Pakistan to anti-Pakistan?

The official Pakistani reply accuses people such as G.M. Syed of working on the instructions of India to weaken Pakistan. In reality, the opposition concerned the handing down of a product that was markedly different from the one promised in the 1940 resolution.

Instead of autonomous units forming the union, what transpired was a highly centralised state that trampled on the rights of the provinces.

Continue reading The many meanings of March 23

Back to Syed: Sindhi nationalism & the Bhuttos

Back to G M Syed?

By Nadeem F. Paracha

Last week newspapers reported a series of bomb attacks on railway tracks in the Sindh province. The attacks were owned by an obscure organisation called the Sindhudesh Liberation Front. The name took a lot of non-Sindhis by surprise. Why would there be an angry Sindhi movement when there have already been two Sindhi prime ministers and, what’s more, a Sindhi president is currently at the helm of the federation?

However, according to Sindhi nationalists, the original architect of Sindhi nationalism, the late G M Syed, is back in vogue amongst the new generation of Sindhi nationalists. Back in the 1960s, G M Syed, an accomplished scholar and politician, painstakingly constructed an elaborate historical narrative of Sindh and its people. It presented Sindh as an ancient land whose people have always been one of the most pluralistic and secular under both Hindu as well as Muslim rule.

The narrative goes on to suggest that during the long Muslim rule in the region, Sindh’s pluralistic tradition was carried on by a number of Muslim mystics (Sufi saints) and have continued to demonstrate a passionate attachment to these mystics. Syed’s narratives on Sindh may now have become common knowledge to most Pakistanis, but this was not always the case.

In fact, just like Pashtun nationalist, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and many Baloch nationalist thinkers, Syed too was constantly put on the spot by the state for preaching ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-Islam’ ideas. Syed was a magnet for all sorts of ironies. During the Pakistan Movement he steadfastly stood with Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. But soon after independence, he became one of the first prominent men to decry the hegemony of the ‘Punjab-dominated elite’ over other provinces (Nations).

Another irony that Syed could never reconcile his politics with was the Bhutto phenomenon. Z A Bhutto, a Sindhi, and his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), experienced a sudden, meteoric rise (in the late 1960s) when Syed’s narrative had begun to take hold among Sindhi youth. Syed did not applaud Bhutto’s rise in spite of the fact that Bhutto was a Sindhi and a declared progressive.

Bhutto’s leftist but nationalistic rhetoric did not sit well with Syed. To Syed if one brushed off Bhutto’s leftist notions from the surface, underneath was a man willfully doing the bidding for the ‘Punjabi ruling elite’. Syed’s analysis had deemed Pakistan to be a state that was destined to fragment. And just like his Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali nationalist contemporaries, Syed too blamed the myopic view of the ruling elite for this.

He accused the civil and military members of the elite for undermining the cultural histories and traditions of the many ethnicities that resided in Pakistan. He accused them of undemocratically imposing upon the ‘oppressed ethnicities’ a cosmetic version of nationhood. Syed’s suspicion of Bhutto turned hostile when Bhutto used a constitutional process to reinforce the kind of nationhood and faith Syed had accused the establishment of imposing.

To Bhutto it was the dictatorial way that this concept of nationhood had been imposed that made East Pakistan break away and repulsed the non-Punjabi ethnicities. Syed disagreed. To him Bhutto was merely giving ‘Punjabi hegemony’ a constitutional sheen. In 1973 he finally called for an independent Sindh (Sindhudesh).

In April 1979 when, through a sham trial, the Ziaul Haq dictatorship sent Bhutto to the gallows, Syed termed Bhutto’s tragic demise as a great loss to the establishment. Mocking the establishment’s arrogance Syed remarked ‘today they (the establishment) have killed their own, best man.’

With Bhutto out of the way and a reactionary Punjabi general ruling the roost, did Syed finally make Sindhis rise for Sindhudesh?

No. Even though Sindhis did rise, especially during the 1983 MRD movement in which hundreds were killed and whole villages were razed to the ground by army tanks, Syed did not support the uprising.

This time another Bhutto had appeared, Benazir. To Syed here was another popular Sindhi who was willing to clean up yet another mess created by the establishment so the federation could be saved; a federation Syed had no hope in. Recently a young Sindhi (and PPP voter) told me that the ‘establishment’ has started playing a game in Sindh which even the PPP won’t be able to check.

On further inquiry he explained that some sections of the intelligence agencies believe that they can subdue Sindhi nationalism the way they did Pashtun nationalism and the way they are trying to suppress Baloch nationalism, i.e. by crudely injecting a puritanical strain of Islam into what are almost entirely secular nationalisms.

‘Look what has happened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, said the young Sindhi. ‘Look how sectarian organisations are roaming freely in Balochistan. They (the ‘agencies’) are now helping fanatics to build madressas in Sindh as well so that Syed Sain’s legacy and those of the Sufis in Sindh can be replaced by mullahs and extremists’. Or in other words, by those who are ideological and political ‘allies of the military-establishment’.

To the young Sindhi, Syed’s Sindhudesh Liberation Movement was a reaction to this.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/11/smokers-corner-back-to-g-m-syed.html

Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India

KARACHI: Preetam Das is a good doctor with a hospital job and a thriving private clinic, yet all he thinks about is leaving Pakistan, terrified about a rise in killings and kidnappings targeting Hindus.

A successful professional, he lives in mega city Karachi with his wife and two children, but comes from Kashmore, a district in the north of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh.

His family has lived there for centuries and in 1947 when the sub-continent split between India, a majority Hindu state, and Pakistan, a homeland for Muslims, Das’ grandparents chose to stay with the Muslims.

They fervently believed the promise of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah that religious minorities would be protected. Sixty years later, their grandson says life in Kashmore has become unbearable. “The situation is getting worse every day,” he says.

Two of his uncles have been kidnapped and affluent Hindus are at particular risk from abduction gangs looking for ransom, he says.

Rights activists say the climate is indicative of progressive Islamisation over the last 30 years that has fuelled an increasing lack of tolerance to religious minorities, too often considered second class citizens.

Das says the only thing keeping him in Pakistan is his mother. “She has flatly refused to migrate, which hinders my plans. I can’t go without her,” he said.

Hindus make up 2.5 per cent of the 174 million people living in the nuclear-armed Muslim nation. Over 90 per cent live in Sindh, where they are generally wealthy and enterprising, making them easy prey for criminal gangs.

An official at the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi who declined to be named said: “Every month about eight to 10 Hindu families migrate from Pakistan. Most of them are well-off.”

He had no comment on whether the number was on the rise, but Hindu community groups in Pakistan say more people are leaving because of kidnappings, killings and even forced conversions of girls to Islam.

“Two of my brothers have migrated to India and an uncle to the UAE,” said Jay Ram, a farmer in Sindh’s northern district of Ghotki.

“It’s becoming too difficult to live here. Sindhis are the most tolerant community in the country vis-a-vis religious harmony, but deteriorating law and order is forcing them to move unwillingly,” he added.

Continue reading Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India