Tag Archives: MRD

We will miss Iqbal Haidar. A brave urdu speaking Sindhi who never hesitated in raising voice against terrorism, fanaticism & urban fascism

Former PPP Law Minister Iqbal Haider passes away


Former Law Minister, and co-chairman of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Iqbal Haider passed away on Sunday in a local hospital here in Karachi. He was suffering from lungs ailment.

His funeral prayer will be offered after Zuhar prayer on Monday at Imambargah Yasrub in phase IV Defence Housing Society, Karachi.

Continue reading We will miss Iqbal Haidar. A brave urdu speaking Sindhi who never hesitated in raising voice against terrorism, fanaticism & urban fascism


The general, the dog & the flasher

MRD activist shot dead by military troops in Moro, Sindh, September 1983. –Photo Courtesy: BBC

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The MRD Movement in 1983 was one of the biggest uprisings against the Ziaul Haq dictatorship. In Sindh it almost tipped over and become a full-fledged armed insurgency against the state.

Sindh, September, 1983. The agitation by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) is whirling out of control, not only for the reactionary dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq but for the MRD leadership as well.

Ever since MRD announced the beginning of a nationwide movement against the Zia regime (August 14, 1983), the Pakistani province of Sindh is in great turmoil.

Sindh’s capital Karachi is witnessing court arrests and protest rallies on a daily basis by labour and trade unionists, student leaders and anti-Zia politicians.

But it is the central and northern parts of the province that are in the grip of serious violence. The MRD movement here has taken the shape of a Sindhi uprising bordering on a Sindhi nationalist insurgency against the Pakistan Army.

Faced with a volley of questions (mainly by foreign journalists) regarding his military regime’s challenged legitimacy in Sindh, Zia decides to prove that ‘only a handful of troublemakers’ are involved in the violence taking place against his government in the troubled province.

So, the grinning general (after issuing a fresh round of curbs on the already restricted local media outlets), announces that he will take a whirlwind tour of Sindh to attest that he is as popular there as he (thinks) he is in the Punjab.

So off he flies in his big shiny military aircraft (C-130) with some of his ministers, military cronies and his favorite batch of journalists to Karachi. He is however, aware that BBC Radio has imbedded a host of reporters in Sindh who are covering the MRD movement.

The reporting is largely being done for the BBC Radio’s Urdu service that a majority of Pakistanis have been listening to – especially ever since Zia (a migrant, conservative Punjabi general) toppled the government of the country’s first popularly elected prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a well-to-do but populist Sindhi who was equally well-liked in the Punjab).

A disturbing photo of one of the first public floggings ordered by General Ziaul Haq’s military courts.
Hundreds of student leaders, trade union activists, journalists and petty criminals were flogged between 1978 and 1981.
Here, floggers with lethal leather sticks in their hands are seen stepping on a sentenced man’s back after delivering a flogging ordered by a military court.

Zia’s plane lands in Karachi. From here he plans to fly to Hyderabad with his posse. Joining him here is a crew from the state-controlled Pakistan Television (PTV) that will cover the general’s ‘successful tour of Sindh.’

The rallies being taken out against him by leftist students, journalists, trade unionists, women rights groups and politicians in Karachi don’t bother him.

Most of the country’s senior anti-Zia leadership has already been put behind bars, while the second tier leadership of agitating student outfits, trade and journalist unions and anti-Zia political parties ‘are being made an example of’ by being publically flogged.

MRD was formed in 1981 as a PPP-led alliance to agitate against the Zia dictatorship and to force him to end military rule and hold elections. The alliance’s core parties were: Pakistan Peoples Party; Pakistan Democratic Party; Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party; Pakistan National Party; National Awami Party; Qaumi Mahaz Azadi Party; and Jamiat Ulema Islam.

It was also being supported by Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, as well as by various left-wing Sindhi nationalist parties, progressive student organisations, trade unions and women’s rights groups.

Zia, after arriving in Karachi, briefly talks to a select group of journalists and reiterates his views about the situation in Sindh, insisting all was well, and that the MRD movement was the work of a handful of politicians who were working against Islam, Pakistan and the country’s armed forces.

He sounds confident about the success of his visit to the troubled spots of the Sindh province. This confidence was not only built upon what he was hearing from the sycophants that he’d gathered around him in the shape of ministers, military personnel, religious leaders and advisors.

Continue reading The general, the dog & the flasher

Ayaz Latif Palijo’s speech in Karachi, Sindh

The language of the is Sindhi.


Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro


…. 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

Habib Jalib – Aisay Dastoor Ko Main nahi manta

IN LOVING MEMORIES OF THE POET OF THE OPPRESSED PEOPLE …HABIB JALIB,….WHO LEAVES US 1993 BUT STILL ALIVE IN OUR HEARTS AND EACH & EVERY RESISTANCE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE AGAINST DARK FORCES. Habib Jalib, Main nahi manta and Zulmat ko Zia kia likhna. Habib Jalib (born 1928 – died March 12, 1993) was first imprisoned during the martial law regime of Ayub Khan due to his defiant views on Ayub Khan’s capitalistic policies. He wrote his legendary poem “Dastoor” (System) during those days.

In 1972 when the Peoples Government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came, many of his colleagues were able to hit fortunes. He, on the other hand, kept his integrity and stuck to ideology. As a result, he was imprisoned again along with other leftist thinkers like Mukhtar Rana and Meraj Muhammad Khan.

During General Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship, Jalib joined movement for Restoration of democracy (MRD).

In 1988, General Zia-ul-Haq died in air crash and general elections were held. Benazir Bhutto came into power and released Habib Jalib. Fortunes were distributed to those who supported the government rather than those who supported democracy. Disappointed at the state of the nation, when asked if he felt any change after democracy, he said, “Haal ab tak wahi hain ghareeboan kay Din phiray hain faqat waziroan kay her Bilawal hai dase ka maqrooz paoon nangay hain Benazeeroan kay

Benazir lost power in 1990 to Nawaz Sharif, in 1993 Habib Jalib died. His family refused a government offer to pay for his funeral expenses.

After his passing, Qateel Shifai expressed his sorrow and grief in these words: Apney sarey dard bhula kar auron ke dukh sehta tha Hum jub ghazlain kehtey thay wo aksar jail main rehta tha Aakhir kar chala hi gya wo rooth kar hum farzanon se Wo deewana jisko zamana Jalib Jalib kehta tha.

Books – Sir-e-Maqtal, Zikr Behte Khoon Ka, Gumbad-e-Bedar * Kulyaat e Habib Jalib.

You Tube

What uprisings give rise to – Dr Manzur Ejaz

The Egyptian army is no different than its counterparts in the developing countries. After a peace treaty with Israel, the Egyptian army’s sole function was to maintain a corrupt and unjust economic system in which a small section of society owned most of the national wealth. As time goes by, the Egyptian military’s obstructive role will become clearer

Many Pakistanis have been wistfully looking towards the Tahrir Square uprising and questioning why the same cannot be done in Pakistan. These uprisings have happened many times in Pakistan, whereby army dictators were forced out of power by popular movements of one kind or the other. However, the people did not experience any improvement in their living conditions or even civil liberties during democratic periods. By now they are disillusioned and do not know against whom they should rise.

The Ayub Khan era was not as long as Hosni Mubarak’s but the democratic rights in Egypt were almost the same as those in Pakistan of that time. Ayub Khan was secular and an enemy of the Jamaat-e-Islami like Hosni Mubarak was against the Muslim Brotherhood. Up until 1967, Ayub Khan had such a strong grip on Pakistan that it appeared as if his family would rule for generations just like a few months back, Hosni Mubarak’s son seemed all prepared to take over Egypt by the next elections. However, a small incident in Rawalpindi Polytechnic Institute, in which some students were killed, triggered such a popular movement that Ayub Khan was out in a few months. In a way that incident was not unique because the then Governor of West Pakistan, Amir Mohammad Khan, the Nawab of Kalabagh, was notorious for his repressive techniques. However, the masses were fed up with Ayub Khan’s rule and a mammoth movement was born in both parts of the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the leading forces in East and West Pakistan respectively.

The people who had seen massive crowds on both sides of the GT Road, from Rawalpindi to Multan — making a human chain of hundreds of miles — would agree that the scene was not any less impressive than what we have seen in Tahrir Square in the last few weeks. Just like in the Egyptian uprising, the political environment was so tolerant and non-discriminatory that several Ahmedis were elected to the provincial and national assemblies. In short, what we are seeing in Egypt now did happen in Pakistan some 40 years back.

Now, if we skip the details of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against Ziaul Haq, which brought back the PPP and PML-N, and jump to the 2007 movement for an independent judiciary, we see another Tahrir Square-style uprising. Once again, the people turned the GT Road into a Tahrir Square as Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s motorcade made its way to Faisalabad/Lahore from Rawalpindi in 24 hours. Once again, the people’s movement forced General Musharraf to quit power and run away from the country. But what did people get from the democracy they struggled for so many times?

In a way, the Egyptian uprising for democracy was not as mature as Pakistani democratic movements. …

Read more : Wichaar

Human rights in Pakistan?

by Nizamuddin Nizamani

General Ziaul Haq organically changed the socio-political landscape of the state and turned the country’s mass into a ticking bomb by planting the seeds of religious fundamentalism. To counter the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, he initiated a military operation in Sindh and created sectarian and ethnic militant groups in Karachi and other parts of the country

The world community celebrates Human Rights Day on December 10. The envisaged purpose seems to accept the truth that despite the claims of modern, scientific, human-friendly development and globalisation, still some heinous human rights violations are the order of the day in some regions, while realising the universal truth that all humans without discrimination have equal rights to live and develop.

It seems that the UN and related bodies have bitterly failed to guarantee access to basic amenities for common people globally in general and the global south specifically. Even the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seems a distant dream. …

Read more : Daily Times

Goodbye to Comrade Fatehyab Ali Khan, we will miss you

Fatehyab Ali Khan passes away

KARACHI, Sept 26: President of the Mazdoor Kissan Party Fatehyab Ali Khan passed away in a local hospital on Sunday. He was 76. … He was admitted to Aga Khan Hospital on Sept 23 after suffering a cardiac arrest. …

… He also played an important role in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy during the Gen Zia-ul-Haq regime….

Read more >> DAWN

Some bitter facts about late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi

by: Mohammad Khan Sial

Our some friends are paying rich tributes to late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, His life can be divided into two parts. As well as first part is concerned, their tribute to late G M Jatoi is generally correct but there were some bitter facts about 2nd part of his life.

01. When army dictator Ziaul Haq removed elected Govt of Z. A. Bhutto, there were the persons who immediately met Gen Zia in the darkness of night. They were Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Maulana Kausar Niazi..

Continue reading Some bitter facts about late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi

MRD – notes from the History

Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, MRD


From the August 23, 1983 edition

Troops, rioters battle in Sindh, Pakistan

Compiled From Wire Service Dispatches With Analysis From Monitor Correspondents Around The World, Edited by Linda Feldmann
Karachi, Pakistan—

Thousands of people led by a local religious leader rampaged through a big town in Pakistan’s troubled Sind Province, official sources said. It was one of the largest antigovernment displays since protests had begun here eight days earlier.

The crowd, which the local press put at more than 20,000, streamed into the town of Khairpur and set fire to city courts, a municipal office, two banks, government shops, and the local tax office, the sources said.

There were reports of running battles throughout the town, 275 miles north of the port city of Karachi. The reports said security forces used truncheons and tear gas on the mob,

Continue reading MRD – notes from the History

The politics of Brigadier ‘Billa’

By Tahir Hasan Khan, Karachi, Sindh

Courtesy: The News, Monday, August 31, 2009

Brigadier (Retired) Imtiaz, also known as “Billa” is not new for the people of Sindh. He was Sindh ISI chief when political activist Nazeer Abbasi was murdered and a PIA plane was hijacked in early 80’s. The purpose of the murder of political activist Nazeer Abbasi was to warn political workers and the hijacking incident was to sabotage the MRD (Movement for Restoration of Democracy) action launched against Gen Zia-ul Haq. As a result of his work, Billa was promoted as brigadier in the army.

Continue reading The politics of Brigadier ‘Billa’

Justice Chudhry v/s Justice Dogar

by Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh
The writer works in daily dawn Karachi and he can be reached at catalyst2pk@yahoo.com
Blog: http://manzoorchandio.blogspot.com/
Justice Chaudhry took his oath from military dictator Musharraf. Justice Dogar took his oath from military dictator Musharraf. What’s the difference?.. As far as Justice Chaudhry’s performance is concerned, I think Justice Dogar is second to none.
Justice Chaudhry worked his entire tenure under an unconstitutional military regime. Justice Dogar worked most of his tenure under a constitutional government.
Justice Dogar took hundreds of suo moto actions, including eight after reading Kawish. These cases related to the violation of human rights, abuses of women and children.
Late BB, the PPP and we all supported the reinstatement of judges not the removal of judges. The PML-N kept demanding the removal of judges which is against the Constitution.
There is a provision in the Constitution that judges can be appointed but judges can’t be removed.
We’ve always deliberated that all problems are created by military regimes which continue spiraling affecting democratic governments for years. The judges’ issue was created by a military government which has domino effects till today and it will continue for years. What is dangerous now that the PML-N are not ready to look forward to make a fresh start?
Yes Punjab and PML-N have right to protest. And there should not be police and army to stop them. For the last 63 years, establishment turned the green of Bengal into red, they raped thousands of women, they killed and maimed thousands of Sindhis during the MRD for demanding democracy and they killed and bombed the Baloch for demanding freedom.
Even during the lawyers’ movement, we saw bodies of Sindhis lying on Shahra Faisal. Hundreds of people were killed and hundred others were injured. But guns were silent in Punjab on the same day. Even lathis were not used. Why this difference?

Continue reading Justice Chudhry v/s Justice Dogar

From the archive of the history: Mass movement in Sindh- Every minute has story to tell

By Anne Weaver, Special to The Christian Science Monitor

In a surprisingly strong, rural mass movement in Sindh – the first such political movement outside the cities that Pakistan has seen – thousands have continued their defiance of General Zia’s martial law regime. At least 38 people have died in the protests. According to opposition sources, 80 are dead. The opposition claims 7,000 have been arrested or successfully ”courted arrest.” The government acknowledges that some 1,400 Sindis are under arrest.

Driving through Sindh’s interior, where slate hills turn to desert and large tracts of rice, wheat, and cotton fields are flooded by monsoon rains, one is struck by the poverty. There are few development programs here.

People live on the margin of an agricultural economy. One passes through a score of hamlets and villages hugging the banks of the Indus River.

In recent weeks, they have all, in one way or another, protested against the Zia regime or gone on the rampage. They have defied police lines, been beaten back by teargas or a lathi charge. They have burned government buildings, disrupted transportation links, broken into Sindhi jails and court buildings, or engaged in general strikes.

Inside the dirty, overcrowded jail in Dadu, one of Sind’s most violent, up-river towns 200 miles from Karachi, 77 political prisoners told why they were willing to defy martial law, endure flogging, and go before special military courts-martial whose sessions last less than five minutes.

Their reasons for submitting to the punishment are as eclectic as the four provinces of Pakistan.

The province of Punjab, they acknowledge, is the key to the longevity of the Zia regime. If the country’s most populous province, its breadbasket and dispenser of army positions and posts in the federal bureaucracy, does not enter the protest, Zia and his army will probably be able to control the situation here in Sindh.

But, that is not the end, they add quickly. In Sindh, the fuse has been lit. And, if the protest is confined within this southern province’s borders, if others do not join, it will give far greater impetus to the more radical voices favoring Sindi independence, a movement called ”Sinduh-Desh.”

All of the young men crammed into one of the barracks of Dadu’s prison want to speak. They include medical students, provincial government civil servants, workers, shopkeepers, and peasants. Most are supporters of Mr. Bhutto’s Pakistani People’s Party, which has always dominated the politics of Sind. Others belong to the ”Sinduh-Desh” movement or are followers of the traditional ”sardars” or hereditary ”pirs.”

Some are political protesters, demanding a return to democracy and the end of martial law, others are protesting Zia’s Islamization program – most interior Sindis are Sufi Muslims who charge that General Zia has made heresy of the Koran. Still others are there at the behest of their ”sardars,” who have refused to pay the Islamic ”usur” land tax, on their vast holdings, which dominate the Indus River valley of Sindh. Some are here because they went to the streets to avenge Mr. Bhutto’s death. Others are followers of G. M. Sayed, the father of Sindhi nationalism, a hereditary ”pir,” who is the guiding force behind the Sinduh-Desh movement.

Strangers here are eyed with suspicion. But when people discover a journalist , they immediately want to talk. It is not surprising that their primary topic of conversation is their long-time resentment over domination by governments, armies, and bureaucracies coming from the Punjab region.

Protests sweep Pakistan in effort to restore democracy

Courtesy: CSM

Back to Square One

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

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

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

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

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

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