Tag Archives: Progressive

Story of a Pakistani communist

A significant volume about the history of the Left movement in Pakistan

In 1956 A.B.A Haleem, then vice chancellor of Karachi University, declared Jamal Naqvi as an “undesirable element” depriving him of the chance to get a job in Karachi. At this stage, Mirza Abid Abbas, husband of Mrs Naqvi’s sister who had a private college in Hyderabad, Sindh, rescued him. Mirza Abid’s sons — Athar Abbas (Major General and former director ISPR), Mazhar Abbas, Zafar Abbas, Azhar Abbas (all journalists) and Anwar Abbas — were tutored and trained by Jamaluddin Naqvi.

Jamaluddin Naqvi (known as Jamal Naqvi) joined the Karachi-Sindh group of Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) in the mid 1950s, assumed all important posts in the party, and later ran his own faction of the party like a sole rider till late 1980s when he left the CPP on ideological grounds.

His autobiographical account has been published recently under the title Leaving the Left Behind, which is self-explanatory. If someone wants to know more, he can read the subtitle “An autobiographical tale of political disillusionment that took the life’s momentum away from the myopic politics of the Right and the Left to the enlightened concept of Right and Wrong”.

In a scenario where there is no archival record of the left, either in the form of official statements/documents or memoirs (Dada Amir Haider Khan’s biography being an exception), how can one evaluate our common progressive past politics? This is where the value of this book lies. Jamal has not made any disclosures or revelations in the book. Those who have met him during the last decade or so know this wellLike a bold and courageous political worker, he didn’t hide his change of heart.

When prominent Indian Bengali communist Mohit Sen penned his autobiographical account A Traveller and the Road: A Journey of an Indian Communist [2003], he too faced outright condemnation from the CPI rank and file; yet his book is considered a pioneering effort in unfolding the myth of the Indian left.

Unfortunately, there is a narrow space for rethinking or revisiting the past politics and ideologies among the South Asian left which is said to be dogmatic. We love to live in a black and white world; there is no room for gray areas especially for those who want to move away from their previous ideological positions. When someone changes his position, we treat him as a zandiq (heretic). So Jamal is another zandiq among reds.

Ironically, Jamal gave his whole life and career to progressive thoughts and spent many years in prison but when he amended his thoughts, he was discarded. These memoirs are the only way to revisit the past and to analyse the history of the left movement in Pakistan.

Continue reading Story of a Pakistani communist

Transition: Sindhi nationalist Ali Hassan Chandio dies

By Sohail Khattak

KARACHI: Ali Hassan Chandio, a Sindhi nationalist and Chairman Sindh National Movement (SNM), passed away after prolonged illness at the South City Hospital on Wednesday night. He was suffering from kidney problems coupled with diabetes.

According to his friend Asad Chandio, Hassan started his political life from Democratic Student Federation (DSF) and also remained active in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) during which he was sent to prison where he was subjected to lashing. Ali Hassan was considered the youngest prisoner of conscience in Pakistan.

Continue reading Transition: Sindhi nationalist Ali Hassan Chandio dies

Pakistan: A vanishing state

By Shabbir Ahmad Khan
Both empires and states fail or collapse. Examples include the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Mughal and British empires. From the recent past, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sudan are the best examples. Professor Norman Davies, in his book Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations recounts the history of 15 European states which disappeared. Professor Robert Rotberg, in his book When States fail: Causes and Consequences provides empirical description on a state’s failure. Similarly, the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine publishes a list of failed states each year, on which Pakistan ranks 13. Pakistan’s score is just 13 points below that of the most failed state in the world, Somalia, and just five points below that of Afghanistan, which is at number seven on the list.Why do empires and states fail or fall? There are a number of factors for state decline, including social, economic and political. The most common factor is global; it includes intervention by external political agents or forces. In such situations, the empires or states first fail to cope with the new challenges and later collapse. There is a new challenge before Pakistan, which no state in history has ever faced. Today, the world community is unified against religious extremism of any kind and a nuclear Pakistan is heavily convulsed by internal violence linked to religious extremism. After World War II, colonial powers gave independence to many nations, including Pakistan, with a clear rationale or prime motive. At a very critical juncture in history, if states lose their rationale, they lose their right to survive. Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture of her history. If she loses her rationale, she loses her right to exist.Two questions are important to answer the above-mentioned query. Who creates states and what is their rationale — i.e., the cause of their birth? More than 140 states got independence after the two world wars. The winners of the wars designed the world map by decolonising nations. The process of giving self-rule to new states was intentional and purposeful. British rulers, in congruence with the US, wanted to split India for their long-term interests in the region. In my opinion, Pakistan — the same way as the state of Israel — was created as an independent state to guard Western interests in the region. In both times of war and peace in history, Pakistan proved herself as the guardian of vested interests of Western powers. In return, Pakistan also got the liberty to do a number of things, including attaining nuclear capability. Throughout history, Pakistan changed herself with the changing demands of the West to fulfill her utility and her indispensability.

Thus, a militant, extremist, rigid and nuclear Pakistan was in the larger interests of Western powers, particularly to contain the Soviets and its allies, i.e., India. Now, the Western world has changed its policy towards the region where Pakistan is located and has demonetised its political currency by putting immense pressure on the country to change her course accordingly. But Pakistan seems reluctant.

Continue reading Pakistan: A vanishing state

Changes in Sindh

By Rauf Nizamani

THE perception about Sindhi nationalist politics is that it’s secular, progressive, anti-establishment and left-oriented. Is this view still valid?

In recent decades, many changes have occurred in the politics of the province. Though the political parties still claim to be fighting for the interests of Sindh and its people, is that true? Is their primary motive still the fight against feudal and tribal lords, landlords and the religious orthodoxy? Does securing rights for the downtrodden, especially peasants, remain part of their struggle for national rights as was the case in the past?

Continue reading Changes in Sindh

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

CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

The Québec Student Strike – Why we support it and why we condemn Bill 78

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) believes the right to an education is one all citizens of the world must have access to. Moreover, that access should be without financial cost. Only by having an educated population can a country truly be free.

Continue reading CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

If there was only one person worthy of respect in Pakistan, it had to be Asma Jahangir

We condemn threats to Asma Jahangir’s life by Pakistan army generals

Assassination plot against Asma Jahangir exposed

If there was only one person worthy of respect in Pakistan, it had to be Asma Jahangir. She must be protected from those afraid of her.

Not unlike millions of peace loving, progressive Pakistanis, LUBP editors and team members are concerned over threat to senior human rights activist Asma Jahangir’s life. In Kashif Abbas’s TV program today (Off the Record – ARY TV), Asma Jahangir detailed a plot by the military to assassinate her. Apparently, in view of Asma’s detailed revelations, Kashif took a break, but the show ended.

However, later on Geo TV’s Aapas Ki Baat, Asma did manage to speak to Najam Sethi about the plan by Pakistan army (ISI in particular) to assassinate her. In that show, she clearly stated that senior level army generals were planning to kill her.

Apparently, those with guns are afraid of an unarmed woman!

In Habib Jalib’s words: dartay hain bandooqan walay aik nihatti larki say (men with guns are afraid of an unarmed woman)

They want to eliminate her the way they killed Benazir Bhutto, Shahbaz Bhatti, Salmaan Taseer, Murtaza Bhutto, and thousands of other unnamed Balochs, Shias, Pashtuns and other citizens of Pakistan.

Continue reading If there was only one person worthy of respect in Pakistan, it had to be Asma Jahangir

Forced conversions: As leftists protest, ST takes offence

By Sameer Mandhro / Z Ali

KARACHI / HYDERABAD: Supporters of the leftist coalition group, the Sindh Progressive Committee, had a run-in with the Barelvi religious-political party Sunni Tehreek at the Hyderabad Press Club on Tuesday, resulting in the police hauling in almost two dozen activists.

The Sunni Tehreek had been protesting the recent spate of violence in Karachi and had wrapped up the event. The Sindh Progressive Committee (SPC), which comprises the Workers Party, Labour Party, Communist Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, National Party, Awami Party and Watan Dost Inquilaabi Party, held a protest outside the press club against forced conversions and religious extremism.

The fight reportedly started as the Sunni Tehreek supporters alleged that attendees at the SPC’s event had beaten up a man who had stopped them from chanting slogans that they alleged were against religion.

Sunni Tehreek’s protestors went back to the press club and the fight forced SPC event attendees to hide inside the club as the Sunni Tehreek men threw stones and chanted slogans against them. While some female SPC leaders including Professor Arfana Mallah and Sindh University lecturer and activist Amar Sindhu managed to escape, the police cordoned off the area around the press club and rescued the rest. While they had assumed the police would release them, they were sent to the Cantonment Police Station.

The Sunni Tehreek’s Abid Qadri alleged that the SPC had “attacked our man first” and “used abusive language”. Arfana Mallah said their protest was peaceful but they had been attacked by the Sunni Tehreek, who brought “weapons, stones and sticks” and “forced us not to chant slogans”.

According to the police, 23 men from the Sindh Progressive Committee were arrested. The Sunni Tehreek’s Hyderabad General Secretary Muhammad Yaseen Qadri registered a First Information Report (FIR) under sections 148, 147 and 149. Even though the FIR mentions 60 people, only three are mentioned by name – Comrade Iqbal, Allah Bux and Bakhshal Thallo. The Sunni Tehreek and SPC have both claimed their supporters were injured.

At the SPC’s protest in Karachi, activists demanded that Rinkle Kumari and Asha Kumari, the two women who have drawn attention to the rise of Hindu conversions in Sindh, be handed over to their parents. They chanted slogans against landlords, clerics, army generals and extremists and asked that the government separate religion from matters of the state.

Speakers included Yousuf Masti Khan, Nasir Mansoor, Jan Muhammad Buledi, Usman Baloch, Mehnaz Rehman, Comrade Iqbal and Abdul Khaliq Junejo. “We don’t support a state that promotes religious extremism and stifles the environment for other religions. Every man is free in this country and has the right to move freely and perform his religious rituals,” said Usman Baloch.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/366193/forced-conversions-as-leftists-protest-st-takes-offence/

ATTACK ON SINDH PROGRESSIVE COMMITTEE (SPC) DEMO AGAINST RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

Hyderabad: The religious extremists show up to throw stones and beat peaceful protestors including children and women and the police arrests the peaceful progressive demonstrators of civil society demanding basic rights for women and Hindus as citizens of Pakistan. They are charging the civil society activists with blasphemy to terrorize them! Sindh is indeed suffering a brutal occupation that turns more tragic and farcical by the day. The following report of the rally to protests forced conversion and kidnapping of Hindu girls by an alliance of Sindhi civil society.

According to the reports, Sunni Tehreek’s extremists came with pick up’s loaded with Stones and attacked the peaceful Rally. Some of the injured were Girls & children. Police arrested civil society leaders Taj Marri, along with his Daughter Paras, renowned leftist intellectual, thinker, writer and activists Bakhshal Thalou and many other activists of civil society . Religious fundamentalists tried to put Hyderabad Press club on fire, and latter GOR Colony police Station was attacked by them. Several hundreds Students of Sindh University came to defend the civil society rally against the religious fundamentalism. Women Action Forum Leaders Arfana Mallah and Amar Sindhu who were in rally tried to dissuade the fanatics, but they insisted on registering charges of TOHEEN-E-RISALAT [blasphemy, a capital offense in Pakistan] against arrested leaders of Sindhi civil society.

According to some informed journalists a secret service agency is working on to create a rift between the People of Sindh and wants to start Hindu- Muslim riots and force the Sindhi Hindu’s to leave Sindh and to put Sindhis in minority in their own motherland. After the pressure of civil society, Women Action Forum’s leader Arfana Mallah and Taj Marri were freed from the lockup of GOR Colony Police Station, Hyderabad, Pakistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups 17 April 2012 + facebook

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More » BBC urdu

100 Km Long March of Sindhis for Atrocities Against Hindus and other Indigenous Tribes

Show of solidarity

Jeay Sindh Quomi Mahaz (Jeay Sindh National Front) along with many organizations like Progressive Hindu Alliance, Youth Council of Sindh Minorities, Bheel Intellectual Forum, Sindh Kolhi Alliance, Scheduled Caste Social Organization and many Sindhi organizations are doing LONG MARCH from Mirpur Khas to Hyderabad (100 km).

Tribute to Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Sobho Gianchandani is a prominent Sindhi revolutionary who remains a source of inspiration for many generations of Sindhi activists, writers and social reformers. Mr. Gianchandani, known lovingly as Comrade Sobho, has been associated with many political  and campaign groups, including the Indian National Congress and Khudai Khidmatgar and is the founder of many progressive, democratic and nationalist campaigns in Sindh. After the partition, Pakistani authorities pressured himlike millions of other Sindhi Hindus — to leave Sindh and migrate to India, but Sobho refused, and in consequence he was forbidden to travel abroad until 1998. Sobho was imprisoned for more than a year during the British rule, and after the partition, he fell under the wrath of Pakistani establishment and has many jail sentences to his credit, including one in 1971 for opposing military sponsored genocide in Bangladesh. Comrade Sobho and G. M. Syed were close associates and comrades in different aspects of the Sindhi rights movement. The G. M. Syed Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on Mr. Gianchandani in appreciation of his life-long struggle for emancipation for Sindhis and other oppressed peoples of South Asia and in recognition of his grass-roots efforts to promote tolerance, justice, communal harmony and peace. …..

Read more » ChagataiKhan

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More » THE MAN FROM MOEN–JO-DARO – Interview with Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Remebering Pakistan’s great poet, activist & comrade of all times Jalib : the word of truth

Jalib: the word of truth – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Jalib’s revolutionary poetry is in a league of its own in Urdu literature. Unlike the many greats including Faiz, Ahmed Faraz and Iftikhar Arif who were influenced by the Progressive Writers Movement as well as classical Urdu poetry and world literature, Jalib’s verse is rooted deeply in the land and idiom of those whom he wrote for

“Aur sab bhool gaye harf-e-sadaqat likhna

Reh gaya kaam humara hi baghawat likhna

Kuch bhi kehtay hain, kahain shah kay musahib Jalib

Rang rakhna yehi apna, issi soorat likhna.”

(Everyone else forgot how to write the word of truth

It was left to me to write of dissent and disobedience

Whatever the king’s companions may say Jalib

Maintain this colour of yours, and write just as you do.)

Read more » Daily Times

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Hyderabad – Sindh Progressive Committee protest Baluchistan violence – Demotix.com

Members of Sindh Progressive committee protest against State Terrorism in Baluchistan outside the Hyderabad press club. Hyderabad, Pakistan. 11th February 2012.

To watch the photos of protest » Demotix.com

http://www.demotix.com/news/1045703/sindh-progressive-committee-protest-baluchistan-violence-hyderabad

Pakistan’s Modernity: Between the Military and Militancy

By Ayesha Siddiqa

In Pakistan economic progress does not automatically translate into liberal progressive modernity mainly due to the nature of the state. Pakistan’s modernity is structured along two axes: neo-liberal nationalism and right-wing radical nationalism. While the neo-liberal nationalism axis depicts an authoritarian and top-down model of economic and political development marked with the expansion of a national security-obsessed middle class and ruling elite, the right-wing radical nationalism axis denotes the growth of religious radicalism and militancy as symbols of geopolitical modernity that are anti-imperialist in nature. This analysis argues that liberalism is one of the many consequences of modernity, but not the only one. The meeting point of both trajectories has resulted in turning Pakistan into a hybrid-theocratic state which encapsulates a mix of economic neo-liberalism, pockets of social liberalism, formal theocracy and larger spaces experiencing informal theocracy.

View Full Article » http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/16890.pdf

Systematic Genocide of Sindhi Hindus

By: Dr. Rajab Ali Memon, Secretary General, Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party – STP

We condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in Shikarpur district by the criminals. The STP, being a strong advocate of secular politics, rejects the intolerance towards all religious minorities and the Sindhi Hindus in particular; since they are being continuously and systematically targeted & extorted by various agencies, dacoits, religious fanatics, and feudal/ tribal/ spiritual lords all over Sindh. We appeal all progressive elements in Pakistan to join us in condemning the rule of jungle, especially in the northern districts of Sindh; and the systematic genocide of Sindhi Hindus to compel them to leave Sindh and settle in India. We believe that the Sindhi Hindus are an integral part of Sindhi nation and equal citizens of Sindh & Pakistan. Hence, it is the foremost responsibility of the State as well as the Government (s) of Sindh & Pakistan to provide them guarantees of Life, Liberty and Property.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

‘Occupy Islamabad’ rally tomorrow

– Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: Inspired by worldwide protest demonstrations against capitalism, a group of political workers and representatives of trade and student unions has announced that they will launch an ‘occupy Islamabad movement’ and hold a rally on Wednesday.

Coordinator of the recently-formed Anti-Capitalist Committee and secretary general of the Labour Party Pakistan Nisar Shah told Dawn on Monday that the march would start from Aabpara Chowk and culminate at the World Bank building, situated near the Constitution Avenue.

He said activists of Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party Pakistan, Awami Party Pakistan and Socialist Movement Pakistan, representatives of the Pakistan Postal Union, PTCL Union, National Trade Union Federation, National Students Federation, Progressive Youth Organisation and a large number of civil society members, intellectuals and citizens would participate in the march in line with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ campaign in the US and other such protests going on in more than 900 cities around the world. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Ayaz Latif Palijo’s speech in Karachi, Sindh

The language of the is Sindhi.

YouTube

BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land

– Sindh under multiple crises

by Zulfiqar Halepoto

The situation is getting worst day by day in Sindh. This will affect other parts of Pakistan and ultimately whole nation and the entire country will suffer.

Conservative ‘constituents’ BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land, full of resources (natural and human) and opportunities on merit with rule of law and constitutionalism. The political rift is dividing the citizens of Sindh on ethnic lines and peace loving and progressive people are afraid.

On the other hand ‘ACTION REPLY OF HUMAN DISASTER’ has destroyed billions of rupees agriculture, crops and food supply in 12 fertile districts of Sindh. Around 100 people are died in couple of days. Thousands of families are displaced. Children and women are the worst victim of the fresh wave of FTAL rain. Livestock and food supply are vanished. People are living measurable lives in camps. Political heat has over shadowed this human catastrophic situation.

Where is the government? Where is the state? Nobody is there to take notice. Government stopped INGOS and UN systems to intervene in the recent disaster relief actions. Government has no capacity to deal with the science of disaster.

Another bad news is that in two years time 600 Sindhi Hindu families have migrated from upper Sindh to India, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore due to every day deteriorating law and order situation in rural Sindh. People are victim of terrorists in Karachi and other urban towns peaceful citizens of rural areas are victim of kidnapping, Bhatakhoree and forced conversation of their women to other religions.

All anti-Sindh feudal who are destroying the landscape of ‘diversity and plurality’ are now part of PPP government under so-called reconciliation. These feudal and tribal chiefs initiate tribal clashed and instigate their tribesmen to kill innocent people and they maintain their fiefdoms. There is no rule of law. They all are beyond any accountability because they are supported by agencies too to destroy Sindh’s progressive political base. Sindhi Hindu families are also victim of this culture.

Some districts of upper Sindh have become ‘NO GO AREAS’ for innocent citizens. So-called progressive and learned PPP leaders are shamefully kept silent on these crimes. Sindh is about to collapse on all political, economic and social fronts.

I wonder, even the greatest sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto didn’t inspire the rulers to change the CULTURE. I don’t know who is going to stop all this menace in Sindh, which is heating the whole country.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,  September 3, 2011.

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– Rapprochement is possible

By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto

ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.

The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.

The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.

The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.

Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.

Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.

Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.

One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.

Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.

Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.

The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.

It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.

It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.

There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

In her novel “Aag Ka Darya”, a world class urdu writer, Qurattulain Haider, had raised questions about Partition and had rejected the two-nation theory

– The misfits of society

by Waseem Altaf

Qurattulain Haider, writer of the greatest urdu novel “Aag Ka Darya” had come to Pakistan in 1949. By then she had attained the stature of a world class writer. She joined the Press Information Department and served there for quite some time. In 1959 her greatest novel ‘Aag ka Darya’ was published. ‘Aag Ka Dariya’ raised important questions about Partition and rejected the two-nation theory. It was this more than anything else that made it impossible for her to continue in Pakistan, so she left for India and permanently settled there.

Sahir Ludhianvi, one of the finest romantic poets of Urdu language settled in Lahore in 1943 where he worked for a number of literary magazines. Everything was alright until after partition when his inflammatory writings (communist views and ideology) in the magazine Savera resulted in the issuing of a warrant for his arrest by the Government of Pakistan. In 1949 Sahir fled to India and never looked back.

Sajjad Zaheer, the renowned progressive writer Marxist thinker and revolutionary who came to Pakistan after partition, was implicated in Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case and was extradited to India in 1954.

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was a Pakistani citizen, regarded as one of the greatest classical singers of the sub continent, was so disillusioned by the apathy shown towards him and his art that he applied for, and was granted a permanent Indian immigrant visa in 1957-58. He migrated to India and lived happily thereafter. All of the above lived a peaceful and prosperous life in India and were conferred numerous national awards by the Government of India.

Now let’s see the scene on the other side of Radcliff line.

Saadat Hassan Manto a renowned short story writer migrated to Pakistan after 1947. Here he was tried thrice for obscenity in his writings. Disheartened and financially broke he expired at the age of 42. In 2005, on his fiftieth death anniversary, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative postage stamp.

Zia Sarhadi the Marxist activist and a film director who gave us such memorable films as ‘Footpath’ and ‘Humlog’, was a celebrity in Bombay when he chose to migrate to Pakistan. ‘Rahguzar’, his first movie in this country, turned out to be the last that he ever directed. During General Ziaul Haq’s martial law, he was picked up by the army and kept in solitary confinement in terrible conditions. The charges against him were sedition and an inclination towards Marxism. On his release, he left the country to settle permanently in the UK and never came back.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz, one of the greatest Urdu poets of the 20th century was arrested in 1951 under Safety Act and charged in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case. Later he was jailed for more than four years.

Professor Abdussalam the internationally recognized Pakistani physicist was disowned by his own country due to his religious beliefs. He went to Italy and settled there. He could have been murdered in the holy land but was awarded the Nobel Prize in the West for his contribution in the field of theoretical physics. Meanwhile his tombstone at Rabwah (now Chenab Nagar) was disfigured under the supervision of a local magistrate. This was our way of paying tribute to the great scientist.

Rafiq Ghazanvi was one of sub-continent’s most attractive, capable and versatile artists. He was an actor, composer and singer. He composed music for a number of films in Bombay like Punarmilan, Laila majnu and Sikandar. After partition he came to Karachi where he was offered a petty job at Radio Pakistan. He later resigned and spent the rest of his life in seclusion. He died in Karachi in 1974.

Sheila Ramani was the heroine of Dev Anand’s ”taxi driver” and “fantoosh” released in the 50’s. She was a Sindhi and came to Karachi where her uncle Sheikh Latif was a producer. She played the lead in Pakistani film ”anokhi” which had the famous song ”gari ko chalana babu” However seeing little prospects of any cinematic activity at Karachi, she moved back to India.

Ustad Daman, the ‘simpleton’ Punjabi poet had flair of his own. Due to his unorthodox views, many a times he was sent behind bars. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru offered him Indian citizenship which he refused. The reward he received here was the discovery of a bomb from his shabby house for which he was sent to jail by the populist leader Mr.Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Had Mohammad Rafi the versatile of all male singers of the Indian sub-continent chosen to stay in Pakistan, what would have been his fate. A barber in the slums of Bilal Gunj in Lahore, while Dilip Kumar selling dry fruit in Qissa Khawani Bazaar, Peshawar.

Ustad Salamat Ali a bhagwan in Atari turned out to be a mirasi in Wahga all his life. Last time I met him at his rented house in Islamabad, he was in bad shape.

We also find Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who went to India and was treated like a god. His compositions recorded in India became all time hits not only in Pakistan and India but all over the world. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Faakhir, Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam frequently visit India and their talent is duly recognized by a culture where art and music is part of life. Adnan Sami has even obtained Indian citizenship and has permanently settled there. Salma Agha and Zeba Bakhtiar got fame after they acted in Indian films. Meanwhile Veena Malik is getting death threats here and is currently nowhere to be seen. Sohail Rana the composer was so disillusioned here that he permanently got settled in Canada. Earlier on Saleem Raza the accomplished singer immigrated to Canada. I was told by a friend that Saleem Raza was once invited by some liberal students to perform at Punjab University when the goons of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba attacked him and paraded him in an objectionable posture in front of the students.

After returning to Pakistan the chhote ustads of “star plus” who achieved stardom in India have gone into oblivion, while Amanat Ali and Saira Reza of “sa re ga ma” fame have disappeared. And ask Sheema Kirmani and Naheed Siddiqui, the accomplished dancers how conducive the environment here is for the growth of performing arts.

A country gets recognition through its intelligentsia and artists. They are the real assets of a nation. The cultural growth of a society is not possible without these individuals acting as the precursors of change. Unfortunately this state was not created, nor was it meant for these kinds of people. It was carved out for hypocrites and looters who could have enjoyed a heyday without any fear or restraint.

Read more → ViewPoint

BHRC (Canada) Protests in Toronto and Vancouver

Toronto, May 27, 2011 – Toronto and Vancouver chapters of Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) staged demonstrations in front of the U.S. Consulates. …. The demonstrations held in Toronto and Vancouver, the two major cities of Canada, were jointly organized by Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada), International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVBMP), and the International Centre for Peace and Democracy (ICFPD). The participants in the demonstration came from all walks of life, particular the Baloch Diaspora, Kashmiris, Sindhis, and the progressive and secular elements in society.

Continue reading BHRC (Canada) Protests in Toronto and Vancouver

Attack on GHQ & Now On PNS Mehran: Alas, No One Sees the Writing On the Wall!

‘Deep State’, aka the ‘Pakistani military establishment’, created two monsters, one in the North & the other in the South to serve its twin objectives of achieving ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and to fight the democratic & progressive forces in the country. The creators will never fight their creation as they need them for their well-known objectives but what about the people?

Even the masses still have soft corner for the two! One of them is engaged in an open war on the state and the people while the other is engaged only in ‘exercises’ for now testing weapons & keeping the personnel fighting fit! Wait for the day when the second monster would declare an open war from the South. Look forward to nothing else but death, destruction, murder & mayhem.

And remember, the responsibility for the eventual catastrophe will not lie only on the shoulders of the so-called military establishment. All the citizens will be equally responsible for their timidity and their silence. They are accomplices in all this.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt:

The basic socio-political mindset of the Pakistani society is the outcome of various faith-based experiments conducted by the state and the armed forces.

The party

In 1995, sometime in May, an uncle of mine (an ex-army man), was invited to a party of sorts.

The invitation came from a former top-ranking military officer who had also worked for the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI. He was in the army with my uncle (who now resides abroad) during the 1960s.

My uncle, who was visiting Pakistan, asked if I was interested in going with him. I agreed.

The event was at a military officer’s posh bungalow in Karachi’s Clifton area. Most of the guests (if not all) were former military men. All were articulate, spoke fluent English and wore modern, western clothes.

I was not surprised by this but what did surprise me was a rather schizophrenic aura about the surroundings. Though modern-looking and modern-sounding, the gathering turned out to be a segregated affair.

The men’s wives were placed in a separate room, while the men gathered in a wider sitting area.

By now it become clear to me that I wouldn’t be getting served anything stronger than Pepsi on the rocks!

I scratched my head, thinking that even though I was at a ‘party’ in a posh, stylish bungalow in the posh, stylish Clifton area with all these posh stylish military men and their wives and yet, somehow I felt there very little that was ‘modern’ about the situation.

By modern, I also mean the thinking that was reflected by the male guests on politics, society and religion. Most of the men were also clean-shaven and reeking of expensive cologne, but even while talking about cars, horses and their vacations in Europe, they kept using Arabic expressions such as mashallah, alhamdullila, inshallah, etc.

I tried to strike up some political conversations with a few gentlemen but they expected me to agree with them about how civilian politicians were corrupt, how democracy can be a threat to Pakistan, how civilian leaders do not understand India’s nefarious designs, et al. …

The experiment

The Pakistan Army was once a staunchly secular beast. All across the 1950s and 1960s it was steeped in secular (albeit conservative) traditions and so were its sociological aspects.

In fact, until the late 1960s, Pakistani military men were asked to keep religion a private matter and religious exhibitionism was scorned at as well as reprimanded – mostly during Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s dictatorship (1959-69).

Continue reading Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha

Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

Notes From My Memory, Part VII, By Mir Thebo: Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

by Mir Thebo

In early 1960s, Rasool Bux Palijo and I were neighbors in Rosy Corner flats in Hyderabad. Those were very dirty pigeon hole flats in Tando Wali Mohammad area. Palijo lived on 2nd floor while I lived on the 1st. floor. Occasionally I went to his flat. He had no furniture and no proper bed in the flat. Palijo hated cleanliness. One could rather say that he hated regular life therefore he didn’t like well-dressed petty bourgeoisie people. He never cared about food. Shoes would be lying over the floor. He had good collection of books but they would be scattered all over the place. He didn’t like to live there so most of the time he remained outside.

By profession, he was a lawyer, a mediocre advocate at that because he was not interested in practicing law, although he was intelligent and had a logical mind. He had a small office in the Circular Building, which didn’t look like a professional lawyer’s office. He didn’t care much about these things. He was a good reader though. He read non-fiction, fiction and poetry books. He loved Shah Latif’s poetry. He was also an admirer of Shaikh Ayaz’s poetry. In later period, he disowned Shaikh Ayaz and his followers glorified Ustad Bukhari more than Ayaz but they were friends during 1960s. Ayaz also liked Palijo.

Palijo also read Urdu, Russian, Chinese, English and Arabic literature. He had good knowledge of history and international situation. He also had a good knowledge of the history of Sindh. He was great at appreciating someone. He will make you fly higher and higher until you reach the top of the world. He would say things that will make you wonder if you really possessed such ‘qualities’ as mentioned by Palijo. But if you disagreed with him, he will throw you in the dust mercilessly so much so that he will not allow you even to protest. He is a witty person with good sense of humor. He has good hospitality. He will serve you meals and every thing including drinks, etc. I have few chances to drink with him along with other friends. I never observed him out of control but he is careful not to drink too much with casual visitors.

Palijo was a Marxist at that time. I don’t know if he still is or has changed as many of us old Marxists have said goodbye to our once favorite ideology of Marxism. During my last meeting with him at his residence in Naseem Nagar in 2005, he came across as neither a Marxist nor a Maoist. He didn’t mention either of them in his analysis. He sounded like a populist Sindhi nationalist political leader.

Palijo is considered to be a great tactician but sometimes he is caught in his own tactics and faces failure. Many times he has stumbled and fallen down but he has good stamina to rise up again and start a fresh. He is very swift in changing tactics and at that moment he never cares about the principles. Any way lets talk of his life of the earlier period of 1960s. As a politician, you will see his glimpses many times in my memoir.

In 1960s, Palijo was General Secretary, National Awami Party (NAP), Hyderabad City. NAP at that time was the open united front of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) headed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan.

Continue reading Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

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

‘Davis released in accordance with Shariah law’: Now why are they upset? What’s their morality & legality & how can they demonstrate against the Islamic Shariah law, protesting against Qasas & diyat, sounds like blasphemy according to their own rules. Otherwise liberel forces have always demanded review of these kind of laws.

Davis released in accordance with Shariah law

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the payment of blood money (Diyat) in accordance with Shariah Law.

Speaking on or show on PTV, she said that it was the federal government had already taken the stance that the matter would be decided by the court of law.

She said that according to the settlement, the families of the Lahore shooting victims pardoned Davis, after receiving the blood money.

The minister said that the Raymond Davis case was registered and carried out in the Punjab court and Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah verified the settlement as well.

“If he speaks against his own party’s policy or decision, It was his legal right”, she remarked. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Losing the battle for Pakistan

by Sher Ali Khan

A few days ago, the progressive-leaning parliamentarian Shabaz Bhatti was shot down in cold blood for advocating a moderated stance against a draconian law in Pakistan. The changing societal dynamics comes in the backdrop of a struggling democratic government, which is failing to assert itself for Pakistan’s survival.

It was almost a month ago when I wrote a report for the Express Tribune about the Christian community yearning for a ‘more tolerant’ Lahore. After exploring various pockets of the society, it was sad to see that the community had become insolent and rather afraid to even interact with general population.

If one spoke to historians regarding the character of Lahore say not sixty but thirty years ago, one would have found a completely different social structure in Lahore. Though Islam had rapidly become a majority entity, communal activities were not exclusive rather they were inclusive.

The story of Pakistan’s road down the conception of Islamic state has only hardened differences between various communities to the point Pakistanis cannot be considered Pakistanis without obeying to a certain brands of Islam.

For years, the army and the ISI have provided safe havens for militant groups as part of a greater plan to maintain a strategic and military presence in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is clear with the confirmed death of Colonel Imam, the so-called father of the Taliban that the dynamics of these relationships have changed over time. Increasingly these militant groups have become rouge thus functioning beyond the scope of the state. …

Read more : View Point