Tag Archives: Resources

Demand for referendum to seek views of Sindhis on ‘independence’

By: Daily Dawn report

SINDH: KARACHI, May 25: The Jeay Sindh Mahaz, alleging that resources of the province had been snatched from the Sindhis and outsiders were being brought in to turn the natives into a minority, demanded on Saturday that a referendum be held to determine if the Sindhis wanted to live in the present set-up or wished independence.

Speaking at a rally titled ‘Right of self-determination: our goal independence’ and organised by the JSM at the Karachi Press Club, JSM chief Abdul Khalique Junejo said that Pakistan came into being on the basis of the Lahore Resolution of 1940 under which sovereign and autonomous status of Sindh and other national units had been accepted, but after independence the country had been diverted in another direction.He alleged that first houses, properties and jobs of Sindhis were snatched, then their factories and lands were taken away and now they were being robbed of their natural resources, their water was being stolen, the Sindhi language was being deprived of its status and Sindhi culture was being humiliated. He said that outsiders were being brought in to turn the Sindhis into a minority on their own land and now some people were even demanding division of Sindh.

He said people were free to come, live and work here, but it should be understood that they would not be allowed to rule over Sindh — a right only the Sindhis had. He said Karachi is the capital and an integral part of Sindh and belonged to the Sindhis.

He said that keeping in view the situation it was high time that a sovereign status of Sindh be accepted and the right of self-determination — accepted by the United Nations as well as the Pakistan Resolution — of the Sindhis be given to them. He demanded that a referendum be held to know if the Sindhis wanted to live in the present set-up or wanted independence. Usman Baloch of the Awami Workers Party demanded that rights of the Sindhis be accepted.

Continue reading Demand for referendum to seek views of Sindhis on ‘independence’

23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

Long live Sindh Long live Sain GM Syed − The heirs of Sindh, My dear sisters and brethren! − I welcome you all cordially who came here from nook and corner for gathering in the capital city Karachi which is not only capital city but the heart of Sindh. − − عمر يست ڪه آواز منصور ڪهن شد − من از سرنو جلوه دهم دارو رسن را − (Time has elapsed that the voice of Mansoor has been obsolete; I want to re-embellish ropes and hang) − Sons of Sindh! − Pakistan has never been a country in any episode of history but the Sindh has remained such a motherland since thousands of years and has been bestowed with bounty of natural resources including fertile agricultural lands, roaring Indus River and coastal belt. Therefore the populace of Sindh has been the custodians of civilization when it was newly evolving elsewhere. − Out of excavation of Moen-Jo-Daro it reveals that the Sindh has traversed the different periods of olden civilizations since the period of Euphrates, Samaritans and Babylons. Comparative it was more civilized and prosperous then the contemporary civilizations of that period.

Continue reading 23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

Today the Baloch nation is observing black day, I cry with the Balochs?

27 March I celebrate or I cry with the Baloch? – by Salma Jafar

Today the Baloch nation is observing black day to mark its annexation to Pakistan. For me it is not a black day it is a day I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate because it gave me the occasion to grow up with these lovely people known as the Baloch. I want to celebrate my Baloch friends, my Baloch students, my Baloch relatives and many of them are my Baloch family. Had it not been for 27th March I wouldn’t have been a part of the Baloch culture, the Baloch music, the Baloch valour, the Baloch courage and the Baloch tolerance that when combined with the culture and valour of my own nation Pashtuns becomes the most beautiful combination ever. We have lived together, suffered togther hoped together, despaired together, dreamed together, and at times have been nasty to each other too – in this Baloch-Pashtun land. Well I would never want to live without them. So I don’t support Baloch independence for this very selfish reason of mine.

But yet the bitter-bitter truth is that for Baloch this is not a day of celebration it is a black day; by definition a day when something really bad and unpleasant has happened. They are observing it as a black day for being a part of Pakistan. They are angry and estranged and want freedom but why? Am not going to delve into the theory of forced annexation here but would share how Baloch have been treated, (I will today not say Balochistan as that covers Pashtun areas also and despite that Pashtuns have suffered equally but today is not our day) they have been treated as slaves (I hate to use this word but this is what Baloch think and feel) who should only obey the orders of their masters; in this case of course Punjab who has been running the shots. Unfortunately they didn’t understand the Baloch psychology they are not born to take orders or take dictations it is not in them. And that too not for any welfare but to usurp rights and carry out injustice. Balochistan is a dismal picture of social injustice all over. But if you visit the Baloch areas which I have; your definition of poverty and misery will change. People are subjugated to primitive lives with no development whatsoever.

But the Baloch did not ask you to give them anything; all they demanded is their right to their own resources. As if denying them that right and pushing them into abject poverty, illiteracy and disease was not enough the atrocious state bombarded them if they asked for controlling their own resources and controlling their own destinies, this is all they asked for; and bombarded them again and again and again. Trying new tactic to subjugate them further for last several years started the kill and dump policy, where young activists are picked up and after some time their dead mutilated bodies are found. There has been no end to this horrific game whereby hundreds of Baloch have been killed and dumped, many of them target killed and thousands are still missing; the internally displaced persons as a result of this conflict are mere refugees as the state has not granted them a refugee status to access humanitarian response; only cause they are Baloch. Raising voice for the Baloch is considered treachery by those in power; yes camouflaged as democrats.

What adds insult to injury is that amidst this very dreadful background Balochistan discourse remains as an economic and political discourse for most. There is a violent and ferocious insurgency going on in Balochistan; the Baloch are being shut up by killing them and they are killing in return too – their demand is now independence.

The wounds and scars of the Baloch are deep and the pain and agony are hard to touch – their silent screams I can hear; and a tear I shed with a prayer for their pain to end.

Courtesy: LUBP

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

DAWN – “No peace in Balochistan without referendum” – Eddie Walsh

The hearing showed that there will be no peace in the region without a referendum of self-determination. That cannot be ignored.”

As the sole witness of Baloch ethnicity to speak at the recent Balochistan hearing before the United States Congress, M. Hossein Bor disagrees with comments that he was not relevant to the proceedings.

Not only was he the only witness able to speak as a Baloch, he points out that he also was the only one with deep subject matter expertise in foreign trade and investment in Southwest Asia. From this perspective, he hoped his testimony would have shed light on the unrealised strategic and economic opportunities that an independent Balochistan would provide to Americans, including the ability to contain a rising China and an emerging Iran, prevent an adversarial Pakistan from achieving strategic depth in Afghanistan, and ensure Baloch-American economic prosperity through new energy and mineral resource agreements. However, with little time to prepare for the hearing and only five minutes of allotted time to provide oral testimony, many of these points were not expressed. Bor therefore looks to this post-hearing assessment as a mechanism to share publicly for the first time what he has shared privately with Baloch nationalists and their supporters. As one of the five witnesses called before Congress, it is assured that these remarks will be closely watched by all side to the Baloch debate.

Great Game 2.0

To understand Balochistan, Bor believes that one cannot look at Pakistan’s largest province through the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) box. In retrospect, this is perhaps one of the strongest contributions that he could have made at the hearing.

Continue reading DAWN – “No peace in Balochistan without referendum” – Eddie Walsh

Retaliation for the assassination of Bugti’s grand daughter and great grand daughter?

Pakistan: 11 Soldiers Killed In Battle With Baluch Militants

By RFE/RL

QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say militants in the southwestern Baluchistan Province have killed 11 soldiers in an attack.

A senior official in Pakistan’s military said two Frontier Corps posts near coal mines came under attack in the Margut area about 60 kilometers east of Quetta.

RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal’s correspondent in Quetta reports that an ethnic Baluch separatist group called the Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

That group is comprised of members of the Bugti and Marri clans in the area to the east of Quetta.

They have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan’s oil, gas, and mineral resources.

More than 30 members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps have been killed in Baluchistan Province during the past three weeks in clashes with Baluch rebels.

Courtesy: Rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/soldiers_killed_by_baluch_rebels_in_pakistan/24470002.html

Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights

Recent Decisions Uphold Discrimination, Exploitation of Occupied Territory

(Jerusalem) – Recent decisions by Israel’s high court aim to legitimize clear violations of Israel’s international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. In one decision, the court disregarded international law prohibiting discrimination, and in another, it ignored international law on the use of resources in an occupied territory. Israel should annul a law preventing Israeli citizens from living with their Palestinian spouses and end policies that permit private Israeli companies to strip rocks and other construction materials from quarries in the occupied West Bank for their own economic gain.

“With these rulings, Israel’s highest court has veered seriously off course in serving as a final bastion for upholding human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “For the system of legal checks against rights abuses to break down like this is one more indication of the unraveling of protections for rights and freedom in Israel.” ….

Read more » Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Benazir Bhutto on Pakistan’s Military Establishment and how the Generals undermine Democracy

From Syed Ali Dayan Hasan in London

The security apparatus has run amok

In her most candid interview since 1988, Benazir Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, reveals the extent to which successive civilian governments have been held hostage, and destabilised, by the ‘securityapparatus’ of the military. Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP — the single largest political party of the country — explains the helplessness of civilian governments in the face of Intelligence-inspired disinformation on the one hand, and ideologically motivated illegal activities of ‘rogue elements’ of the army on the other. She argues that the security apparatus of the country is out of control and that no government can hope to function smoothly unless these elements are brought under a formalised command structure that prevents them from taking on the role of a state within a state. There is much evidence to support Bhutto’s claims, including that of her adversaries — General Aslam Beg, General Hameed Gul and General Asad Durrani — all of whom conspired against civilian governments and have repeatedly gone on record to admit as much. “Blaming politicians alone for tarnishing democracy is actually less than half the story,” argues Bhutto. Here, she explains why.

Q. What do you think is the basic problem with civil-military relations?

A. The inability of the military tobow before the people’s will.

Q. Why is that?

A. The military’s view on security and government is at variance with the popular will. Pakistan is a federation but the armed forces distrust provincial units. They are scared of giving up power.

Q. So, what is the solution to this impasse in civil-military relations?

A. Either we have democracy or dictatorship. The military seeks a dictatorship or a controlled democracy to continue with their security agenda. They need the centralised state and a diversion of resources for that security agenda. For the first time, they are realising the difficulty of running the ship of state. I believe the solution lies in democracy and devolution. We should return to the roots of the Quaid. He founded Pakistan on the principles of federalism, autonomy and freedom. If we revert to this dream, we might devolve more power but we will be more secure.

Q. How has the army managed to present a discredited image of political figures, including you?

A. I dispute that they have succeeded but I agree that they have tried. There are two factors that explain this. One, political institutions are weak and have financial resources and organisational ability. Also, they are unable to communicate freely with the masses. This is because genuine political forces have been continually hunted by the establishment, and when you are constantly hunted, you have little time to organise. Second, because the army does give power to some politicians, it has divided the civilian popular base by holding out to those who cannot win — the promise of power without legitimacy.

Q. You have presided twice over a controlled democracy.What have you learnt from the experience?

A. There is a tendency in Pakistan, due to military dictatorships and one-man rule, to think that one person can make allthe difference. But in a democratic system, it is not just one person that makes a difference. A democratic, such as myself, functions within the confines of the constitution. We need a civic consensus on what a constitution should be and what constitutes freedom and plurality. I had to work on the mandate I was given and that is why I say that we did not achieve much. I had to work with the 8th amendment and a president who could sack the prime minister. In other words, some elements in the intelligence agencies used the president when they felt I was becoming too powerful. They never allowed us enough time to elect members of the senate which would have made my partyand the democratic forces — stronger. The real solution lies not with any individual. I can only give a clarion call. Then it depends on the masses whether they rally around that call to say that they want a constitution based on the supremacy of the will of the people and that the prime minister and parliament must determine national security and not the military.

Q. But then, if you had commanded a two-thirds majority and could have amended the constitution, a coup would have taken place against you ….

Read more » Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78809888/Benazir-Bhutto-on-Pakistan-s-Military-Establishment-and-how-the-Generals-undermine-Democracy#source:facebook

Marvi Sirmed remembers the day they killed Benazir Bhutto

BAAGHI: Remembering Benazir Bhutto, personally! – By Marvi Sirmed

One wonders what potent challenge she posed to the establishment that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP

“Is she okay?” I was screaming at the top of my voice on the phone with my husband while madly driving towards General Hospital, Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. “It is over, Marvi,” my husband cried and the line disconnected. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan, had paid the highest price anyone could ever pay for continuing to engage with people and carrying on with the democratic process.

It has been four years since BB, as she was commonly called, has left us but there has not been a single moment in the crisis-ridden politics of Pakistan that she was not missed. Without going into the achievements and failures of her governments, I just want to remember her as she was — a strong leader with a political vision not paralleled by any living politician. The struggle that she chose for herself when she was just 23 years of age was not an ordinary one. At a broader level it entailed dealing with an all-powerful military dictator, being imprisoned and later exiled, losing family, organising the most popular political party of the country during the worst times of persecution, etc.

At a personal level it posed many additional challenges to a young Pinky. Her being a woman never hindered her; so much so that when the forces opposing her tried to use her biology against her, she turned it around. When she was expecting Bilawal, they announced elections around the dates they thought she would be in maternity. I cannot forget her coming to the political rallies with her intravenous drip in her hands. She later wrote in her book, Daughter of the East: An Autobiography, that Begum Nusrat Bhutto, her mother, had advised her to never let her physiological issues come in her way. When she was expecting Bakhtawar during her premiership, the crisis was once again carefully chosen to coincide with the dates of her delivery. She did not make herself absent from her office for more than 48 hours.

All through her political life, she struggled against the hegemony of the oppressive deep state that used every jape that they could, and from right-wing rhetoric that was nauseatingly misogynist and anti-people. From scandalous attacks on her character, assaulting family, facilitating all odd political characters of the country that had only one common thread among them — hatred of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Bhuttos — the establishment put to use every antic. What they could not do was separate BB and the people. When I was growing up, I did not understand the love people had for her. I was in high school when BB came to power for the first time. I did not even pass my higher secondary when her government was dismissed on charges of corruption. Like every youngster, I hated corruption but was amazed to see people from the lowest of the lower strata who were crazy for BB and her PPP. In an industrial exhibition in Lahore, I met an artisan woman selling her handmade fans. She had woven BB’s picture on one of the hand-fans. She broke into tears while telling me how every cruel oppressor in this country has joined hands to bring BB down.

At the Lok Virsa last year, I met a family from southern Punjab who had brought their snakes and were showing snake tricks to earn meagre money. One of their children was wearing a locket bearing BB’s picture. The woman of the family was swearing against Musharraf, the army, feudals and extremists who had snatched their beloved leader. The anger in her voice was so intense that I for once thought she must be a blood relative of BB. She was not.

I recall women of my own family when BB took oath as the prime minister in 1988. My family, being a landholding Punjabi orthodox religious family, has been strongly against a progressive and socialist Bhutto. The men in our family frequently borrowed right-wing arguments against a woman head of the government being un-Islamic, while equally conservative and religious women including my grandmother vociferously confronted the argument. It was amazing to see these women drawing power from a woman prime minister with whose political views they did not even agree. Our village women, very conservative in religious and cultural views and who were made to believe that the PPP was an anti-religion party, could not help loving BB. Women, I can still remember, got new dreams of playing a powerful role in society.

Her struggle did not end when her party came to office in 1988. Seeking office was incomplete without power, which still rested with the all-powerful establishment that had delayed nominating her as prime minister despite her party’s clear majority. They did never rest after that. One wonders what potent challenge she posed to them that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP. Her clear-headed vision that led the country throughout the years of crisis distinguished her from the rest of the lot who started appearing pygmies in front of her.

My last meeting with her was in November 2007 when she calmly heard our criticism on various recent decisions that we thought would give a lease of life to a dictator. How patiently she heard, how diligently she took notes and how sagaciously she responded to every single concern of ours. When she arrived in October 2007, she had changed in many ways. One could see the strength of her resolve seeing a sea of people ready to sacrifice their lives for her. Despite strict security warnings, she would not stop from going to the hospital to visit the survivors of the October 18 terrorist attack on her rally.

Prior to that, she was the only leader among the entire bunch of expedient politicians of Pakistan who spoke openly against terrorists and their apologists. She was the only leader who tried to lead people’s opinion against the militants who had forced the tragedy of Laal Masjid (Red Mosque), instead of criticising the military action against the militants or terming the Laal Masjid militants as ‘innocent students’ like almost every politician did.

The unusual courage she displayed was not without a vision of possible consequences. She knew the price she might have to pay. Nothing deterred her. She went on and lived up to every challenge. And boy, what a life she lived! Salutes to a leader par excellence, to a woman with unfathomable courage and resolve, to a politician of exemplary vision, to a committed democrat who never failed the test of pragmatic and inclusive politics. Rest in peace BB. Pakistan misses you.

The writer is an Islamabad-based commentator on counterterrorism, social and political issues. She can be reached at marvisirmed@me.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/marvisirmed

Courtesy » Daily Times

Millions at risk in Sindh

Millions at risk: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then seek aid says WFP

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then get the attention of the international community, stressed the World Food Programme’s Ramiro Lopes da Silva on Monday, while warning that millions of lives are at stake in Sindh unless more attention is paid to mobilising resources.

The situation is alarming but hasn’t received the attention it deserves, the deputy executive director remarked at a press briefing on Monday. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

False nationalism

By S. Akbar Zaidi

THE comprador, clientelist military of a clientelist state has suddenly found its own sense of pride and nationalism. A military which has been critically dependent on US aid for far too many years has now turned around to say that it will ‘rely on domestic resources’ to make up for the $800m cut, or threat of a cut, by the Americans.

Given the nature of the political economy of Pakistan and of its military, at a time of a fiscal crisis in the state, this is a serious joke.

The amusing part of this newfound, false nationalism of Pakistan’s military is that the latter has not in the past ever said ‘no’ to US or any other aid, and nor has it said that it will ‘rely on domestic resources’. This has been said by all civilian governments, in jest of course, whenever they were denied financial assistance, but this is the first time that Pakistan’s armed forces have woken up to their own very compromised, comprador status. Moreover, just to underscore how false such statements are, one needs to be reminded that the $800m which might be cut is a mere one-third of what the US is to give Pakistan’s military this year. The remaining $1.6bn which Pakistan’s military (and not Pakistan’s government — a critical distinction) receives, will of course be utilised in the way the Americans demand of Pakistan’s military.

One needs to explain and emphasise the nature and extent of US military aid to Pakistan’s military to highlight how critical this has been to Pakistan’s army, a fact which will show why this newfound nationalism is so false and such a joke. For instance, just in the period since 2001, over the course of what was called the war on terror, the US gave the government (or the country) of Pakistan $12.14bn over 2002-09. Of this, as much as $8.91bn, or 73 per cent, was classified as ‘security-related’ aid to Pakistan, most of which was given as part of the services provided by Pakistan’s military, as part of the Coalition Support Funds. Clearly, the Bush-Musharraf relationship was largely the US providing aid to Pakistan’s military, and not to its people.

It was only after the change of government in both countries that the nature of the aid-giving relationship with Pakistan changed. Once the Obama administration took over and the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act was passed there was a considerable shift towards non-military aid to Pakistan. In 2009 and 2010, as much as $6.61bn was authorised by the US administration, although not all of it was disbursed. Of this, as much as 44 per cent was meant as non-military aid, for economic-related purposes, a huge, and critical, shift compared to the past.

What these numbers show is that a considerable part of assistance from the US to ‘Pakistan’, has actually come to Pakistan’s military. To emphasise this point further, if we look at the current fiscal year, the US is said to have earlier promised $2.4bn specifically marked as assistance to Pakistan’s military or military aid.

In the same year, the Government of Pakistan in the budget, allocated Rs495bn to the military. Hence, the US taxpayer was funding the equivalent of (or an additional) 41 per cent of what the Pakistani taxpayer was providing. By all accounts, a very considerable amount and a significant proportion of expenditure by, and on, Pakistan’s military. Pakistan’s military is still critically dependent on US aid.

The second consequence of the statement by the Pakistan military, of relying on ‘our own resources’, is equally troubling. First of all, ‘our’ resources are in particularly bad shape, thanks mainly to a huge military budget over the years ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Pakistan could “pull troops Afghan from border” if U.S. cuts aid

By Zeeshan Haider

Islamabad : (Reuters) – Pakistan could pull back troops fighting Islamist militants near the Afghan border if the United States cuts off aid, the defense minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Pakistani media.

The United States Monday said it would hold back $800 million — a third of nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan — in a show of displeasure over Pakistan’s removal of U.S. military trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

“If at all things become difficult, we will just get all our forces back,” Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said in an interview with the Express 24/7 television to be aired later on Tuesday.

The television aired excerpts of the interview Tuesday.

“If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay,” he said. “I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period.”

In Pakistan, the defense minister is relatively powerless. Real defense and military policy is made by the powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Monday, the military said it could do without U.S. assistance by depending on its own resources or turning to “all-weather friend” China.

Mukhtar later told Reuters Pakistan wanted the money spent on the maintenance of the army in the tribal areas. “This is what we are demanding,” he said. “It is our own money.” ….

Read more → REUTERS

Pakistan’s ‘secret’ war

Author: Karlos Zurutuza, Balochistan
Editor: Rob Mudge

Excerpt:

Armed groups of Balochs in southwest Pakistan are gaining momentum at a critical point for the country’s future. Deutsche Welle looks at the phenomenon which presents yet another problem in the troubled region.

A province marked by floods and images of burned-out NATO tankers, Balochistan is the land of the Baloch, who today see their country in southwest Asia divided by the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Balochistan is the size of France and boasts enormous reserves of gas, gold and copper, as well as untapped sources of oil and uranium. The exploitation of these natural resources in combination with repressive and discriminatory state-run policies have led to armed uprisings in the region.

In his book “Descent into Chaos,” best-selling writer and renowned Afghanistan commentator, Ahmed Rashid, says that the Baloch have instigated five insurgent uprisings to date. These insurgents take shelter in the rugged mountains of southern Pakistan and across the border, in Afghanistan.

The Baloch insurgents in Pakistan are fragmented into several groups: the BLA (Baloch Liberation Army), the BRA (Baloch Republican Army), the BLF (Baloch Liberation Front) and Lashkar-e Balochistan (Balochistan’s army). Several analysts say this fragmentation reflects the tribal element among the Baloch. Accordingly, the BLA, BRA and Lashkar-e Balochistan are led by the local main clans of the Marris, the Bugtis and the Mengals respectively, while the BLF is a more heterogeneous movement.

Despite the apparent fracture, all these groups are markedly secular movements – at odds with the Taliban – who share a common agenda focusing on the independence of Balochistan. They organize their actions around guerrilla attacks, primarily against military targets and government infrastructures like gas pipelines.

Growing discontent

“Given that parliamentary politics is a fake option for us, we are forced to make politics with weapons. Since the partition of India in 1947, we have had to chose between slavery and death,” Khair Bux Marri told Deutsche Welle from his residence in Karachi. The 90-year old Marri is the leader of the biggest Baloch tribe. His life-long struggle against Pakistan has taken him from years of exile in Afghanistan to terms in Pakistani prisons.

His son, Balaach Marri, led the BLA and was killed in 2007 by the Pakistani army. The portrait of this guerrilla leader, wearing a Baloch cap and holding an assault rifle, is almost ubiquitous in Pakistani-controlled Balochistan and can often be spotted alongside Hayrbyar’s, his younger brother, also considered to be a “national hero” by many Baloch.

From his London exile, Hayrbyar Marri calls for the independence of Balochistan and defends the right of “self defence” by his people. When asked about a possible dialogue with Islamabad, he is categorical. “There’s only one thing to negotiate with Islamabad and that’s the immediate pull-out of their occupation troops,” he told Deutsche Welle from his house in London. ….

Harrison also said that the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan enjoys sympathies in the neighboring Sindh province which, according to the journalist, “has brought back the ancient dream of a state or a Sindhi-Balochistan federation extending along the Arabian Sea, from Iran to India.”

Read more: Deutsche Welle

A political revolution

By Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The passage of the 18th Amendment has set into motion, a remarkable, though slow, political revolution in restructuring Pakistan’s polity. This is far more momentous than restoring the parliamentary character of the constitution, or even granting provincial autonomy. The word autonomy cannot capture the true letter and spirit of the new federalism that is unfolding before us. Rather, it is about remodelling Pakistan’s political system according to a new principle of distribution of power, with the provinces as new centres of authority, power and resources.

Thinking of provinces as new centres of power and laying something down into the constitution to make them powerful, runs counter to both, the colonial tradition of supervising political evolution, and the centralised state and nation-building strategy followed for the past six decades. It goes to the credit of political parties and their leadership that they have realised that the old ways of governing Pakistan have failed and they needed to give a greater part of the power and resources of the centre, which had grown arrogant, paternalistic and insensitive to the provinces.

This structural change in the political order has created new conditions in which some groups and sections are bound to lose, while others will make gains. Who loses and who gains is an issue that will greatly impact the ongoing process of shifting power to the provinces, as the old, deeply entrenched political and bureaucratic groups fight to the last to save their little turfs and fiefdoms. In our case, the federal bureaucracy is the loser, as it cannot hope to rule the provinces under the guise of national integration, solidarity and security anymore. It will take a great deal of internal reflection on the part of the federal bureaucracy, as well as time, to adjust to the power shift. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

The ‘wealthy’ Pakistani generals

Pakistan has had a turbulent history. And it remains in turmoil with growing internal instability and rising conflicts with its neighbours. Despite the return to civilian rule, the politics of the country has remained closely linked to the military, one of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions. The generals while projecting their utility are virtually in control. Interestingly, while Pakistan suffers economic difficulties, frequent political crises and issues like unemployment, illiteracy and malnutrition, the top brass of the army is making huge amounts of money through the corporate sector and controls large tracts of real estate. The Auditor General of Pakistan revealed that the army is using government land falling in A-1 category worth 1.4 billion USD (Rs. 120.767 billion) for commercial purposes.

The one & only political party of Pakistan which has almost 7 Lacs (seven hundered thousands) armed & trained members paid by govt from tax payers money. “Army forcibly takes its resources from civilians”. It will tell you why politicians are weak in this country.  un ki koi sunta hi nahi.

Courtesy: via- Siasat.pkSouth Asia News – You Tube

Over centralized HEC Hurt Sindhis by Denying them

by Saghir Shaikh

Affirmative action is needed in Pakistan. Sindhis have been historically discriminated. All affairs involving money and distribution or resources must be governed by provincial resources. If implemented on just basis and if Sindh and Sindhis get their due share in resources, we will be much ahead.

Javaid Laghari is a great son of Sindh and has done a lot for Sindh and Sindhis and overall academic situation in Sindh and Pakistan.

However, we support the breakup of Higher Education Commission (HEC). Any structure under federal command – supported by constitution – means inequitable share to Sindh and Baluchistan, that is sad reality of status quo. Yes ‘merit’ has value in different context.

Pakistan historically deprives Sindh by stealing it resources, discriminating its rural population for decades since its inception creating almost an economic apartheid among South and North (of Pakistan). How can we expect that in this apartheid system rural folks are going to compete!

Local Sindh government will be corrupt and yes it will be manipulated from …, there is no doubt about it – these are valid arguments and I have my take on it. But please do not use the argument of merit and justice with Sindhis. And obviously criticism on HEC is never about its chief, but the inherent limitation of centralized illegal federal structure. If I was made HEC chair today I will not be able to keep justice to its spirit! Because system is unjust to its core!

Anyway, let us hope that HEC and all other institutions get transferred to provinces and than we can start a new struggle on improving our own house.

One caution – devolution does not mean we will get our due share from Islamabad (Punjab). That is another Himalayan task to get a fair share in terms of finance!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 12 April, 2011.

Sindh has been robbed literally due to the “Policy of Centralization” in the name of Islam and Pakistan

HEC’s devolution to provinces opposed

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

In my opinion, the recent decision by the Pakistani Government to devolve HEC into provincial HECs is overdue and must be carried out. As a matter of fact, I recommend to Dr. Javaid Laghari to not only support this decision but also help to ensure that it is implemented fully and that he should assume the role of Sindh HEC and make it one the best educational institutions in Pakistan and in the world as he did with ZABIST.

I do not know of any federal-level powerful higher education authorities in any federal state in the world as we have in Pakistan. Using the name of Islam and Pakistan, the establishment of Pakistan has been imposing unnecessary and inefficient centralization on the provinces/ States/ Republics. The tool of “centralization” has been used to discriminate and exploit smaller provinces and usurp resources of Sindh and Balochistan for the benefit of other provinces. Neither Canada has a federal HEC nor USA and other democratic and federal countries have created such institutions. In other countries where a federal-level commissions exist, their role is very limited and constrained to advise on standards.

The reason that Sindh’s Education Ministry is inefficient has no relevance whether or not Pakistan’s HEC should be devolved. The federal Education Ministry and HEC both have history of discrimination against Sindhis and denying due share in educational opportunities in Pakistan. The same rational of inefficiency is given for centralized control of Sindh’s resource industries such as coal, oil, gas, and ports.

The fact that few Vice Chancellors and educationalists from Sindh do not support devolution of HEC is the same as some pro one-unit establishment organs gave when the people of Sindh, Balochistan, and Pakhtunkhwa demanded dissolution of one unit. Such pronouncement did not succeed then and they will not stop devolution of HEC and other federal agencies and departments returning them into their provincial jurisdictions.

As a highly super centralized state, Pakistan is increasingly failing and is now considered one of worse countries on most human development factors. It is time that it’s setup is reorganized on the basis of the 1940 Resolutions, which is the fundamental principle for various provinces/ States/ Republics to join Pakistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 27, 2011.

Pakistan: Where the generals play & people pay!

The natural consequences – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The unbridled expenditure on militaries and weapons by countries to create ‘national security states’ not only promotes war-mongering and indiscriminate use of force but also leaves people perpetually tottering on the brink of an abyss. This folly is akin to credit card use: carefree fun initially and desperation at payback time. Unfortunately, it is the innocents who pay the price with interest while big guns find refuge in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The madness of diverting resources primarily towards military strength cannot be achieved without disregard for people’s rights. Such countries are essentially internally repressive and jingoistic in external relations. Naturally, the countries that neglect the human suffering dimensions of their waste of resources not only lag behind but start regressing, slowly becoming derelict and decrepit. …

Read more : Daily Times

Injustices in Pakistan: Startling Disclosures of Federal Employment Figures

 

By Aziz Narejo

 

Sindhis and Baloch have been complaining about injustices to them since the inception of Pakistan. Be it the distribution of resources, apportionment in budget, provincial autonomy, water rights, share in economic development, expenditure in social sectors, education, health and infrastructure development, their involvement in the decision making process or their share in the military, the most powerful institution in the country, they are ignored everywhere. Their cries are never heard or even noticed at the highest levels.

It is even more unfortunate that the so-called human rights advocates, champions of the civil society, the ‘democratic forces’ and others proclaiming to be on the side of fairness in society also always ignore the voices from Sindh and Balochistan. After losing all the hope for any positive change, Baloch have finally decided to part ways with Pakistan. If it continues, Sindhis may have to make a decision too. …

Rea more : Indus Herald

Sindh government giving away plots to army!?

[Sindh government giving away plots to army soldiers and their families. 100 acres from Deh Ganjo Takar in Hyderabad and 500 acres from Deh Nagan in Karachi, Sindh. To read the report of Qazi Asif in PakistanToday, CLICK HERE.]

— — — — — — —

by Aziz Narejo, TX

This is a shameful act of Sindh government. They couldn’t give any land to flood affected people in Sindh cities including Karachi but they have land available for people from outside Sindh. It has been happening since the inception of Pakistan. It must stop. People must stand up against it. Sindh should stop being “maal-e-ghaneemat“. All the people of Sindh and all of Pakistan including PPP workers, supporters and voters should oppose this act.

There must be end to it. No government, PPP or anyone else has any right to give away Sindh lands and resources. People must stand up against such acts.

Nothing will change until people speak up and force the rulers to change ways. … It depends how much outraged the people are. If they come out of their homes on this and other such issues, they will see the results – very soon. Times have changed – we haven’t. It is a tragedy.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists.

Islam’s arrested development

– Islam did ancient science brilliantly, but today Muslims lag behind. To catch up, they must demand the freedom to question.

by Pervez Hoodbhoy

The question: Can Islam be reconciled with science?

Material resources are immaterial to the current sorry state of science in Islam. To do science, it is first necessary to accept the key premises underlying science – causality and the absence of divine intervention in physical processes, and a belief in the existence of physical law. Without the scientific method you cannot have science because science is all about objective and rational thinking. Science demands a mindset that incessantly questions and challenges assumptions, not one that relies upon received wisdom. If this condition is not fulfilled, all the money and machines in the world make no difference.

Can Islam accept the premises of science? There are some versions of the religion that can, and others that simply cannot. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

Toronto, Canada : International Center for Peace and Democracy (ICPD) is a Toronto based think tank advocating secular democracy and peace in South Asia . Executive Director of ICPD, Muhammad Mumtaz Khan, who comes from Pakistan, administered Kashmir (PAK), has a thirty-year experience in the field of rights’ advocacy. Currently, he also represents International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) and All Parties National Alliance (APNA) in the European Parliament, North America and the United Nations.

Continue reading SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

Most of the leaders of third world countries on sale, but Pakistan’s ruling elite is exception & it is very lower level satrap and slave

ANALYSIS: Schamlosigkeit! — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

….. Here, our easily purchasable politicians and bureaucrats do not hesitate to barter away their souls and, in Reko Diq’s case, the asking price is not their souls but the easily dispensable rights and future of the Baloch people.

The rights of the Baloch people seem inconsequential to the centre and they flout them with brazenness. Recently, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani minced no words and exposed the immense pressure being put on them by the Prime Minister’s House to allot 70,000 acres in the environs of Hingol National Park to Arab princes for rest and recreation. He emphasised that the Balochistan government had earlier refused this land to a federal security institution because of the local people’s opposition. The Arab princes would do well to remember that in Balochistan they will not enjoy the tranquillity that Cholistan offers because here the people will definitely resist their unwanted presence.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, alone has been allotted hunting permits in Zhob, Ormara, Gwadar, Pasni, Panjgur and Washuk districts. Pakistan is a signatory of the UN Bonn Convention on migratory species, which protects the endangered Houbara Bustard. But expecting respect for ‘bird rights’ where ‘human rights’ suffer immeasurably is infantile fantasy.

The Arab royalty have also been granted tax exemptions for all their property and imports for hunting purposes. The Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) clarified that “similar exemptions were also given to the United Nations, charitable organisations and diplomats”. The Arab rulers certainly qualify as ‘charitable organisations’ for the rulers and politicians here. They give them asylum and plead their case with the US.

The Pakistani politicians and the establishment are very fragile and vulnerable to pressures as is amply proved by the WikiLeaks or rather the ‘Wikitorrents’ that they have turned into. WikiLeaks certainly threatens to sweep away many a reputation and career around the world except perhaps in Pakistan and the Middle East where phenomenally shameless unashamedness or Schamlosigkeit exists as a unique quality in the rulers and establishments; the worse the reputation, the better are the chances of success.

The respect that the Arab princes and rulers accord to the rulers and politicians here is apparent from the choice epithets used for them in WikiLeaks. Some are considered dirty but not dangerous and others are dangerous but not dirty, and yet these shameless people go grovelling to their liege lords like serfs and subjects.

These rulers and politicians and the establishment sacrifice self-respect for material benefits; they cannot be expected to stand up for the rights of the Baloch people over their resources and land. And, moreover, because the Baloch do not expect them to protect their rights, they will resist Tethyan and the Arab princes’ encroachments on their land and resources in the same way that made, in spite of the huge military presence, Amoco Oil Company give up oil exploration in the Marri area in 1974.

To read full article : Daily Times

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

IT’S NOT CORRUPTION WHEN WE DO IT.

by Ghulam Haider

Journalistic corruption is doubly evil because infected columnists and ‘plot-zada’ journalists then collude with corrupt generals, politicians and bureaucrats and aid them in their thievery in the hopes of a few crumbs falling their way.

The institutionalized loot and plunder of state resources, especially the allotment of expensive residential plots to hand-picked Darbari journalists by successive governments to ‘shackle their pens’, has reached unprecedented heights in Pakistan.

The so-called fourth pillar of the state – the press – has been witnessing its foundations reeling under the burden of the ‘legendary journalists’, who do not tire while preaching morality and ethics on electronic and in print media, have become the part of this dirty loot.

Media are considered a watchdog for any society. Journalists are supposed to point out loopholes in the government policies for safeguarding public money and greater public interest. But one wonder if journalists too get themselves involved into dirty plot politics, who would safeguard greater public interest and the interest of tens of teeming millions who are shelterless, jobless, needy and poor, who perhaps deserve far more than those for whom the floodgates of the taxpayers’ money see no limit. …

Read more : ViewPoint

Mankind must abandon earth or face extinction: Hawking

LONDON (AFP) – Mankind’s only chance of long-term survival lies in colonising space, as humans drain Earth of resources and face a terrifying array of new threats, warned British scientist Stephen Hawking on Monday.

“The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” the renowned astrophysicist told the website Big Think, a forum which airs ideas on many subjects from experts.

“Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space,” he added.

He warned that the human race was likely to face an increased number of events that threaten its very existence, as the Cuban missile crisis did in 1962.

The Cold War showdown saw the United States and Soviet Union in a confrontation over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba, near US shores, and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

“We are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history,” said Hawking.

Read more >> YahooNews

WSC Raises issues of Sindh

WSC Raises Appropriation of Water from River Indus and Plunder of Natural Resources of Sindh in Liberation AGM

London- (PR) : World Sindhi Congress raised the appropriation of water from River Indus and plunder of natural resources of Sindh at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Liberation held in London on 24th July 2010. World Sindhi Congress was represented by Dr Haleem Bhatti, Suraiya Makhdoom, and Dr Rubina Greenwood.

Continue reading WSC Raises issues of Sindh

Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!

Khalid Hashmani

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA
About the author: Khalid Hashmani is a veteran human rights activist in Washington DC. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhis. He can be reached at khashmani@hotmail.com
Rich with Oil and Gas but most backward area in Asia, the province of Sindh is the largest producer of oil and gas in Pakistan and yet it suffers one of the worst poverty levels in Asia. It produces 71 per cent of gas and 61 per cent of oil production in Pakistan. The daily production of oil and gas in Sindh is about 67,140 barrels and 3.99 billion cubic feet respectively. Yet most reports by organizations such as the World Bank call the rural areas of Sindh as most under-developed and deprived. A New York Times book review of a titled “A New Deal in Pakistan” by William Dalrymple (http://www.nybooks. com/articles/ 21194) says the following about Sindh:
“.. in fact, it is one of the most backward areas in all of Asia. Whatever index of development you choose to dwell on-literacy, health care provision, daily income, or numbers living below the poverty line-rural Sindh comes bumping along close to the bottom”.
Over-Centralization in Pakistan denies provincial rights
The plight of Sindh is due to over-centralization and exploitative policies of the central Pakistani government. The central government of Pakistan has usurped all revenue and income resources of the country including almost all forms of taxes and income earned from natural resources such as oil, gas, and coal.

Continue reading Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!