Report by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
On Friday, March 20, 2009, the World Sindhi Institute (WSI) organized an international seminar on the topic of “Federalism and Democracy – Pakistan’s Experience and Challenges” at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC… The very well-known expert on Pakistan affairs, Mr. Stephen Cohen (Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution) attended the seminar and made brief comments.
A report of this meeting based on the notes that I took at the meeting is shared with you below and I hope you would find it worthy of inclusion in Indus Asia Online Journal.
By: Prof. Nadeem Jamali, Canada
Let’s not get too excited too quickly. PPP-PML(N) collaboration doesn’t end Kalabagh and other dams planned on the Indus. It doesn’t restore the Sindhi language to its rightful status in Sindh. It doesn’t end Punjab’s dependence on Sindh’s resources. It doesn’t take apart army that doesn’t leave any money for health care and education, in order to pay salaries to and build empires for otherwise unemployable Punjabis.
The conflict between Sindh and Punjab is rooted in large part in a natural competition for resources. Punjab, being the one with fewer resources (in per capita terms) covets Sindh’s riches. Precisely because Punjab is not rich in many resources, it has a good supply of desperate people who are happy to move to other lands to feed themselves, or to be foot soldiers of a mercenary army. With this army, and with its hordes of economic immigrants, Punjab occupies Sindh (and Balochistan) , and takes whatever it wants. That is the relationship between Sindh and Punjab.
Sindh and Punjab will have this competition so long as they are contiguous nations. Punjab will always covet Sindh’s waters and other resources. Until Sindh wins freedom, Punjab will always steal from Sindh. Punjab will steal because it can. The saying “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies. And Punjab will also steal because it needs to. Punjab’s population has skyrocketed in the last sixty years. If it stops stealing from Sindh and Balochistan, Punjab’s population will starve.
There is no way for Sindhis to satisfy Punjab’s need and greed except by starving themselves. And Punjab cannot give Sindhis their rights except by starving its poorest. Some nations are richer than others just as some individuals are richer than others. A poorer nation does not have a right to occupy a richer nation and steal from it until both are equally poor or it becomes richer than the latter. Until Sindh wins freedom, Punjab will continue to be Sindh’s occupier, and consequently, Sindh’s enemy. The only path for Sindh toward becoming Punjab’s friend is through winning freedom from Punjab’s occupation. Until then, it is a war of freedom in which honorable Sindhis will fight on Sindh’s behalf.
by Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh
1-Sindhi along with Seraiki, Punjabi, Balochi and Pushto should be declared a national language of Pakistan. (The present national language of Pakistan is the Mother tongue of only 7% population of the Pakistanis)
2-All national identity cards and passports in Sindh should be issued in Sindhi.
3-Coins and banknotes of various denominations should be published in Sindhi along with other national languages.
4-All signboards and milestones of Pakistan Railways and National Highway Authority in Sindh should be written in Sindhi. (The Civil Aviation Authority should display welcoming banners in Sindhi at all airports in Sindh. The PIA should make arrival and departure announcements in Sindhi as thousands of Sindhis are using the airline daily.
5-All federal bodies in Sindh and all departments of the Sindh government should use Sindhi for official communication. (Ministers should display their name plates in Sindhi)
6-Sindhi members of the Sindh Assembly should make speeches and table bills in Sindhi. The finance minister should make his budget speech in Sindhi. (It seems Sindhi lawmakers are the worst victims of the linguistic chauvinism. One visit to the Sindh Assembly shows how Sindhi legislators are talking in as they were members of Utter Pradesh Assembly.
7-All closed Sindhi-medium schools and colleges in Karachi, Sindh should be reopened.
8-All court proceedings right from civil to high courts should be held in Sindhi. Records should also be maintained in Sindhi.
9-All national and multinational companies, including those of pharmaceutical manufactures, should be asked to produce literature in Sindhi. Otherwise, their products should be boycotted.
10-Elite Sindhis should be asked to talk to their children in Sindhi.
19 Feb. 2009.