Tag Archives: tolerance

Pakistan is tolerate society and one of the least racist countries in the world: Survey

Pakistan one of the least racist countries in the world: Survey

Pakistan has been ranked as one of the least racist countries in the world, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Data tabulated from the World Values Survey, compiled by two Swedish economists, implied that Pakistanis was among the more racially tolerant countries.

The surveyors asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify the sorts of people they would not wish to have as neighbours. Some replied, “people of a different race.” It was concluded that this question could serve as an accurate indicator of racial tolerance in different countries.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/550216/pakistan-one-of-the-least-racist-countries-in-the-world-survey/

Pakistan – Downtown Karachi: A street called love

BY M BILAL HASSAN

Marred by years of political and sectarian violence, Karachi does not have the best reputation; judging by news headlines over the past few years, many would think of it as being a highly intolerant urban centre. However, having gone to school and college with almost every religious community represented in the city, I find it hard to digest that the population of Karachi is hateful or prejudiced.

And so, I set out on foot to explore the downtown area of Karachi.

I started walking from the historic Zaibunissa Street all the way towards St. Patricks Cathedral. To my utter delight, every subsequent block I walked by was inhabited by a different religious community. Here, these communities have lived harmoniously with one another for many years.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1201229

Sindh: Peaceful coexistence: An oasis of religious harmony in Thar desert

y Hafeez Tunio

MITHI: Two elderly turbaned men wearing traditional dhotis were gossiping in Dhatki, the language spoken in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts of Sindh. One introduced himself as Bheru Menghwar and the other as Faqir Muhammad Dars, both residents of Munghat village, some 100 kilometres away from Mithi Town.

Munghat is an oasis of religious harmony in a country where minority communities often complain of discrimination and persecution. This peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims is not unusual for this impoverished desert district where a sense of togetherness transcends all ethnic and communal affiliations.

We, Hindus and Muslims, have lived like one family in this village for the last 200 years. Not a single communal feud has ever been reported that could have threatened communal harmony here. We share each other’s joys and grief.

Not only do we live together, but also share a common graveyard to bury our dead. There is just one thin border line. One side is for Hindus and other for Muslims, said Faqir Dars, 85.

According to local people, the Hindus participate in Muslim religious festivals like Eid and Ashura-e-Muharram. Similarly, Muslims attend Hindu festivals like Diwali and Raksha Bandhan. Many Hindu women also tie Rakhi to their Muslim brothers.

“Many Hindus set up Sabeel for mourners in Muharram, and Muslims in many areas of Tharparkar don’t eat beef out of respect for Hindus who consider the cow as sacred,” said local journalist Khatao Jani. “These people are socially integrated, which is why there has been no dispute between Hindus and Muslims. Generally too, the crime rate in the district is negligible,” he said.

According to the 1998 census, 64% Muslims and 36% Hindus live in Tharparkar, but not a single incident of forced conversion, kidnapping for ransom and extortion has been reported here in recent memory.

Continue reading Sindh: Peaceful coexistence: An oasis of religious harmony in Thar desert

SINDHIS CELEBRATE EID & DIWALI IN TORONTO

By Zulfiqar Shaikh

Toronto, Canada:  The Sindhi speaking Muslims and Hindus arranged “Eid & Diwali” celebrations jointly and under one roof at Mississauga area of Toronto to convey a message to the world that religious extremism can only be countered through tolerance and unity among all religions and faiths to promote humanity and peace.

Read more » Corporate Ambassador
See more » http://weeklycorporateambassador.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/sindhis-celebrate-eid-diwali-in-toronto/

21 September: International Peace Day

“On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity. Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Read more » UN.org
http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

Invasion of foreign fanatics in Sufi Sindh. About 67% of the madrassas in the Sindh are owned by people who do not have a Sindh domicile.

The madrassa networks of Sindh

Thousands of new religious schools that opened in urban Sindh after 9/11 are a cause of concern for the provincial government

By Ali K Chishti

In a recent survey carried out by the Sindh Home Ministry, there are 12,545 madrassas in the province, of which 2,161 are sectarian and dangerous.

About 74 percent of these religious schools are in Urban Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur). At least 8,191 out of them opened after 9/11. About 67 percent of the madrassas in the province are owned by people who do not have a Sindh domicile.

– See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130712&page=5#sthash.aFTa1b3y.Jpdh03wx.dpuf

Via » Facebook

SANA is a secular voice of North American Sindhis

President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) Jamil Daudi said in his statement; SANA is a secular organization to its core, in the true sense of the word, meaning that it doesn’t believe in the discrimination on the basis of one’s faith or lack of faith whatever the case may be. SANA, like Sindh, belongs to all the peace loving Sindhis no matter what religion or faith they believe in.

He said, I would request all the members of SANA and all the SANA-list members to please follow the spirit of Sindh, i.e., tolerance for each other and for all the fellow members of the organization, and all human beings at large. Let’s join hands to do good, as Sindhi, we believe in making the world a safer place to live in & spread love & peace.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 25, 2013.

Must watch: After violence-mongers had their day of senseless rage, Pakistani youth cleaned the mess with the message of tolerance

“Here’s the other side of Newsweek’s Muslim Rage photo. Something the mainstream media wouldn’t be too keen to show you in highlighted characters and red strips. Today, tens of hundreds of people showed up from 8 year olds to 60+ senior citizens in different cities of Pakistan to clean up the mess created by the few individuals who somehow always end up defining Pakistan. Here’s to all of today’s participants, you’re the reason why we have a good future. Pakistan is proud of you.

Courtesy: Vimeo

Pakistan – Chaos and capitulation

By Editorial

What was supposed to be a day for Pakistanis to show their love, respect and reverence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), instead turned out to be a day of murder, arson, looting and much mayhem. The government may have thought that by declaring September 21 “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, it may have grabbed the initiative from the religious and conservative elements and that the protests and outrage may perhaps have channelled into one single day. However, the events of the past two days, in particular Friday, suggest that this was a grave miscalculation. The decision seems to have only galvanised and emboldened those elements in society who believe that by burning public and private property, destroying cars and injuring and killing innocent passers-by, they are somehow expressing their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). To many of those who we saw burning public and private property on our television screens on Friday, the government’s holiday announcement translated into a licence to do as they saw fit, and in most cases, this was to damage and destroy whatever they could find at arm’s reach.

Continue reading Pakistan – Chaos and capitulation

Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

KU organises seminar on secular values

By: Waqas Safder

SINDH – Karachi: University of Karachi on Friday organised a seminar on “Secular Values in South Asia: Are there Lessons from the European Experience?” at the Area Study Centre for Europe.

Prof. Ram Puniyani, General Secretary, Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, was the guest speaker at the occasion.

In his presentation, Prof. Puniyani talked in detail about the concept of secularism in South Asia and the failure of regional countries to prevent the forces of intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism from gaining ground.

Continue reading Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

Who orchestrated the exodus of Sindhi Hindus after Partition?

By Haider Nizamani

Excerpts;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”

Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.

Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.

Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.

One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.

The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.

Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.

Continue reading Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India

The world needs to learn from Sindhis

By: Asim Riaz Kaghzi, Calgary

Now days Sindh is a part of the political boundaries of the state of Pakistan, if Sindh is not well and is suffering, then Pakistan is suffering as well or at least a considerable part of Pakistan. Sindh is predominantly inhabited by Muslim population and it is one of the few places where tolerance and religious harmony can be seen at its highest peak, such as, Sunnies take part in Moharram’s first ten days remembering Imam Hussain’s sacrifices with same respect as Shiites, you would hardly able to distinguish between two sects, another example is some saints are equally revered by Muslims and Hindus. Sindhis living in Sindh or any other part of the world, in essence they are very secular people and if any one wants to learn the spirit of secularism then he/she learns from Sindh and Sindhis.

Sindh and Sindhis as an entity are mature and they are fighting against all odds and still stands for universal peace and coexistence. Therefore, if Sindh looses its tolerant character then it will be a blow for the world, I believe Muslims around the world need to learn from Sindh and Sindhis, who value tolerance and mutual understanding.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 11 Feb, 2008.

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To see the religious harmony, tolerance and coexistence of Sindh, click hereBBC

Washington Sindhis Join in “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day” Festivities

It is not only Sindhi-speaking people who are participating but also Pashto-speaking Sindhis, Urdu-speaking Sindhis, and Punjabi-speaking Sindhis, who live in Sindh are demonstrating their love for Sindh.

By Khalid Hashmani

The Sindhis who live in and around the Washington DC area joined festivities of the annual “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day”. The event was organized by Mrs. Nasreen and Mr. Iqbal Tareen at their residence in McLean suburb on the night between Saturday, November 19 and November 20, 2011. Several local Sindhis joined Tareens in this event to make it a memorable celebration of Sindhi culture, language and identity.

Continue reading Washington Sindhis Join in “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day” Festivities

BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

BAAGHI: Pakistan fights back in Shikarpur —Marvi Sirmed

Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.

One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban  Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.

According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.

The Bhayo members of the  Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.

Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.

Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.

The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.

When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.

This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.

Continue reading BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

Sindh’s Centuries Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

Sindh: Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

The multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence between ethnic and religious communities that is traditional to Sindh is being tested as never before. However moves at the national and local level are being counted on to defuse a tense situation. ….

Read more » UNPO

Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

Hyderabad: Hundreds of protesters marched in Hyderabad city against the murder of three Hindus in Shikarpur on the call of Joint Action Committee for Peace and Justice. The protest march began from the Besant Hall, a 20th century Theosophical Society icon of Sindh under the slogan of “Fill the Besant Hall against Religious Intolerance.”

The marchers that walked on in various roads of the down town for a few hours culminated into congregations in front of Hyderabad Press Club. The prominent of which were Punhal Sariyo (Sindh Harri Porhiyat Council), Zulfiqar Shah (Institute for Social Movements), Rasool Bux Palejo (Awami Tehreek), Amar Sindhu (Women Action Forum), Mustafa Baloch (Strengthening Participatory Organization), Dr. Ashothama (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Jabar Bhatti (Indus Institute for Research and Education), Mahesh Kumar (We Journalist, Pakistan), Jaffer Memon (Hyderabad Press Club), Iqbal Mallah, Shehnaz Shidi (South Asia Partnerships Pakistan), Akash Mallah (Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz) Noor Nabi Rahoojo and Vishno Mal(Awami Jamhoori Party), Jan Mohammad Junejo (Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party), Nawaz Khan Zaunr (Jeay Sindh Mahaz), Seher Rizvi (Sindh United Party), Hafeez Kumbhar, Noor Mohammad Bajeer (Civil Society Support Program), Parveen Magsi (Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum), Kashif Bajeer (SPARC), Taj marri (Awami Party), Zahid Messo (Bhandar Sangat), Ikhtyar Tunio (SDPD Nawabsha), Rahmatullah Truk (VISWA – Matyari), Advocate Sajjad Chandio, Advocate Inderjit Luhano, Abass Khoso (IRADO) and others.

A declaration was read out and was unanimously carried by the participants. The resolution is as under:

Continue reading Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

The brutal murder of three Sindhi doctors of the Sindhi-Hindu community is a crime against the very fabric of the Sindhi Society which has been the symbol of religious tolerance in the entire sub-continent.

The World Sindhi Institute (WSI) Condemns the Murder of the members of Sindhi Hindu Community

PRESS RELEASE (November 11, 2011)- Board members of the World Sindhi Institute in a joint statement strongly condemn the brutal murder of the three Sindhi doctors of Sindhi Hindu community in Chak town of Shikarpur, calling it a crime against the very fabric of the Sindhi Society which has been the symbol of religious tolerance in the entire sub-continent.

The members showed their deep concern over the growing intolerance in Pakistan where both legal system and social environment are increasingly becoming hostile to the minorities, leaving them helpless and vulnerable.

Echoing the sentiments of civil society in Pakistan, the WSI demanded a speedy justice to the families of victims and appealed to both federal and provincial government to play their due role in furthering the cause of peace, religious tolerance, and Human Rights in Pakistan. They further demanded the complete abolition of Blasphemy-law, which has become a tool in the hands of those who want to radicalize the society and silence all voices of reason.

WSI appeals to all political parties, representatives of civil society, legal community, networks of journalist, and enlighten individuals in Pakistan to join hands to defeat this fresh wave of violence against minorities and run a sustained campaign for the protection of human rights in Sindh and the rest of Pakistan.

Sesame Street to promote tolerance in volatile Pakistan

Sebastian Abbot

Sesame Street is coming to Pakistan but not as generations of Americans know it.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – The TV show has a new cast of local characters led by a vivacious six-year-old girl named Rani who loves cricket and traditional Pakistani music. Her sidekick, Munna, is a five-year-old boy obsessed with numbers and banging away on Pakistani bongo drums, or tabla.

The U.S. is bankrolling the initiative with $20-million, hoping it will improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class. Washington also hopes the program will increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical views is growing.

“One of the key goals of the show in Pakistan is to increase tolerance toward groups like women and ethnic minorities,” said Larry Dolan, who was the head education officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Pakistan until very recently.

The show, which started filming last week and will air at the end of November, was jointly developed by Sesame Workshop, the creator of the American series, and Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, a group in the Pakistani city of Lahore that has been staging puppet shows for more than three decades.

The American version of Sesame Street first aired in 1969, and the U.S. government has worked with the company since then to produce shows in about 20 foreign countries, including Muslim nations such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Perhaps nowhere else are the stakes as high as in Pakistan. The United States is worried that growing radicalization could one day destabilize the nuclear-armed country. Washington has committed to spend $7.5-billion in civilian aid in Pakistan over five years, despite accusations that the country is aiding insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan. ……

Read more » THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Religion And Rule Of Law In Pakistan

– By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

After military might, religion is the greatest alibi to defy the rule of law in Pakistan.

One of the most precious achievements of human civilization is the value of rule of law, as against the rule of man, ideology or faith. Herein is implied an inherent regard for the life and liberty of each person, his right to profess and practice any religion; in sum his right to live a life of his choice. It is as simple as that – that as against man, ideology and faith, rule of law is tolerant and accommodative of all creeds and all cultures, i.e. to all the individual differences of mind and body found in human beings. It looks upon each and every person as by birth endowed with certain inalienable rights, treats him as equal and without any discrimination; it provides equal protection of law to all; it gives every person right to be prosecuted under due process of law and prove himself innocent. That bestows the rule of law with an over-riding status. …

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Real children of Sindh shall be inclusive…

By: Iqbal Tareen

I have been following the current political events with solidarity and some concern. I could also notice well planned provocations ignited by some media to catalyze outburst of civil and ethnic conflict in Sindh.

I was very concerned that a possible knee-jerk political reaction to these provocations could damage our moral stand maintained against fascist and parochial groups.

I am delighted to see that significant number of individuals, political parties, and the members of the Sindhi media are fully aware and are able to see through the thick skin of bullying security establishment and their agencies. Although the issues of Sindh’s unification and sovereignty are real but we should trade very carefully and skillfully. Every time we give vent to our grief, we should reiterate Sindh problem on non-ethnic basis. Real children of Sindh will not be divisive and parochial.

All Sindh friendly and human rights forces must work toward a new and inclusive dawn in Sindh that will bring peace, prosperity, individual and collective human rights and freedoms for all in the nation of

Sindh and not for Sindhi speaking Sindhis only.

Mother Sindh shall remain to be the custodian and protector of all her children regardless of their color of skin, ethnicity, religious or political preference. That is the Sindh I am living and will die for.

About: →  Writer is an author of “Harvest will come – Embracing diverse Pakistani heritage”, President of Silver Lining International, Inc. and Chief organizer of “Democracy, Individual and Collective Human Rights, Education and Skills Development, and Fight against Hepatitis in Pakistan”

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011.

My Fellow American: understanding of as being American changes the whole dynamics

My Fellow American is a film project in the United States devoted to recognizing that Muslims are our neighbors. My Fellow American project was created to offer a new narrative about Muslims in America and offer people a safe platform to discuss their opinions. My fellow American is hoping to share this message of tolerance. This 2 minute film is actually praising Muslims and showing how they are helping their fellow Americans. …

Courtesy: → Elizabeth Potter, Unity Productions Foundation,

facebook.com/MyFellowAmericanProject@usmuslimstories

Defend Sindhi nation’s heritage

– by Iqbal Tareen

Given rising threats to the integrity of Sindh, we must focus ondisciplining ourselves to become a formidable force against divisive and hate driven groups in our land.

I must caution everyone not to resort to knee jerk reaction but leverage power of logic and reason to face partitionist forces in Sindh. It is obvious that their game is designed to create a welcome situation for a military takeover lasting for another 10 years.

At the same time I urge every Sindhi (Who believes that he/she is Sindhi) to prepare for a long drawn moral fight against demonic forces who spread hate, fear, and intimidation in the land of Latif, Sachal and Saami. Every Sindhi (Who believes that he/she is Sindhi) child, adult, women, and men must prepare to defend the sovereignty of unified Sindh.

We must defend peace and brotherhood and sisterhood of all men and women living in Sindh without any discrimination based on religion, race, or ethnic origin.

We must defend Sindh & Sindhi nation’s heritage of peace, tolerance, and inclusiveness even if we have to fight until death.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 4th August, 2011.

Oslo tragedy

by Farooq Sulehria

Thus it is not a coincidence that Breivik has unleashed his puritan terror on AUF activists. The AUF (Labour Youth Club) is Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Both Labour party and AUF have been campaigning against racism. Ever since the 1950s, a summer camp at holiday island of Utoya has been a regular feature of AUF’s activities.

One does not expect funeral processions coming out of a paradise. The horrific July 22 events in Norwegian capital of Oslo, a bomb blast outside Prime Minister’s office followed by a shoot spree claiming 92 lives, delineate such an unusually disastrous tragedy.

The Oslo massacre has bereaved Norway of her innocence the way Olof Palme’s murder in 1986 marked end of Swedish myth.

“Norwegian democracy is unique in that the Prime Minister along with other Ministers can go about their daily lives without security by their side. Norway’s King can travel by public transport without anyone batting an eyelid and it is this democracy which is under attack,” writes Toni Usman in an email to his friends. A successful TV-stage actor and an engaged activist, Toni Usman himself is a shining example of Norwegian tolerance and ingenuousness where not merely royals, elite politicians and celebrities freely mix with commoners, ordinary citizens also live a life unheard of even in Europe let alone South Asia. Living without the fear of theft or violence, the Norwegian lifestyle may appear naive to even Europeans. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

PEACE VIGIL Against Terrorism and For Productive Talks By the People of India and Pakistan

Movement for Tolerance of Pakistan & India Peace Coalition announced a Peace Vigil on July 27, 6:30 pm at Hyderabad Press Club organized. The vigils are being held in the various cities of Pakistan and India on the occasion of India-Pakistan foreign ministers meeting.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, July 26, 2011.