KARACHI: As the people across the country celebrated Pakistan Day, hundreds of thousand people from Sindh gathered in Karachi on Friday and demanded freedom for Sindh and an independent status for Balochistan.
This demand came in a ‘Freedom March’ rally organised by the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), a Sindhi nationalist party, led by Bashir Qureshi.
While it was not possible to give an exact estimate of participants of the rally, both the lanes of MA Jinnah Road from Tibet Centre to Mazar-e-Quaid were filled with people holding flags of JSQM and wearing traditional Sindhi caps.
Most of the participants had though come from interior Sindh, a sizeable number of people from city’s localities of Lyari, Ibrahim, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Malir, Gadap, Keamari and Baloch Colony were also present.
Recalling that Sindh had joined Pakistan under the resolution of March 23, 1940 voluntarily, JSQM chief Bashir Qureshi said that this resolution has lost its value as it failed to give autonomy to the federating units.
“It is therefore not logical and moral to remain with Pakistan. We now say goodbye to this country,” Qureshi said adding that Sindh contributes 80 per cent to federal budget and produces 69 per cent gas and 75 per cent oil. But people of Sindh are deprived of all opportunities.
Referring to Urdu-speaking people, he said that “they are our berths and part of Sindhi nation. But “they should give up their obsession with two-nation theory and start supporting genuine issues of Sindh.” The anthem of Jeay Sindh was also played at the rally.
Qureshi in his address not only demanded independence for Sindh, but said that Balochistan should also be recognised as a separate homeland and the Baloch as a distinct nation.
He said that Pakistan’s territorial boundaries were not sacred and it was always possible change and alter it. Criticising ‘Punjabis,’ Qureshi said “people of Sindh have always fought against the invaders and will not let any one loot and plunder the resources of the soil.”
He also criticised the extremist religious groups who, according to him, were forcing Hindu girls to convert to Islam. JSQM leader called it yet another conspiracy against Hindus of Sindh, who are masters of this land.
“At the time of partition, communal riots were designed to compel 1.3 million Hindu to migrate. In the meantime, settlers were allotted 2.5 million acre land of Sindh under bogus claims.”
The participants of the rally who came via national and super highways first gathered at Gulshan-e-Hadeed before reaching Numaish Chowrangi from where from they marched to Tibet Centre.
They were chanting slogans “Na Khapi na khapi, Pakistan Na Khapi” (We don’t want Pakistan). Other slogans they chanted included: “Tuhinjo Desh, muhinjo Desh, Sindhu Desh, Sindhu Desh” (Your country, my country is the country of Sindhu Desh) and “Tuhinjo Rahbar, muhinjo Rahbar, GM Syed, GM Syed” (Your leader, my leader is GM Syed). Many families along with children were present in March, which had come from different districts of Sindh. Activists of other nationalist parties were also present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.