Sindh local government: The real issues

Published: January 10, 2012
The author is an architect in private practice in Karachi. He is a recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and is a founding member of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights

The author is an architect in private practice in Karachi. He is a recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and is a founding member of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights

ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID The author is an architect in private practice in Karachi. He is a recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and is a founding member of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights

The differences on the future form of local government for Sindh, continue to exist between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). However, it has to be understood that these differences are not about technicalities, but about much larger issues. It is necessary that broad-based ethical principles are agreed upon between the two protagonists to determine the future structure of local government in Sindh. If this does not happen, the issue will resurface with every political crisis, fragmenting the province further.

The most important ‘larger’ issue is related to the relationship of Karachi with the rest of Sindh. When the 2001 Local Bodies Ordinance was promulgated, I had noted that under the new system, Karachi would swallow Sindh, and as a result there would be a backlash against the Ordinance. There were reasons for saying this.

Karachi contains 62 per cent of Sindh’s urban population; 30 per cent of Sindh’s total population; and 22 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, on the other hand, contains only 22 per cent of Punjab’s urban population; seven per cent of Punjab’s total population; and 12 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Individually, the other major cities are a very small fraction of Karachi and Lahore.

Karachi’s large-scale industrial sector employees make up 71.6 per cent of the total industrial labour force in Sindh; 74.8 per cent of the total industrial output of the province is produced in Karachi; and 78 per cent of formal private sector jobs of the province are located in Karachi.

Then there are powerful federal government interests as well, in the form of the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim, Customs, Railways, Civil Aviation Authority and the armed forces and their various industrial and real estate activities. The city contains 32 per cent of the total industrial establishment of the country; generates 15 per cent of the national GDP, 25 per cent of federal revenues and 62 per cent of income tax. Also, the most important health, education, recreation, entertainment and media-related institutions in the province, are located in the city and so are the provincial headquarters.

Provincial and state governments always have conflicts with powerful autonomous cities since the non-city population of the province or state feels that the city and its assets do not belong to them. Even in a relatively homogeneous country like Thailand, Bangkok was seen by the anti-government Red Shirt Movement as responsible for deprivation and inequity in the country.

The second issue is related to the changing demography of Sindh. There is a fear among the Sindhi-speaking population (in which I include Balochi, Seraiki and Brahvi speakers as well) that they are being converted into a minority in their province. Let us see how real this perception is.

Seventy-three per cent of Karachi’s population in 1941 said that their mother tongue consisted of one of the local provincial languages, 6.2 per cent said it was Urdu/Hindi, and 2.8 per cent said it was Punjabi. Pashtu at that time was nonexistent. In 1998, the local languages had declined to 14 per cent, Urdu increased to 48.52 per cent, Punjabi to 14 per cent and Pashtu stood at 11.42 per cent.

In 1941, in Sindh as a whole, 96 per cent of the population said that their mother tongue was one of the provincial local languages and two per cent claimed Urdu/Hindi as their mother tongue. Only two per cent spoke other languages. However, in the 1998 census, the population claiming one of the local provincial languages as their mother tongue declined to 62.64 per cent, the Urdu speakers increased to 21 per cent and speakers of other languages increased to 16.32 per cent. In urban Sindh, the Urdu speakers increased to 42 per cent, mainly because of their large numbers in Karachi and Hyderabad.

This is a very different situation from the other provinces of Pakistan. Local languages are the mother tongue of 94 per cent of the population of Punjab, 92 per cent of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 82 per cent of Balochistan.

Migration patterns between 1981 and 1998 show that Punjab, after Sindh, received the largest number of migrants from other provinces. However, Punjab received 365,000 migrants from other provinces, while Sindh, with a much smaller population, received 1.1 million. This figure does not include migration from other countries.

So the cause for fear is justified even though — given the increase in the Sindhi-speaking population between the two censuses and the recent influx of Sindhi speakers to Karachi — many argue that it is exaggerated. As a result of this fear, Sindh’s politics increasingly revolve around issues of identity, culture and history and miss out on issues of reform, development and deprivation.

The two issues explain the positions taken by the PPP and the MQM. The Sindhi speakers control the bureaucracy and have a majority in the provincial assembly. Thus, through the old bureaucratic system, they can have a major role in the governance of Karachi and Hyderabad and other towns where non-Sindhi speakers live in substantial numbers. The MQM’s strength lies in the large Urdu-speaking pockets in Karachi and in the major cities of Sindh but not in the bureaucratic set-up. The more decentralised and autonomous the system is, the more they can exercise power in these pockets and negotiate benefits for their constituencies. This exercise of power also provides them with a role in provincial and national politics.

Then there are two other issues. One is related to land. The devolved system has made the loot and plunder of both rural and urban land possible, leading to ecological disasters, environmental degradation, inappropriate urban land-use, increasing landlessness and oppression. To prevent this from continuing, the revenue department has to be strengthened and made free from overt political control and manipulation. The other issue is related to local commerce, trade and real estate development, which is developing, in spite of official negligence and persecution, in both the urban and rural areas of the province. For the badly needed socio-economic development of the province, this sector needs support and protection which an effective local government system can help provide. So far, the discussion on the future structure of local government has not even considered this important development which is rapidly changing socio-economic relations and the physical form of Sindh’s human settlements.

From the above discussion, some broad principles for the future form of local government in Sindh do emerge. Whatever the system, it must seek to integrate the various areas and ethnicities of Sindh. Catering to the existing divisions will simply increase the trend of ethnic politics. Lebanon is a case in point. Indirect elections have also consolidated the existing divisions, and as such a review is required. The province’s assets (including those of Karachi) should be available to all its citizens. They must feel that they have a say and stake in provincial governance issues and not just in their taluka and union council affairs. In addition, police accountability to the citizens, and not just to the bureaucracy and political representatives, has to be guaranteed through a police reform.

A scientific study of the changing demography of Sindh (minus political rhetoric) should be undertaken and a consensus on its findings should be developed. This will make it possible to understand and address (if required), the long-term repercussions of migration on the local population of the province and its politics.

The rest is a matter of technicalities. However, two factors are important in working out the technicalities. One, for resolving the land issue, the province needs a land settlement: we must know who owns land where and how much. No meaningful reform is possible and no local government can deliver without this knowledge. And two, the needs of the formal and informal commercial sector at various levels and its linkages have to be established through a series of public hearings, both at the city and taluka levels.

The MQM-PPP tussle reminds one of the Indian National Congress-All India Muslim League conflicts from the Minto-Morley Reforms onwards and the various formulas applied for addressing them. However, no broad ethical principles for resolving the conflict were developed, leading to the partition of undivided India. As has often been said, an agreement was not possible because the Congress showed no generosity and the Muslim League no trust. Mandela on the other hand, through his enormous generosity was able to create the trust that saved South Africa from a terrible civil war. Such generosity and trust is badly needed to resolve the local body issue on a permanent basis.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Ali Tanoli
    Jan 10, 2012 - 10:34PM

    Sindh gonna be look like sooner or later CM Sindhi or Sariaki, Governar Muhajir or Pathan speaker of assembly Hazarewal and all others labourer of karachi.


  • Sajida
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:03PM

    Karachi’s domination has to do with fact that there is no urban policy to speak of. It is burdened with migration and needs to have the province develop other cities as well.
    Pakistan should learn from China how cities are developed.
    The author misidentifies the issues.
    In France in 1949 a book was published ” Paris and the French desert”. Mr. Hasan should get a hold of that book. The government responded by creating regional bodies. Of course the French are smarter it seems than the Pakistanis and Mr. Hasan. The government didn’t harm Paris, as it understood that would not be to its benefit. Paris, by the way also has a decentralized system. In fact it is the first city in the world to have it and has had one since 1790.
    The Karachi system is a very minor system compared to what China has as it is only a county-based formula. China has over 300 urban regional systems. China embraced urban growth and development. That is why it is where it is and Pakistan is where it is.


  • sick of this nonsense
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:11PM

    generosity and trust is badly needed to resolve the local body issue on a permanent basis.

    so true yet near impossible to achieve in current scenario.


  • Sajida
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:31PM

    I should also mention, France has other cities with decentralized systems. In fact its 3 largest cities, the smallest one having a population of 400,000 also have decentralized systems. So how many cities in Pakistan have populations of 400,000?

    In Europe since 1980s many countries have implemented decentralized decentralized cities. Mr. Hasan clearly wants to keep Pakistan’s urban systems in a primitive state.


  • Shahid
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:36PM

    The main problem now is the influx of Afghanis and people from up country to Karachi and these people have stake in promoting karachi as a mini pakistan. Urdu speaking have already becoming a minority in Karachi and thier proprtion is reducing day by day because of thier continued tendency ro migrate out of pakistan and continueid influx of people from other provinces.The question is if at all it is possible to stop influx of people not only to Sindh urban areas but also to rural areas. I don’t blame the people coming to Sindh [except non Pakistanis]they are only looking for better oppurtunities which is thier right. Urdu speaking population want to remain and have accepted themselves as sindhis. Karachi has become so huge that it is inevitable that local representatives are given mor powers to solve thier problems otherwise it will end up in division of sindh.


  • Jan 11, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Fully empowered local elected governments are the very essence of democracy.

    The leaders of these local governments are much closer to the people and have to be much more responsive than provincial and federal governments for what really matters on a day to day basis in terms of services and quality of life.

    There can be no real democracy unless the power, authority and accountability are devolved to the local levels in cities and towns.


  • Ali Tanoli,
    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:10AM

    Mustafa kamal ex mayor of karachi did lot of good things for the city and i think that system
    should bring it back to city i was in karachi not too long ago and i have seen public transport
    is in misserable and road are getting smaller for the papulation of eighteen millions we need
    another cities to accomodate this burden.


    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:42AM

    True that, most of the urdu speaking are migrating out from not just Karachi but even out of Pakistan. And who would not? That is why we see huge Punjabi population in NYC, London.

    The irony of the matter is that CM or the provincional government has always rested in PPP or PML(a,b,c) hand, and so does the bureaucracy of the Province.
    AND it had failed miserably. ghost school, more dacoits, no hospitals, fake universities etc etc are to name few.
    BHUTTO family always educate in top 10 universities of the world, but did not even open a English medium school in Larkana.

    Roam around Karachi. from keemari to pipri. every other place would look normal beside LYARI or pahar gunj/sohrab goth. PPP proudly claims lyari as its vote bank, to which they never give anything better since past 40 years.

    lets face it, in Mayor system all the cities progresses except that had mayors from same family politics. dont blame mayor system, blame your BHUTTO instinct.

    The solution is to make Karachi a seperate province, nothing is going to happen to sindh.
    sindh will stay as is. nobody bothered to ask, how many times sindh has been reconfigured in Past (britsh times, monguls times, shah times etc).


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 2:10AM

    Mr. Hasan, brace yourself:
    The extreme future of Megacities


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 2:26AM

    By the way, I discussed what was said in the megacities article with a friend.
    I do not think it will happen as envisaged;simply because of financial constraints. Only China has shown capacity of developing systems broadly.
    But in other countries migration is /will be more uneven because governments do not build/ support 2d and 3d tier cities as they need to. In India and Pakistan the peculiar condition of no agricultural income taxes also affects how little is spent on rural development. There is a reason why Karachi is a draw in Pakistan or Delhi in India. 2d and 3d tier cities are developing better in India than rest of South Asia-but that is not saying much. When states/provinces offer little opportunity they move beyond. In article about Delhi growth Utter Pradesh and Bihar are mentioned as sources of largest number migrants to Delhi. These states are less developed so internal migration is less of an option for them.
    Alot will depend on rural development and state policy. The development of megacities in developing countries is reflective of inequity in development. Right now governments seem unwilling/unable to reform their approach. I hope they do;but, I won’t hold my breath.Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2012 - 4:01AM

    Time has come for Pakistan to a have a single local government framework. The basic policies should be framed by the provincial governments but implementation should be lr5ft to the local government. In European Community Law this is called subsidiarity.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 5:00AM

    Very well written article. Karachi is heart of Sindh and It belongs to us. We are welcoming people but we don’t want to allow any one to plunder our resources and control our land through terrorism. After partition, unfortunately our cities were made stranger to us, our language out from schools and offices, our culture was made fun of, our identity is at stake. We are integral part of this federation but negative attitude towards our identity, culture and rights over our land are harmful. Pls address our grievances, and because some times we feel that even in the era of colonization, we were better off, our languages were taught in school, used in offices, and our culture, literature was flourishing but today we are at loss. Government must take steps on war footings to address grievaness. We want nothing but faire control our land, resources and respect for our culture and identity.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 5:03AM

    Indigenous population is being deprived of their fundamental rights. Even in the era of colonization, we were better off, our languages were taught in school, used in offices, and our culture, and literature was flourishing but today we are at loss.We want nothing but our rights and control over our land, resources and respect for our culture and identity.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 5:46AM

    Whether Sindhi dominated areas are under developed or not is not the real question, the point is who owns this land for centuries? Immigrants came and they claimed lands in Sindh and under the shadow of establishment, they prospered in Sindh.
    They were all settled in Sindh in big number to control Sindhi people through Terrorism, and extortionism. We want our right to be protected over our land, resources and langauge. We are not ready to allow any one to play with the territorial integrity of Sindh.Who ever has problem with Sindh and Sindhi culture, they can go and live any where in Pakistan.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:00AM

    It seems ET only accepts comments with anti Sindhi and Divide Sindh tendencies. People of Sindh will never accept any scheme which paves the way for division of Sindh. Those people who live and prosper in Sindh and again conspiring against Sindh are ungrateful people. Their agenda against Sindh will fail and they will face the wrath of people sooner or later, so a friendly advice, pls don’t play with fire, stay as brothers and integrate into Sindhi culture and society.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:30AM

    I should also mention that the ANC in 1998 revealed it had a more sophisticated understanding of urban government structure than the PPP! This being a political party whose leaders were relegated to living in slums or worse. If you want to know what I mean see what type of city formations are allowed under the municipal law of that year in the Metropolitan Municipality category.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:34AM

    @Sindhvoice Please you do not even know anything about Sindh! If this is an example of how Sindhis think no wonder the place is so backward!


  • Khadim
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:42AM

    The solution in giving rights to the local people. Let democracy rule in spirit. There should be referendum in Karachi and people should be asked if they are happy to form a separate province. Those who are threatening violence against Karachiattes should first free themselves from their mental slavery. It’s the Feudal landlords from Interior Sindh who drive around in Land Cruisers …..not the honest hardworking urban dwellers … So you are yelling at the wrong tree if you wish to catch the thief who has robbed Sindh’s resources. Recommend

  • saqib
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Karachi was developed by all ethnicities and belongs to all. It is an asset of SIndh and not a liability. Every country has a focal point (usually a port city) that is a magnet for the ambitious and industrious to come together for mutual benefit. Take the example of New York, London, LA, and many many more cities. None of them has a homogenous population but contribute immensly in the development and progression of that country/region.


  • saqib
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:47AM

    If Sindhis want to be a majority in their province, then they should simply let go of the district of Karachi. When this happens, they will again be in the majority.


  • Mustafa Kamal
    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Well Articulated by Arif Hassan. I was just reading Arif Hassan’s book Unplanned Revolution. I think ET should publish the articles of these experts who have worked on ground with people. Arif Hassan talks on he base of their experiments and by closely analysing the ground realities. Its high time to listen to these few sane voices in Pakistan while formulating any developmental policies.


  • Salman Orangiwala
    Jan 11, 2012 - 1:31PM

    Karachi has its limit .The resources are limited .Everyday there are hoardes of people migrating from Upcountry .Did anybody ever think what the elected representatives of these places ever did for the benefits of their voters in the Upcountry ?

    Karachi is Karachi because of the Muhajir migrants , they are the one who brought this city to tis current stature , others are dropping in just to get a share in the pie , which they never baked .

    And @ Sindhvoice , how come a person born in Moen-jo-Daro never visited Karachi , never played any role of developing this city by taxes or othereise , can , by default ( ?) becomes the owner of Karachi ? Some logic indeed !!!!!


  • Usman Ahmad
    Jan 11, 2012 - 3:13PM

    @Salman Orangiwala
    Get over it dear orangiwala. Karachi has always been a multi-ethnic city. It belonged to Sindh, and it belongs to Sindh. Mohajirs alone did not build this city. It is one of many myths Karahiites love to live in and flaunt. Main industrialization in Karaci took place in Ayub era. Mohajirs, being clean and sophisticated people that they are, refused to minial and dirty jobs i.e., work as labourers in mills. Punjabis and Pathans poured in to get jobs and Karachiite industrialists welcomed them. The transport business of the whole Karachi is mostly owned by Pathans and Punjabis. The bureaucracy is primarliy Sindhi and white collar workforce is mostly urbanite mohajir. All these wheels of Karachi have driven this city in a strange and, at time, uncomfortable relationship to collective succes and failure. The population of mohajirs in Karachi has never been more 60 percent. Besides, a large majority of industrialist class is non-urdu speaking mohajir.
    How can a person claim entitlement to a city whose parents were born in Uttar Pradesh?
    Karachi belongs to Sindh and if it is seperated it will be a huge blow to Sindh. I’m a Punjabi, born and brough up in Sahiwal, currently working in Lahore. What will be my feelings if Lahore is made a separate province. It has the best medical colleges, best engineering universities, and best urban infrastructure in the whole Punjab. What should I do, then?Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad
    Jan 11, 2012 - 3:16PM

    I can understand your sentiments. I fully support you, and I acknowledge that punjabi establishment had its due share in under developing rural Sindh. Had te migrants been less arrogant and more respectful towards Sindhi culture, these discussions would have carried less bitter tones. I recommend your points fully.


  • Kashif Alvi
    Jan 11, 2012 - 4:26PM

    Well actually , based on your argument, you ought to return western sindh to iranians and the eastern half to rajput and hindu fifedoms of rajhastan. The upper part should go the nawabs of bahawalpur and the the bit around multan belonged once to warlords coming from Kandahar.
    You have been brainwashed a twisted version of history. For God sakes even the so called syed feudals from interior sindh have hindu cousins in india with same surnames!!!

    Perhaps this may come as news to you , but Baluchistan is a hstorical part of iran and the word mehran is actually an iranian word and it was current Baluchistan.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:02PM

    @Kashif Alvi:
    Kindly read some historical books, history does not change on whims or on your perceptions. We accept any one to live as brother and with peace on our land. but s/he accepts our rights over our land and resources and does respect our culture and language.By distorting our history, one cant be master of our destiny.


  • Lobster
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:13PM

    Sindhi chief ministers never develop interior Sindh. Seperation of Karachi would be most beneficial to interior Sindh as atleast they will develop one city to be its provincial capital. Sindh isn’t a sacred cow. Do nothing and let other do nothing policy won’t work.
    I hate to say but I agree with @SalmanOrangiwala


  • Zulfiqar
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:26PM

    The major stake holders are mohajirs…. People whomigrated in 1947 to the then capital of Pakistan . Mind you , Hyderabad was the capital of Sindh at that time and Karachi was the federal capital.
    The respect for Sindhis and Sindhi culture is an undeniable right, but urban people cannot be ruled by bureaucracy belonging to people who have nothing but alien to them. When was the last time a Karachiatte was placed as a DC of Dadu.

    It’s the spirit of democracy that locals should have first right on resources, rule and running of any city, you teach us this lesson ad nauseum about Baluchistan and interior Sindh —-why then it appears so strange that Karachiattes want to have a say in who runs their city.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 7:42PM

    By the way, the Govt PPP likes brings govt of this type:


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:03PM

    According to paper present at the annual World Sindhi Institute conference indigenous Sindhis were decimated in 900 AD.Hindus from Rajastan arrived Later on more Hindus from Rajastan and Punjab arrived in 17th century.
    Other history reveals, urban Sindh was filled with Hindus not Sindhi Muslims who were either landlords or peasants. Migrants through the ages formed the government machinery.


  • Kashif Alvi
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:16PM


    Thanks for providing the link. It helps to corroborate my earlier point.

    Responders; please don’t throw in this piece of land being your mother, sister or other female relatives—–we are having a mature argument here. I would have bought these ruses if we were living in the middle ages and there was no karo-kari.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:19PM

    @Sindhvoice Indigenous Sindhis were decimated in 900 AD due to Arab invasion. Thereafter Hindus from other areas (ex. Rajashthan, Punjab settled). Until 1947 urban areas had Hindus not Sindhi Muslims who remained either landlords or peasants;whereas through the ages migrants worked in Government. After 1947 in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur Mohajirs settled. The interior has been your own to keep in primitive state.Do not blame federal government for that, that is choice of provincial government and fact it chooses to have no agricultural income taxes. You have been leeching on the cities because of this. So hear you in interior are free loaders who want to believe you are the oppressed. Some logic! Sindhi nationalists should put some ‘skin in the game’ first, i.e. by paying agricultural income taxes..


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:46PM

    I dont give free chit to political parties who could not develop interior Sindh, they failed in their duties towards people, otherwise we should not have been hearing your sermons. Secondly, based on some party, whole nation cant be blamed, if some party has feudal tendencies, it does not mean whole Sindhi community is pro-feudalism, similarly, if some party has been considered as harboring terrorism and extortion-ism, it does not mean whole Urdu speaking Sindhi community have such violent tendencies. If we have to live together, we need to learn to respect each other’s rights. By down playing on our culture, history and plundering our rights and resources, no good could ever come out. We have complete right our Karachi and every inch of Sindh. You need to accept this fact with open mind. And if you will respect our rights and live with us in peace, we have no problem with you at all. But we will NEVER tolerate any conspiracy against territorial integrity of Sindh.Mind it!


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:53PM

    @Mustafa Kamal Mr. Hasan’s weakness seems to be an inibaility to tell forest from the trees and also a lack of knowledge of how the world is developing. If you read the article about megacities whose link I provided in a comment, Karachi is already a megacity. Read what the megacity trend in the developing world. Mr. Hasan tends to conflate what he knows to a broader canvas and that is where the problem lies.


  • Yusuf
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:35PM

    Over population, Over Crowded Mega City Karachi soon to Become.
    When there is ” Standing Room,” only, life struggle and preoccuption with social, difficult economic conditions, city cultural identity, and engineering problems will be immense. The undesirable by products of mega crowded city will be adverse, harmful, injurous, noxious, perhaps little opportunity would be left to cultivate man’s highest human attributes. Human technologies would become challanging supplying food, basic neccesites of life and that man being restless creature with good survival instincts will embark upon large scale migration, in the case of Karachi natural selection would either be toward west or north to seek large new space for settlements. Zulfiqarabad is prime example of new settlements to accomodate many near the Mega City Karachi soon to Evolve. Vision with good leadership will make us overcome many difficulties in future when there is ” Standing Room ” only.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:49PM

    @Sindhvoice Your message is rather confused. The party that didn’t develop interior Sindh is PPP;yet it keeps on getting elected by interior Sindh. You didn’t answer my issue about financing. That is really the heart of the matter.Who is plundering your resources. Actually it seems interior Sindh is plundering urban resources created by energy of the migrants.
    Furthermore interior Sindh is not even protecting its resources. Use of tubewells is lowering groundwater. This is a huge problem and subject of an international conference already that you seem unaware of. Sindhi’s can respect their resources by conserving water and using drip agriculture. According to govt. infiormation tubeweels have gone from 2700 in 1950 to oer 600,000 by 2003.Because of the absence of groundwater management in the private sector, anyone can install a tubewell anywhere in his land and can extract whatever amount of water he wants any time without consideration of the detrimental effect of his action on the resource. If the pumping is equal to recharge rate for a sufficient period of time, the watertable depth will stabilize somewhere.So here we have it in a nutshell, interior Sindh doesn’t pay taxes and abuses natural resources on which it relies for sustenance.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:58PM

    The biggest problem is Ethanic based politics in the city and its doesnot allowing city to florished peoples dont wanna invest fare of kidnaping and get killed and on other hand war in the north mountain pushing all the pathans to migrate to karachi and when some one enter in karachi its hard to leave so we are in mess because of our dirty fuedal and fauji politics and chumcha geeri.


  • Jan 11, 2012 - 11:04PM


    If we have to live together, we need to learn to respect each other’s rights. By down playing on our culture, history and plundering our rights and resources, no good could ever come out. We have complete right our Karachi and every inch of Sindh. You need to accept this fact with open mind. And if you will respect our rights and live with us in peace, we have no problem with you at all. But we will NEVER tolerate any conspiracy against territorial integrity of Sindh.Mind it

    Sounds like the same old land romanticism and subtle prejudice with faux self-victimization that doesn’t have much precedent to back it (not to say other groups don’t do it).

    Part of the issue in equality is the dominant group having issues in giving up privilege and power.

    It’s also recognizing the democratic rights of the people in Karachi and their new culture and history not being Sindhi. Otherwise it is simply hypocrisy and empty rhetoric of living in peace when denying to acknowledge the other’s sentiments or resentments.

    Having ownership over Karachi is important but there needs to be a better pragmatic administrative solution. Can’t continue to ignore the new large non-Sindhi demographic realities who form the majority in Karachi who feel under-represented post-partition since the creation of new nation state that was Pak. It really has little to do with preserving culture or history and more with perceived ethnic hegemony and mistrust.

    No one’s downplaying Sindh’s culture or history, and ‘plundering resources’ is rather an offensive false accusatory deflection, the older natives scapegoating the newer ones, considering interior Sindh’s own poor historical governance since the formation of the new ideological country, and the extra privilege given in controversial issues such as quotas which really hasn’t helped improve anything in the long-term (generally in agreement for quotas when there is an issue of long discrimination…however, when used as a crux and there’s reverse discrimination, it ceases to be a useful program).

    The ‘conspiracy’ you intolerate against the integrity of Sindh, isn’t really much of a conspiracy but an agenda that is worth intellectually discussing honestly with empathy.

    Otherwise it’s basically saying you’re intolerant of the non-Sindhi who makes up the new reality in Karachi, who rightfully and pragmatically asks for provincial and federal rights in a nationalist manner that makes you nervous in losing hegemonic control conflating it with your own cultural identity or self worth to a land that is now inhabited by them fearing being a minority or having mistrust in future administrations of barriers even though it’s nothing more than just a new province, not a nation. Classic nativist vs migrant growing pains. Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2012 - 11:33PM


    Those people who live and prosper in Sindh and again conspiring against Sindh are ungrateful people. Their agenda against Sindh will fail and they will face the wrath of people sooner or later, so a friendly advice, pls don’t play with fire, stay as brothers and integrate into Sindhi culture and society.

    I’m sorry, but does this not reek of forced ethnic hegemony and bigotry?

    Majority non-Sindhi residents of Karachi who’ve made it into an economic engine, yet ask for the bureacratic provincial or federal systems mirred in local Punjab, Sindhi politics to not marginalize them and have better representation are somehow ‘ungrateful’?

    If it was wrong for federalists and Urdu nationalists to force integration unto cultural diverse regional people, it’s certainly wrong here to suggest the same push on non-Sindhis towards Sindhi. Accepting cultural diversity and pluralism is not the same as integrating or ‘become one of us or leave’, especially for a nation like Pakistan whose national language is still Urdu.


  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:35PM

    You raised two points:

    interior Sindh is plundering urban resources.
    Every inch of Sindh belongs to people of Sindh. What a joke, Some one who came to share our land with us post partition is challenging our right over our land. She/he must rather stay grateful to us for welcoming them to stay our land because Pakistan does not end in Sindh,if they have problem, they can go any where else. For your kind information, Interior Sindh is major producer of coal, gas, petrol and agriculture.

    2.Use of tubewells is lowering groundwater.
    Unlike Punjab, Sindh has not sweet subsoil water and that’s why Sindh can not use much of her subsoil water. Before raising questions, kindly do some research over subject.


  • Sajida
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:37PM

    Note:Number of tubewells in government count is most likely an undercount and could be a gross undercount. In India experts say a million unregulated tubewells are added each year.
    See info presented in international conference in 2004!:
    “The world is on the verge of a water crisis as people fight over ever dwindling supplies, experts told the Stockholm Water Symposium.””So much water is being drawn from underground reserves that they, and the pumps they feed, are running dry, turning fields that have been fecund for generations into desert.The world’s leading water scientists warned this week that this little-heralded crisis is repeating itself across Asia, and could cause widespread famines in the decades to come.””Every year, farmers bring another million wells into service, most of them outside the control of the state irrigation authorities. …this massive, unregulated expansion of pumps and wells is threatening to suck India dry…. research suggests that the pumps, which transformed Indian farming, bring 200 cubic kilometres of water to the surface each year. But only a fraction of that is replaced by the monsoon rains.” I assume Pakistan is not far behind.
    Asian farmers sucking the continent dry


  • Yusuf
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:38PM

    After Every Harvest in Sind Province, the Feudal landowners are looking for new investments in Urban Centers of Sind Province. The New Harvest Money untaxed buying up properties in the Urban areas Jackiing Up open land and constructed properties. The Urban dwellers are in the Tax Net paying many taxes on earned income, their puchasing power being reduced due to ever depreciation of Pakistan Rupee to accomodate good harvest. Industrial Productiviy declinng as prices of Utilities increasing, shortage of natural gas, as well as difficult to sustain in current uncertain business environment. The Urban Resources is being shifted to rural areas to pay for salaries, perks, and the lifestyle of commissionerate restored system, Its time Agricultural Tax be imposed for the Development of Common Sindhi, land record computerized, new farm to city roads development and allocation for primary schools for the under priviliged Sindhi. Let Urban Cities Evolve on the Chinese model with Local Governments to allow Local Taxation for Local Developments. We Can, Its possible with New Harvest Money Each Year.


  • Usman Ahmad
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:48PM

    Hold your horses woman. You ar ebeing too bitter. Respect the Sindhi sentiments or you will not get what you want. If educated people like you adopt this attitude then a commoner and less-educated will be all emotions and no-sense. An angry Sindhi population will not bring any good to anyone in the province. Leaders of MQM realise this. They have never demanded a separate province and have always taken pride in calling themselves ‘Sindhis’. An amicable solution reached by consensus will be a win-win situation for Sindh and Pakistan.
    Real Sindhis were decimated. OK! Real Americans were decimated…history goes on and on. No nation-state can be pure in this manner. But, the point is most of the history is myth-making. So forget it whether real Sindis were killed or not. BE REALISTIC.


  • anonymus
    Jan 12, 2012 - 12:41AM

    Dear writer i agree with you that things can be sorted with good will and commom sense but it is not like tha. Mush system was developed to favor only particualr ethnic party and was very obvious from the word go. I was of the opinion that it will not fly,not because sindhies or othre people did not like i but punjabies and pathans wont like it.

    So scheme was devised MQM bycotted election to show that thay don’t like system and because of that it became palatable in whole country.

    I hope you can comment on that and other wise expalin why MQM boycotted?

    Is there any other city or group of people in country who are fighting to keep that system as only goal in Politics. this has consumed so many lives and is reason of distrust between PPP and MQM. PPP has given due share to MQM. MQM or Mohajirs have all rights on Karachi, whole Sindh and country and vice versa. please accept others with open heart.

    .Mr Orangiwala’s hatred against sindhies is very palpable. I will recommend him to read sachar commision report of India …. how your cousins are living there? it is an eye opener.
    we consider you as our brother but don’t rape and mutilte motherland please.


  • Sajida
    Jan 12, 2012 - 12:58AM

    @Usman Ahmad I am not bitter I am just stating facts.
    @Sindhvoice you are not respecting Karachi and the energy of Karachi developed by the migrants. But you want to treat it like your real estate.Why should karachiites then respect the views of the interior especially since the sweat of the urban taxpayers finance interior services?That is the issue you continue to ignore, as it appears you have no answer to that plain fact. Karachi is growing because Sindhis are not developing other cities. It is growing because of failure of interior to invest in itself. Note what Yusuf is pointing out. Sindh has no uran development policies. It is a shame that even the African national Congress has a more sophisticated understanding than the PPP and the Nationalists it is in allied with.After all the ANC leaders never came to power and were relegated to living in slums;yet in 1998 they implemented a municipal act which gave special recognition to largest cities.
    About water, all the more reason for Sindh to do drip agriculture, rainwater harvesting and WATER RECYCLING!!!! Karachi taxpayers should not finance this, the funds for this should come from those who pay no agri taxes! Time for SUIndhi to show they respect their resources and to use an American term put ‘skin in the game’.


  • Sajida
    Jan 12, 2012 - 2:45AM

    @anonymous. All large cities of Pakistan got the same system. But why must we stuck with facts when you have an axe to grind! For some reason Karachi did better, I assume it was a capacity issue that others needed to work on to deliver results like Karachi. Karachi government did so well it got international notice. Both of Karachi’s mayors were also nominated also for the world mayor award. By the way check put what Istanbul and 16 other cities of Turkey have. It is also a decentralized system and has 3 levels. Turkish system changed in 1980s. Check out the multi-tier systems that South African cities have. Their system changed in late 1990s.
    You do not believe in democracy if you do not allow party with most votes to lead a government, in this case the Karachi government. You can have a similar system for Hyderabad and you can have two tier systems for smaller cities. In France a city with population of 400,000 has a decentralized system. And when you ask why I mention France, consider fact that the rural panchayat system the British implemented in Indian colony was an adoption of the rural system France has has since 1789. Indian colony got this type of system even before the British implemented it at home. They just discriminated against the colony by not giving it an urban decentralized system which they gave London by late 1800s. But Pakistanis want to keep their cities down. That is why by contrast China which never had such systems has over 500 of them today! Little wonder Pakistanis carry the begging bowl in perpetuam as they do not want to grow their economy unlike the Chinese.


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