HYDERABAD: The nationalist parties of Sindh seem to have taken an exception to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) decision to table the 20th Constitutional Amendment Bill in the National Assembly, which they see as a “conspiracy” to divide the province.
The bill, which seeks the creation of new provinces in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, was introduced on Tuesday.
“The bill was not tabled for the interest of the Hazara and Seraiki people but to pave the way for the division of Sindh,” argued Ayaz Latif Palijo, the president of the Awami Tehreek, in a press statement. He accused the MQM of conspiring against Sindh, the land which gave them shelter, respect and livelihood.
He appealed to all nationalist parties to unite against it. “The people of Sindh will lay siege to the houses of all parliamentarians of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) if they do not oppose the bill,” he warned. “Any attempt to divide the province will revisit the situation of 1971.”
However, the PPP did not oppose the bill in the assembly despite the clear opposition of Senator Raza Rabbani, the architect of the 18th Amendment.
Dr Qadir Magsi, the chairman of the Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party, criticised a clause in the bill which states that, “The provincial boundaries are not sacrosanct and kept changing in the Indo-Pak subcontinent since 1562.”
Magsi thought that the sanctity of the borders can only be understood by the natives of the land. “This bill is a precursor to the MQM slicing Liaquatpur off from Sindh,” he declared.
He was also suspicious about the MQM’s professed stance on provincial autonomy in light of the Pakistan Resolution of 1940. “Through this bill, the MQM wants a strong centre which can make or break the provinces.” Magsi said that the “criminal” silence adopted by the PPP on these issues proves that the conspiracy for dividing Sindh was finalised.
While, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, president of the Sindh United Party and the convener of Sindh Progressive Nationalist Alliance (SPNA), reiterated that Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Bengal joined Pakistan in light of the 1940 Resolution which promised complete autonomy. “It’s an irony that the MQM which opposes administrative districts in Karachi wants an administrative province.”
He said that all the nationalist parties will meet in Karachi on January 21 and will also announce a course of action to resist the bill.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2012.