Local government backlash: Amid song and dance, anti-Sindh mantra goes on

Published: October 11, 2012
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A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD AZEEM

A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD AZEEM

KARACHI: For about 10 minutes each, every party leader was allowed to speak his heart out – against the Sindh government, against local governments, against the ruling party and almost everything related.

Despite the nationalists’ call for protests against the new local government law, it was a scene of celebration outside the Karachi Press Club.

As youngsters danced to the tune of Sindhi folk music, the rally participants shouted slogans against the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.

Wearing red caps and holding placards inscribed with anti-government slogans, the protesters, men, women and children, staged a sit-in in front of the press club.

A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market.

The protest call was given by the Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee). Different political parties, including Awami Tahreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, joined in.

And almost every leader of the party vented his anger against the government for passing the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012.

Jalal Mehmood Shah, the Save Sindh Movement convenor; Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party; Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeay Sindh Tehreek; Sanan Qureshi of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Saleem Zia of the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League; Masroor Jatoi of National Peoples Party; and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Asadullah Bhutto were among those who spoke.

Sindh is our motherland and no one would let the PPP and its coalition partner to divide it, said Dr Qadir Magsi. Criticising the ruling party and its leadership, he said that people of Sindh should not expect good things from the PPP any more.

“We cannot sit with them [PPP]. They have issued the death warrant of people of Sindh in the shape of the local government system,” the nationalist leader said referring to the offer of negotiations on the matter by the ruling party.

Dr Qadir Magsi also suggested calling for a province-wide strike on October 15 to spoil the PPP’s plan to hold a public gathering in Hyderabad in support of the newly passed law.

An emotional Nusrat Seher Abbasi repeatedly shouted the slogan of her party’s former spiritual leader late Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi (Pir Pagara VI), “Watan ya kafan, azaadi ya maut” (country or shroud, independence or death). “At the time of legislation, we cried a lot but they did not pay attention to us and passed the law within four to five minutes,” she alleged.

In his speech, Jalal Mehmood Shah announced an “unending” struggle against the new local government system and termed the rally a referendum against the system. “This large gathering proves that people of Sindh will not accept the black law, which has been imposed in the province at gunpoint,” he said.

The nationalist leader reiterated that rallies, hunger strikes and all other protests will go on in the province until the law is withdrawn.

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

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Sindhi
    Oct 11, 2012 - 6:00AM

    Well done Save Sindh Movement. Keep it up. Songs played during the march are revolutionary songs of Sindhi language. Sindh is under immense distress post SPLG. In the name of SPLG, PPP has handed over Karachi and Hyderabad to MQM. A Local body system is for people and it should be a system, acceptable to all people of Sindh, not just of one party workers.

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  • Saqib
    Oct 11, 2012 - 9:48AM

    Ok go back to stone age where they want to live forever.

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  • Ajeet
    Oct 11, 2012 - 10:12AM

    A sea of red flags! Please give me a break. Hardly two hundred people were there. Rest of others were not nationalist supporters, but spectators who turned up to merely watch it

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  • Retro
    Oct 11, 2012 - 11:54AM

    The so called ‘progressive’ Sindhi nationalists and the political opportunists that have been supporting them against local bodies system are in reality a bunch of pathetic losers.
    I have a list of requests for these proud Sindhi nationalists.
    I hope they focus their energies on them.

    Stand up against the feudal lords of Sindh.
    Stand up against the widespread illiteracy that prevails in Interior Sindh
    Stand up for the rights of women in interior Sindh.
    Stand up against the sick customs of Karo-Kari and Women’s marriage to Quran,.
    Stand up for the poor Sindhi farmers imprisoned by their feudal masters.

    Unfortunately, the best these nationalists can offer Sindh is a growth in mismanagement, bad governance,inefficiency, lethargy, illiteracy and illnesses.

    Let the devolution of power take place. Let the Local Bodies System prevail completely.
    And let Sindh be the model of progress and prosperity in South Asia.
    Jeay Sindh!

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  • Farhan
    Oct 11, 2012 - 12:32PM

    SPLGO is a good reply to the quota system.

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  • Hameedullah
    Oct 11, 2012 - 9:07PM

    @Ajeet:
    Yes hardly 200 people were there and rest were “spectators” who were all surprisingly carrying the flags in support, something you didn’t note. Please get a sense.

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  • Paki Lover
    Oct 12, 2012 - 4:58AM

    @Hameedullah…. yeah bro… there were infact atleast a million people :)

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  • Hameedullah
    Oct 12, 2012 - 7:34PM

    @Paki Lover:
    I suggest you look a bit out of Karachi too. And yes please have a look on other news channel besides the so called “National” channels.

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  • Hameedullah
    Oct 12, 2012 - 7:46PM

    @Saqib:
    Stop being ignorant. No one in Sindh i repeat NO ONE in Sindh is against development and local government. But we will not accept dual administrative system on the wishes of a party bent on dividing urdu and sindhi speaking on administrative lines. The local government supposed to be the foundation of democracy almost reduces the Sindh government and Sindh assembly into postage stamps. (40 out of 43 depts are handed over to the mayor and that too only the mayor of Karachi not other metro corporations-that’s why we call it dual system). This clipping of the legislative power is done in the name of development on the wishes of MQM which desperately tries to keep it’s waning hold on Karachi.
    If you think local government is so good just think over this; Even the CM can be removed from his position by vote in assembly but the mayor when appointed cannot even be removed by CM. He will remain there for his term no matter what as king. Now isn’t this a feudalistic approach you Karachities are so fed up of.

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  • saqib
    Oct 13, 2012 - 1:11AM

    Nobody asking it to accept it I will suggest nationalist to win in next election come to assemblies do legislations don’t threaten show naked hatred bare show of weapons and bomb opposition, furthquestion remains same what are these nationalist parties did they ever done any thing for sindhies. How come they don’t even feel shame.

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  • Hameedullah
    Oct 16, 2012 - 6:04PM

    @saqib:
    How does the questionable history or character per se of nationalists justify that SPLGO is good. In Sindh lawyers, writers , journalists and intellectuals are opposing it and they are doing it with sound arguments by reading the SPLGO. In fact the first people to oppose the SPLGO were writers and journalists. Nationalists followed later, whether for political gains or not that is another matter, SPLGO is not good for Sindh.

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