Repeating Balochistan in Sindh

Published: May 3, 2013
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The writer is Chief Executive of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation

The writer is Chief Executive of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation

The recent spate of violence in Sindh attained yet another traumatic dimension when the brutalised bodies of two young students were found in Dadu district. In a typical Balochistan-styled episode, both activists of a nationalist party, Amir Khahawar and Sajjad Markhand, were picked up in Larkano a few days ago and their tortured bodies were later found on the roadside.

National media, being too occupied with election mania, ignored the incident but the grisly news made rounds on Sindhi television channels. In a similar incident, another political activist, Muzaffar Bhutto, was found dead after a protracted disappearance and four other activists were killed near Sanghar in broad daylight.

The recent incidents triggered a wave of violence, protests and a paralysing strike in large parts of the province. Kidnapping and dumping lacerated and mutilated bodies of political activists turned Balochistan into a vortex of violence and now, the same mistake is being repeated in a relatively sedate province. Similar incidents snowballed a political conflict into a secessionist movement in Balochistan.

The province has been made an open cemetery of political workers and yet, the insurgency has refused to subside. Past insurgencies in Balochistan were mostly confined to a few tribes and their areas, but this time, ceaseless killings have propelled the insurgency and bestowed it with broader ownership of lower and middle class people. An inept policy of using gun power to handle political conflict has not only sullied the country’s image in the international community but fuelled a fire that has become difficult to douse.

A nationalist movement in Sindh started in the early 1970s when GM Syed initiated the Jeay Sindh movement in the aftermath of the debacle of Bangladesh. However, a discrete identity of this movement has been its peaceful demeanour in consonance with GM Syed’s philosophy of non-violence and peaceful coexistence. As a result of that, nationalist parties and splinter groups of Jeay Sindh, in spite of having serious political disagreements, never resorted to mass violence. On April 25, GM Syed’s death anniversary was observed where about half a dozen groups of the Jeay Sindh movement held separate parallel gatherings in Sann and no untoward incident was reported.

Millions of non-locals are living peacefully in rural areas of Sindh and no one has been targeted on ethnic grounds. A similar peaceful coexistence prevailed in Balochistan till recent years. This peace was shattered when abduction and dumping dead bodies of political workers became ubiquitous. Every dead body was reciprocated with a macabre incident and that provided longevity to the bloodbath in the province. An ineptness of matching magnitude is being perpetrated in Sindh where a semblance of peace is already resting on the edge of a precipice. With an entirely different sociopolitical outlook and political ambience, Sindh can stoke a violence of unfathomable ramifications. People are already highly frustrated due to the lacklustre performance of mainstream parties. The outgoing elected government only multiplied the miseries of the people. Yet, the people seething with indignation are still clinging to forlorn hope in the proliferation of democratic dispensation in the country.

Pakistan is already confronting ignominy in the international community due to the spike in terrorism, disrespect for human rights, targeting of minorities and plummeting human development indicators. Repairing this besmirched image needs a saner approach and fratricide would certainly be a disservice to the country. At this juncture of history, the country can ill-afford further internal instability. Reckless incidents that can add fuel to the fire must be avoided at all costs.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • zarmeena
    May 4, 2013 - 12:27AM

    Naseer Sb, Have you ever found a saner voice in Islamabad condemning these brutalities? You will never hear support for these tortured boys. These people hail Ajmal Kassab. You are non-entity.

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  • Mehran
    May 4, 2013 - 1:11AM

    Thank you for educating us. No doubt,a flawed Kill & dump policy only added fuel to fire in Baluchistan, if it would be repeated in Sindh, will not get any different results. Elections are approaching, but seems, some powerful forces want to destabilize Sindh too with such unlawful and inhuman actions. SC is still looking on Missing person case without any fruitful results so far.

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  • Mirza
    May 4, 2013 - 2:12AM

    A thought provoking Op Ed by the writer, thanks ET for publishing that. I agree with the author on everything. In fact I would go to the extent of modifying his statement “the same mistake is being repeated in a relatively sedate province.”
    It is not the mistake but the willful policy of torture and subversion that is practiced!Recommend

  • Talha rizvi
    May 4, 2013 - 11:24AM

    Naseer sahib what about the hundreds of thousands of peaceful Urdu-speaking citizens of interior Sindh who were thrown out in 1974 and 1988.Are they not humans?This writer’s maternal Grandparents were forced to do a second migration in their own country.These citizens had contributed enormously to Sindh.almost all major educational institutions were staffed by the muhajirs and in many cases even started by them and it was through their impact that a new Sindhi middle class began to rise but all these contributions were forgotten when brutal ethnic cleansing was launched against the Muhajirs.Why are you staying silent over this Naseer Memon Sahib?

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    May 4, 2013 - 1:06PM

    @Talha rizvi:

    You are mistaken. There are hundreds of thousands of Sindhi (whose ancestors) where migrants from India living in rural and suburban areas of Sindh. They call themselves Sindhi therefore you dont know about them.

    You should also assimilate in the local culture. The health sector in Sindh has more urdu speakers than sindhi speakers but we dont complain…Recommend

  • UMSyed
    May 4, 2013 - 3:14PM

    This is the first of the writings I have read of Mr. Naseer Memon. I hope he had also penned something of this sort about the similar brutalities conducted in Urban Sindh during the ’90s & which still carries on. Of which a recent example is a political activist Arif Ullah who was abducted from his home in Liaquatabad by people identifying themselves as personnel of an intelligence agency & his mutilated body was found some days later in the area of Malir Cantonment.

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  • Muhajir
    May 4, 2013 - 3:42PM

    Memon saab

    remember 1992 to 95 ? The operations against the Muhajir youths ???
    The ” unknown ” ( you know who ) personnels were abducting them from their homes
    and throwing up the mutilated bodies ?

    Your kind supported that .Now why complain ?

    The only solution is for Balochistan and Sindh are that the Baloch ,New Sindhis ( Muhajirs ) and Old Sindhis to unite against these nefarious force who just want to rule over us .

    If we don’t , they will hunt down each of them one by one ,separately ..

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    May 4, 2013 - 5:32PM

    @Muhajir:
    Friend why do you call yourself Muhajir when you are a Sindh? In Sindh we have Sindhi speakers, Balochi speakers, Seraiki speakers, Punjabi speakers, Pashto speakers, Bengali speakers, Dhatki speakers, Kutchi speakers etc.

    Why you think that being urdu speaker make you a muhajir. You are son of soil. Don’t call yourself muhajir buddy

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  • Malahar
    May 4, 2013 - 9:43PM

    The only way for prosperity of Sindh in particular and Pakistan in general lies in unity. It’s over 65 years, there is no justification to carry on the tag of “Mohajir”. If some body migrated to Sindh and made her one’s permanent abode, and his sincerity is with this land, he is son of soil. He belongs to Sindh and hence Pakistan. The in house fighting between new and old Sindhis were choreographed by 3rd party. People need prosperity, better lives, peaceful co-existence, NOT the politics of hate, violence and division. Lets unite, and make Pakistan a welfare state.

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  • Talha Rizvi
    May 4, 2013 - 9:56PM

    @Sindhi Pakistani:
    Well of course no body wants to call themselves muhajir but my friend what about the 1974 riots.I’ll tell you something throughout her lifetime my mother maintained links with her old friends and neighbours from Larkana who were forced to migrate to Karachi and Hyderabad.I was always amazed at their elegance,education and how much they had achieved in life.Compare that to an average person from Interior who have only achieve on the basis of the quota system.Can you deny that it was only because of the Urdu-speakers and the oppurtunities they created that Sindh began to flourish and social,economical and educational facilities reached a new height.if people had thought like you in 1974 propably there wouldn’t be any MQM or ethnic tension.

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    May 5, 2013 - 10:41AM

    @Talha Rizvi:

    The quota system is there to give less fortunate people a chance to come at top too. Like I said many new Sindhis, Hindus (lower caste), Punjabis or Baloch get the chance to use the quota system too.

    If there is no quota system then everyone will come and study/stay in urban areas like Karachi and Hyderabad. Do you think Sindh is ready for population shift on such a large scale?

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  • Talha Rizvi
    May 5, 2013 - 4:18PM

    @Sindhi Pakistani:
    What rubbish?This has been going on years and still you guys are not satisfied?Almost every post in Karachi’s official department is filled by Sindhis.Even peons and sweepers are imported from the Interior.Every person who has a chance to interact with them can testify their utter incompetence and lack of seriousness.They openly demand bribes and are the least bit concerned about the people of Karachi.My mother passed away recently on 23-2-2013 and it has been an utter torture for me to go into offices for her pension,GP fund and other official duties as every where red-tapism and bribery runs rampant.I pray to God that may you never go through what I have been going through for the last few months.The people at the civic centre and the educational department have it seemed decided to end their lesser fortune by praying like vultures on the city of Karachi and it’s citizens.Since I have lost all faith in these Government functionaries as even my Mother’s old acquaintances are openly trying to extract money from us I pray to Allah that may he in The Name of his beloved Muhammad(P.B.U.H) and my ancestor Imam Hussain deliever me from them as It seems these people have forgotten that they too will DIE AND FACE JUDGEMENT.

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    May 5, 2013 - 7:06PM

    @Talha Rizvi:
    People like you will always have problems I think. You blame Sindhis now for every problem before that you blamed Hindus of India. Can you ever coexist? Bribe culture is everywhere in world but you want to blame Sindhis for that too… lol

    I tried to make you understand that you are Sindhi too but you dont want to be one. no problem.

    I can bet that you have similar problems with Pashtoons, Baloch and Punjabis too.

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  • Talha Rizvi
    May 5, 2013 - 10:44PM

    @Sindhi Pakistani:
    Every ethinicity has it’s share of bribe takers including the Muhajirs but I focused on the sindhis as they are present in every Government Institutions in Karachi from top to the bottom and still there is cry over Sindh’s deprivation.Now where in my posts have I conveyed the impression that I don’t consider myself as Sindhi it’s just that even after 66 years of Independence conferences are held to demand the expulsion of the Urdu-speakers and people even go to the extent of of calling us Makar,panahgir e.t.c.Now my friend contrary to what you think whenever I see any Sindhi achieving on the basis of pure merit my heart swells with joy.My question why depend on Quota system.ever heard of the famous family of Allama I.I Qazi they achieved purely on the basis of merit in pre-partition India and Pakistan,just check their profiles on Wikipedia if you are not aware of their achievements.One of his nephews even became an ICS officer of the 1944 batch.So my friend I bear no il wil towards you It’s just the recent trauma has made me a bit hyper emotional even tomorrow I have to leave from the morning on several office tasks.If you recall I praised your mode of thinking and said if there were people like you in 1974 things wouldn’t have gone so bad.

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  • Sindhi Pakistani
    May 6, 2013 - 9:04AM

    @Talha Rizvi:

    Friend, quota system is a Pandora’s box, for example, are people of Karachi willing to let NED, Dow, JPMC, KU admissions be on open merit for all citizens of Sindh? I dont think so.

    I wanted to study at NED but there were very small number of seats there for people outside Karachi. I could not qualify only because of quota even though in entry test I got very good marks and inter percentage too.

    In “interior” of Sindh, both Urdu and Sindhi speakers have inter-married (true for Hyderabad too) so there is more assimilation but I think (sadly) people of Karachi have not moved on. I am not blaming Karachiites because they dont get to spend enough time with normal non-wadera Sindhis. In fact, Altaf Hussain talks in Sindhi during jalsas in Hyderabad because he realizes this fact.

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