Strongly rejecting changes in Sindh’s geographical boundaries, nationalist leaders condemned any political stunts that could foment disharmony between Sindhi and Urdu speaking people.
“The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is once again trying to provoke hostile sentiments between Sindhi and Urdu speaking people in the province,” said Qaumi Awami Tehreek vice president Abdul Qadir Ranto in response to MQM’s latest demand for new provinces.”The renewed call for Sindh’s division is merely a strategy to force the provincial government to revive the controversial local government system.”
Recalling the province’s resistance against the Peoples Local Government Ordinance in 2012, Ranto warned that there could be a backlash to this new demand.
“The on again, off again alliance between the MQM and the Pakistan Peoples Party during the last six years has aggravated problems in the province,” said Sindh United Party president Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, pointing out that MQM was demanding the break-up of Sindh while it sat as a partner in the provincial government. “Nationalist leaders must rise above the ethnic divide to provide alternate leadership to the province’s populace.”
Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) president Sanan Qureshi asserted that MQM was trying to cover up internal fissures in the party by fuelling ethnic tensions. “Instead of learning from the past, MQM chief Altaf Hussain is again provoking hostility,” he said. “Although this will do no harm to Sindh’s geographical integrity, it could incite hatred among Sindhi and Urdu speaking people once more.”
Qureshi urged MQM leaders to advise Altaf to speak in favour of Sindh’s unity and harmony.
JSQM Arisar group chairperson Abdul Wahid Arisar, known for supporting MQM, reminded Altaf that Sindh was not an administrative unit, but the land of the Sindhis that has existed for thousands of years. “The late GM Syed and his followers have always considered Urdu speaking people as part of Sindh,” he added.
The Sindh Taraqi Pasand and factions of Jeay Sindh have also condemned MQM’s demand.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.