Rebellion and silent suffering: ‘70m Seraiki people await recognition’

Speakers at Seraiki Festival urge the govt to pay for medical expenses of ailing Seraiki poets.



DERA GHAZI KHAN:


Speakers at the Seraiki festival in Dera Khan on Monday expressed dismay that no tangible steps were being taken by the government for recognition of Seraiki identity. 

The two-day festival was organised by Seraiki Qaumi Ittehad at Dera Ghazi Khan Arts Council.


The festival was attended by nearly 3,000 students, officials, civil society activists and political leaders.

Talking to the audience at a panel talk, Seraiki Qaumi Ittehad leader Khwaja Ghulam Farid Koreja said the demand for a Seraiki province was not only connected to Seraiki identity but also had implications for welfare of the Seraiki people.

“The history of the Seraiki people is simultaneously a story of rebellion and of silent suffering, of collective action and individualism... of the proverbial peasant guile and the equally proverbial peasant gullibility,” he said.

He said the people of the region were known for their fierce attachment to home and hearth.“Seraiki people seek an egalitarian order and can render unbelievable sacrifices to protect their faith and cultural values,” he said.

He said the identity of Sindhis, Punjabis, Baloch and Pashtuns had been recognised legally but 70 million Seraiki people were still struggling for recognition. “In Punjab, they are discriminated against for not being Punjabi and in other provinces, they are hated for being Punjabi,” he said.

Koreja said history would never forgive those who were working against the formation of a Seraiki province.

Referring to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), he said their leaders were taking turns in power.

He said Seraiki people could attach no hope to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf either as it had no coherent agenda.

“Imram Khan is not even clear about his position on the Seraiki province,” he said.

Speakers at the panel said the government should pay for medical expenditures of Seraiki poets Shakir Shujabadi, Ahmad Khan Tariq and Amaanullah Arshad.

They said facilities of arts councils in south Punjab should be upgraded. They also demanded at just distribution of the Writers’ Welfare Funds.

A musical night was also held at the festival where Ustaad Ghulam Farid Kunaira, Riaz Saqi, Abdur Rehman Naqash, Akram Nizami performed. Various Seraiki books were also put on display at stalls.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2014.

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