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By Zulfiqar Mirani
This is in response to a column of Mr. Habib Jatoi, published in Daily Kawish on 23rd February 2004. Your (HJ‟s) apprehensions about the future role of parliamentarians and assembly members from Sindh on Kalabagh dam and other water issues in the country are very much correct, for which you have already mentioned some examples from post partition history. In my view
1. 2. 3. 4.
5. 6. 7. 8.
It is beyond anybody‟s doubt and well established fact that KALABAGH DAM IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, if not to all but, to a very vast majority of Sindhi population. Punjab is very much serious in building Kalabagh Dam The construction is delayed because of lack of availability of required funds. World Bank and other financers are NOT reluctant to provide required funds for the Sindh and other provincial assemblies oppose it. This could be one factor but is NOT the ONLY reason, otherwise as you have pointed out in your column Passing of Resolution from any of the assembly in Pakistan by the Government of the time is NOT impossible. Specially in the present type of representations of people from small provinces. Public opinion of Sindhi people have no value for Punjabi-Panahgir dominated federal bureaucracy and centers of power. Balance of Power between Punjab and Sindh is clearly in favour of Punjab in terms of numerical strength, power share in politics, military, bureaucracy, courts and in many other areas. Kalabagh Dam is opposed on Technical and Political grounds by Sindh and, of course, on the past experience of Sindh with Punjab on water matters. “Kalabagh a matter of Life and Death for Sindh” is a separate debate. At least I am not competent to comment on it.
Present day scenario:
1. Musharaf, a Muhajir, supports Kalabagh and has shown keen interest PUBLICLY in construction of the Dam. He and his followers now and often reiterate in media and in public the construction of Dam than any other Government. More than, even, Nawaz Sharif a true and genuine Punjabi leader and representative who has still lot of support in Punjab. 2. Musharaf has also initiated construction of other disputed water projects like Thal Canal. 3. Musharaf‟s Government supports the idea of opening of Khokhrapar border with India. 4. This government has also aired the issue of NFC and publicized that Punjab is bulldozing opinion of the three provinces. 5. Musharf, as the Army Chief, has few days back issued a statement that there is NO injustice with Sindhis as for as their representation is concerned in Army. This clarification of Musharaf was uncalled for. Nobody at present from Sindh has raised such a question. 6. Any type of press/media statement against Punjab and Punjabi is NOT blocked by the present Government. Any thing exposing designs of Muhajirs are blocked from being published in media. 7. The Muhajirs do not oppose construction of Kalabagh and Thal canal. They only struggle for such issues that increase gulf between Sindh and Punjab. They never support projection of Sindhi Language and Culture, struggle of Sindhi youth for restoration of their employment in different organizations. 8. They on the other hand support opening of Khokhrapar border, influx of Biharis and others from India, Burma and from all countries, all such moves and actions that secure more powers and authority for Karachi, which ultimate lead to an autonomous territory. 9. Muhajirs are engaged in and leave no chance of increasing gulf between Sindh and Punjab.
Let us look ate few statements that have appeared in just two days.
1. Benazir 2. assemblies.
23 Feb 2004 : Musharaf is maximizing gulf between the provinces. 23 Feb 2004 : PONAM demands fresh elections of constituent
3. 23 Feb 2004 : If Afghanis are allowed in Sindh, Biharis should also be allowed. Waseem Akhtar, MQM‟s Advisor to Chief Minister of Sindh – stated at Nawabshah. 4. 24 Feb 2004 : MQM demands fifty-fifty share in employment quota in Sindh – Kawish. 5. 13 Feb 2004 : In a recent statement at National Defence College, the Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Jamali has floated the idea of dividing current provinces to create new provinces of the size of divisions.
Such statements often appears in press and media.
Let us now look at the manifesto of Mutahida Quomi Movement
It is therefore imperative to recognise and accept the constitutional rights of Sindhi, Punjabi, Pakhtoon, Mohajir, Baloch, Saraiki, Brohi, Makrani and all other nationalities, fraternities, lingual, cultural and religious units to provide them justice so that the fervour of national integration could grow and kinship develop. MQM desires that by mutual co-operation in the spirit of give and take and with consensual approach, steps be taken to formulate and execute such development programs by the federal and provincial governments in which every region of the country is able to participate and effectively share its benefits and that no class of the populace should feel left out and bypassed. (ref: item 1 National Integration) By granting more powers and providing enhanced resources to the elected local bodies their role in the education, up to primary and secondary level should be increased and the framework and scope of these institutions to be enlarged and used to full potential. As an additional step, the federal and provincial governments should provide grants to the elected local bodies……………………. Merit should be the predominant factor in selection. (ref: item 2 Education) In our country, owing to the dual educational system, the medium of instruction is usually in two languages. In State schools from primary level onwards the medium of instructions is usually Urdu, commonly known as
Urdu Medium Schools. Whereas in good quality, expensive and private schools the medium for instructions is always English, these schools are termed as English Medium Schools. Invariably, the government and administrative jobs go to the people who have knowledge of English and for top positions only those people are appointed who have fluency in English language. The majority of the population in the country gets its education in Urdu language and does not know the English language at all or certainly does not have the fluency in English language. For this reason a great majority of the population is deprived of applying for top jobs despite the fact that they are quite capable of carrying out the functions. They are deprived of these positions because of the dual standards of the education system. In order to involve the majority of the public in all modes of administration so they can participate in the running of the country, the dual standards of education has to be eliminated. The medium of education should be the same in English medium schools and Urdu medium schools with a view to getting rid of the superiority which the English medium schools have taken for granted over the Urdu medium schools. (ref: item 2 elimination of dual education system). From MQM‟s point of view, race, language, colour and region should not be considered while appointing people for industry, trade and commerce, whether in government institutions or non-governmental organisations. The criteria should be merit and merit alone for obtaining employment. (ref : item 8 human rights) It is MQM‟s view that without abolishing the feudal system, Pakistan cannot progress………….. Twice in the past, attempts were made to enforce agricultural reforms but because of the grip of the feudal oligarchy those reforms could not be carried out. It is, therefore, essential that the ceiling for landholding be established and effective land reforms be implemented. (ref : 11 feudal system). The feudal lords are the sole beneficiaries of the agricultural produce. After their round the clock labour the poor peasants get just about enough to survive…….. It is MQM‟s policy to provide peasants with a share of the agriculture produce on similar grounds as the industrial labour in town gets a share in the profits from industries. …………. MQM is in favour of levying tax on agricultural income and wants to improve the system of collecting „Ushr‟ tax in the country. (ref : 12 Agriculture). With the consensus of all provinces, and keeping in mind the agreed formula for the distribution of water, new canals should be dug to cultivate barren land. . (ref : 12 Agriculture). For this purpose policies should be formulated which would readily establish industries throughout the country without unreasonable legal impediments and bureaucratic interference………… MQM wants to see that by introducing a "one-window operation"; the people should have access to all the safeguards, advantages and protection for the development of industry……… The taxation system should be made simple and easy to understand………. MQM wants to provide constitutional protection for the elected local bodies throughout the country.
MQM is in favour of maximum provincial autonomy and, therefore, wishes that power be transferred from the centre to the provinces and from the province to the elected local bodies……... On the question of provincial autonomy, MQM wants consultations and discussions to be held with the leaders of all the provinces to seek an appropriate and reasonable solution acceptable to all regions of the country. With a view to solving problems at local level, thereby generating a feeling of participation by the people of all regions in the country, MQM favours making local elected bodies strong and more effective by promoting the concept of "Local Self Government"………….. It is, therefore, essential that power and authority is transferred from federal level to provincial level and from provincial level to the elected local bodies……….. It is therefore, necessary that the elected local bodies are allowed to exercise greater authority and financial independence in line with other developed countries of the world………… It is, therefore, essential that the number of constituencies are increased and adjustments made in the national and provincial assembly seats in accordance with the revised population ratio in different constituencies. (The demand already met by Musharaf) Furthermore, new problems are being created due to migration of rural population to the cities. In order to deal with this effectively, MQM wants to take realistic measures to resolve these problems. The stranded Pakistanis have been living a poverty–stricken life since 1971 in Bangladeshi camps. Their only crime is that they believed in patriotism and they still want to return to their own country, Pakistan. It is regrettable that successive governments did not pay attention to this humanitarian and national problem. Some political leaders exploited the situation for their political gains and had no real interest in solving the problem of repatriation. In fact, those who oppose the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis actually oppose the Two Nation Theory which was the basis for the division of India and creation of Pakistan. MQM‟s point of view is that the stranded people in Bangladesh are patriotic Pakistanis and should be brought back home, forthwith. What is immediately needed is to establish an effective and simple system which will tend to minimise the tax burden upon the people on one hand but controlling tax evasion on the other, thereby, creating an increase in tax recovery…….… there should be a levy of taxes that are endurable to the tax payers ……….. In this regard the enforcement of tax on agricultural income would be a step in the right direction …….(comments: The dual policy – for agriculturist and for business and industrial class because agriculturists are predominently Sindhis) MQM wants to see all laws and policies that are inconsistent with the rule of merit, including the Quota System, to be repealed forthwith………. MQM wants to see that in all industrial, commercial, fiscal, municipal government and non-governmental organisations, employment should be given on the basis of merit alone. …………… it is essential to remove the crutch of the Quota System.
in coastal areas and the cities on the seashore desalination plants should be installed. In order to solve the problem of energy, MQM wants to build more dams…….. MQM is in favour of local policing in all regions……….. MQM says that Policemen should be recruited from the District they live in.
Let us now look at the charter of Muhajir Quomi Movement, as issued on Saturday, June 4, 1994:
§ Mohajir representation in the National and Provincial assemblies and the Senate is well below their actual population. To ensure proportionate representation of Mohajirs, the overdue census be conducted under an impartial authority. The electoral boundaries in Sindh province be also revised. § Mohajirs constitute about 50% of Sindh‟s population but their share in the Federal and Provincial services is negligible. The urban quota in federal and provincial services needs to be enhanced from 7.6% to 9% as from 40% to 50% respectively on the strength of their population. The factual position is that the representation of Mohajirs in federal and provincial services is only 1% and 15% respectively. To meet the deficiency of 8.5% at federal level and 35% on provincial level, special recruitment for induction of Mohajirs be made on emergency basis and due share of Mohajirs in the services be maintained. § The spirit of democracy demands that all sections of population are represented in the government. Therefore the position of the Governor and Chief Minister of Sindh be shared in rotation by Mohajirs and Sindhis. [It was agreed in 1972 between late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohajir elders that in the presence of a Sindhi Chief Minister a Mohajir will always be made the Governor of the Province, but this agreement has not been fully adhered to.] § The repatriation of stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh to Pakistan be carried out without further delay. § Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Hyderbad Municipal Corporation and other Municipal bodies be made autonomous to govern their affairs freely. § All employees arbitrarily sacked or removed from Federal, Provincial and semi-government services since June 1992 and those sacked from Pakistan Steel Mills be reinstated. [During Operation Clean Up several thousand Mohajirs were sacked from government and semi-government organisations. Prior to this about 6000 had also been dismissed from Pakistan Steel Mills. Their only crime was that they were Mohajirs.]
§ Representation of Mohajirs in Sindh Police is negligible; therefore, recruitment of Mohajirs in Sindh Police be made on emergency basis to make it proportionate according to their population ratio.
Conclusion: My dear and respected friend, In the light of above I would like to make few points as below (which are not new to a person like you, some of which have been presented by Mr. Rasool Bux Palijo as well): 1. The Punjabis and Sindhis have been living in the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There had never been any war or noticeable major disputed between them. It is only after partition that the two states were made enemies of one another. 2. The Punjabis and Sindhis will live in Indus Valley for the future course of time. They have to find a way and solutions to “Live and Let Live”. 3. The agenda of minority provinces, since beginning, is to grasp land for the muslims of minority provinces of India. Their population is yet not adequate to claim full control over Sindh. They are trying to secure at least a region (for which MQM have repeatedly asking for more autonomy in their manifesto) of Karachi purely for Muhajirs. 4. Muhajirs, under the leadership of Musharaf think the contemporary time most suitable to implement their malafide designs of separation of Karachi from Sindh or at least most possible autonomy (such as separate police and administration for Karachi). They have already tried to establish separate Ministers and Departments for Rural and Urban populations in their previous government, and now through Local Government system. 5. Muhajirs (since Liaqat Ali Khan) want Urdu and Urdu alone the language of Pakistan. 6. After rise of Punjabi nationalism, the education in native people of Pakistan including Sindhi and Punjabi, Muhajir bureaucracy have no other option but to vacate some positions for native people. Their share in power (though is very high at present in Musharaf Government, perhaps higher than the Government of Liaqat Ali Khan) is normally declining. 7. Muhajirs still work for agenda and are permanent part and parcel of muslims of minority provinces of India. Their actual clash is with native Sindhis. Punjabis were their allies until they were playing in their hand. After awareness in Punjab and rise of Punjabi industrialist and business class, the clash between the industrialist and business class of muslim minority provinces, who have
manipulated and took active part in Pakistan Movement, and of Punjab has started. The shifting of Industries from Nooriabad to Punjab, Development of communication infrastructure (roads, highways, airports etc) for linking central Punjab to Central Asia in North, Gawadar in South is not digestable to Muhajirs. 8. Punjabi business class have captured the Pakistan market against the will, plan and estimation of Muhajirs, who are now trying to establish links with Indian Markets through opening of Khokhrapar. Musharaf also supports the Idea. 9. I respect and salute those workers who are offering sacrifice for the cause of Sindh and opposing construction of Kalabagh Dam. But the struggle against Kalabagh Dam at this time when the Government has no funds available to start construction is instigated by Muhajirs to increase the Gulf between Sindh and Punjab. There is absolutely no need to nominate Ministers to start campaign in favour of Dam and make it public issue by the Government itself, and thus creating problem for itself. It is absolutely and apparently unwise on part of government, but have hidden agenda of Muhajirs. “Punja Azmai” or the show of strength with Punjab at this stage is unwise. There are still lot of options which should be tried. ( I am sorry for my opinion, it is absolutely NOT to degrade the sacrifices of Sindhi people for Kalabagh and othetr National Issues) 10. Intellectuals should be allowed to play a role on both sides (Sindh and Punjab). 11. There are two objectives of Muhajirs at this time: One, if Pakistan is disintegrated as the result of the clash between Sindh, Punjab and other provinces, they will bring more muslims from Indians and if not the whole Sindh at least will capture the coastal part of Sindh upto Indian border. (Musharaf has already announced construction of coastal highway from Karachi to Tharparker upto Indian border towns, the work will begin soon and be completed as soon as possible). Second, if Pakistan remains, they want Punjabis to realize that they are their natural allies and will seek new formula of power share in Pakistan securing maximum possible interests of Muhajirs. 12. This is a very crucial time after 1947. that was a time when boundaries of subcontinent were demarcated. Though final decision makers were British, but the major actors were Hindu leadership of congress) and leaders of Muslim minority provinces (Jinnah, Liaqat etc). Punjabis never supported Pakistan, but at the end were given incentives as they were to play a major role in coming five to six decades which everybody have witnessed. Of course they were granted concessions as per their role (played in last five decades for UK and USA – which was not foreseeable at the time of partition). But in lieu of those concessions in the form of economics Punjabi as a nation had to sacrifice a lot, their country was divided, their people on bothsides of Punjab were slaughtered (this is a separate issue and need to be analyzed in detail). At this time again, decision about permanent boundaries of Pakistan and India is offing and being negotiated under the auspices of UK and USA. On the side of India there is a genuine leadership emerged through a democratic process of almost six decades, but on this side Muhajirs (Indian muslims of UP and CP again) under the leadership of Musharaf have taken leadership by
ousting a Punjabi leader Nawaz by playing every thing UK and USA desire. Thus talks are being held again between the same two interests groups (of 1947), under the umbrella of the same old masters with one change of interests of Punjabi business class which was not there previously. The future role and concessions (in lieu of playing that role) is being decided for next four-five decades. 13. Sindhi need a wise leadership. Patience and lot of preparedness is required to cope with emerging situation. 14. Realities of 1947, 1971 and of today are very different. Cracks have been developed in Muhajir-Punjabi alliance. They need to be critically and thoroughly analyzed. Policies and strategies of Nationalist forces specially of Sindh and Baluchistan need to be revised. I would reiterate that Punjbis, Sindhis, Baluch and Pathans, the all natives, have to live in this part of the world for all times to come. It would be ideal if they workout a formula and way of living together respecting each others interests and honour. Otherwise there will be no permanent peace in this country, no development, no prosperity. The politics of conspiracies should be blocked by forging unity of all natives. There is a lot more to write and discuss. Z R Mirani 5 March 2004
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