Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Myth: Sindh Is Against Development: Attn: Leaders, Supreme Court

So Sindh is anti-development if it opposes the steal, fraud, cheat, rip-off,Con and swindle of what rightfully belongs to it!!!

The case in point is the bilking away of the two islands off the coast ofKarachi. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Sindh is being fleeced forlong now. The lands, the sea, the air, the resources, the soul, the culture andeven its heritage!

Did Sindhis become part of Pakistan to be defrauded of everything thatbelonged to them? How long should they be made to pay for the folly they made in 1947? - Or the folly of 1943 - to be precise - when their assembly became the first provincial assembly in the Indian sub-continent tosupport the demand for Pakistan?

(Do you remember G. M. Syed? He moved that resolution in Sindh assembly andpleaded and defended it vehemently while many opposed).

Haven't Sindhis paid enough for their 'blunder'? Why to bleed them to death?

This is an appeal to all the leadership of Pakistan and the Supreme Court ofPakistan to immediately intervene and stop the usurpation of what belongs to theprovince. This is an urgent and a real matter. They should act or shouldn'tblame the people if they start looking for other options.

Here is a letter that I wrote to Pakistani media on May 16, 2004. It waspartially published in daily Dawn on May 19, 2004:

Dams, port, NFC, a myth & hemlock

The authors of fantastic ideologies, fables and fairy tales have crafted a myththat the people of Sindh and Balochistan are anti-development. This falsehoodhas been based on Sindh opposition to mega water projects andBalochistan's concerns over the under-construction Gwadar port.

Instead offinding out why is it so, the two provinces have been discredited and condemned. Why does Balochistan have reservations about the port? The Baloch leaders saythe project would create a demographic imbalance, turning the local people intoa minority in their own province. They say the people should be co-opted for anydevelopment projects in their areas. To support their argument, they point outto whatever has happened to Sindh where the local population has beenoutnumbered in many areas and has lost heavily in social, cultural, economic andother fields.

Why do Sindhis oppose mega water projects? They look at the history and trembleat the thought what any new dams and canals upstream would do to them. They seethe broken promises, agreements and treaties.

How the upper riparian unilaterally bypassed the 1945 Water Agreement, the onlyaccord between Sindh and Punjab reached without any coercion or intimidation?They have seen what has happened to six water commissions since the British Raj.They know how the Indus Basin Treaty was concluded behind their backs and howthe resultant projects were undertaken just for the benefit of one province.

People of Sindh are also aware how an unrepresentative regime was forced to signthe 1991 Water Accord. And today even that agreement is not being followed. Thepeople know under what agreements and promises the Chashma-Jehlum andTaunsa-Panjnad canals were built and how these agreements and promises have beentrashed.

It is universally accepted that upper riparian can't undertake any megaprojects as it pleases and that already existing projects have the precedenceover any new projects.

That was the principle why the British administrators rejected Greater ThalCanal project. And today 'our own government' in utter disrespect to the wishesof the lower riparian is building the same project! When there is already a hugeshortage of water in the Indus River System, where would the water come from forthe canal? Sindh is justified in its opposition, as it knows who would suffer inthe end. Its agriculture and environment has already suffered immensely withhundreds of thousands of people losing their livelihood. It cannot afford anymore losses or there would be a catastrophe.

Sindh is against any mega dams on the ground that there is simply no extra waterfor them. Since last few years the water in the Indus River System has been96-104 MAF while under the 1991 Accord provinces have been allocated114.35-117.35 MAF. It is only once in 5-10 years that a flood occurs enhancingthe figures. Dams worth hundreds of billions of rupees cannot be built on theassumptions of floods every 5-10 years. It would be a criminal waste offinancial resourcesthat the country would have to pay dearly.

And why to build dams citing the silting in Tarbela when the government has anexperts report with it on the de-silting of the reservoir? And also thatthere are many alternates for power and water that could be undertaken at muchlower costs and would be more beneficial. Same is the case with NFC when the provincial governments and the federalauthorities are hoodwinking the people. Instead of seeking 80% share for their97% population, the provinces are nowhere near even presenting their caseproperly! It all looks like a pre-arranged affair where the people at largewould suffer and the federal government, its agencies and few powerful lobbieswould be the beneficiaries!

Still they say Sindh and Balochistan are at fault, they are anti-development!Nothing could be farther from truth. They need it the most. But only if they areco-opted and if it is beneficial to their people.
Aziz Narejo


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