Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How Sindhis Feel: Memorandum to All Parties Conference (APC)

How Sindhis Feel?

Memorandum to All Political Parties and their representatives in APC

Today Sindhi speaking people feel disfranchised in Pakistan. They feel that despite being principle political creators and supporters of Pakistan movement, they have been ignored and left behind in Pakistan. All those who have tried to speak for welfare of Sindhis have been labeled traitors and separatist rather than well-wishers of people of Pakistan who are being ignored and left behind.

Among other things, Sindhis feel that:

Sindhi language and culture have been ignored and has been deliberately pushed back. Sindhis are not in competition with Urdu. They simply seek preservation and development of their language and culture, which are many thousands of years old.

Based on international reports from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank etc, poverty among Sindhi speaking people who reside principally in interior of Sindh is on the rise. It is higher than that in Punjab, NWFP and average rate for whole Pakistan. About 50% of Sindhis live below poverty line while average poverty rate for Pakistan is roughly about 30%.

While Sindhis used to have plenty of irrigation and drinking water, today Sindhi lands and mouths are dry. On the other hand, Sindhis are given undue share of dangerous floodwater and poisonous drainage water from other provinces. As a result, water borne diseases are rampant in Sindh.

Sindhis are deprived of own leadership. While some provinces have been rightfully given freedom to choose own leaders, Federal government has always taken upon itself to impose hand picked leaders on Sindh. In making the choice, priority is given to those who will be acceptable even loyal to others rather than those who will have genuine interest in development of Sindh.

In recent years, Sindh government has been literally handed over to MQM. Rural Sindh has been deliberately handed back to feudal. Law and order has been handed over to tribal Jirgas. Middle class has been crushed in every possible way.

For decades Sindhis have been deprived of fair representation in armed forces of Pakistan because they had fought British rule. Tall and strong Sindhis were rejected and short and physically weak non-Sindhis were welcomed in armed forces because they were from communities, which were acceptable to British raj. Enough of this so called “martial race” business.

Sindhis have been promoters, supporters of Pakistan. Sindhis willingly accept their own shortcomings. However, they refuse to be treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan, which their assembly and people supported from the start.

Sindhis ask all political parties and military and civil bureaucracy of Pakistan to treat them fairly. SINDHIS WANT FAIRNESS IN FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN.

Sindhis seek concrete action to ensure that they will be treated as equal citizens of Pakistan. They seek support of all political parties of Pakistan and military and civil bureaucracy for:

Several fold increases in resources to help develop Sindhi language and culture

Quality education and jobs to make up for past discrimination and other measures to reduce poverty to at least average rate for whole Pakistan. This means effective reduction of poverty from about 50% to about 30%.

Full registration of poor rural Sindhi voters.

Transparent national and local elections on basis of which Sindhis will receive fair share in running affairs of their provincial government.

Induction of Sindhi leaders in government who will be sincere to Sindhis rather than those who will be acceptable to MQM and federal agencies.

Large-scale recruitment of Sindhis at all levels in national armed forces until they receive a fair representation on basis of population.

Fair share of national budgetary resources consistent with income generated in Sindh and existing high poverty rate. The resources must be spent on rural development which will improve quality of life rather than spending of the money on some mega projects which benefit a few.

Urgent water and electric distribution policies and schemes to provide irrigation water, drinking water and electricity to rural Sindhis. Sindhis are tired of being the last in the queue.



Ali Nawaz Memon

July 5, 2007


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