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Political Play
Zulfiqar Shah
Sindh bleeds in the name of democracy 03 October, 2012
Legislation over the controversial ordinance from Sindh Assembly has caused furore, leading to mass movements and protest across the Sindh. Many fear that this may lead to Baluchistan like situation in the peace-loving Sufi province of Pakistan.

PAKISTAN PEOPLE'S Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) together virtually divided Sindh on October 1, 2012 by legislating the highly controversial and popularly rejected Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO).

The Sindh Assembly session that was called in a surprise move similar to the battlefield tactics invited outroar from the people in the form of shutter-down and vehicle jam strike across the province, including the majority non-Urdu speaking districts and towns of Karachi and a protest within the provincial parliament.

The ordinance was passed without inviting any discussion and the session was concluded immediately after. This news led to rampage in the province where common people led by the activists threw bangles, hang Tavas (black meal-cooking pan) and pelted stones at the houses of provincial ministers and the parliamentarians. Police allegedly opened fire in the streets of Sakrand town of Nawabshah, which is home town of president Zardari and streets turned into battlefield between activists and police. One activist Ali Raza Khaskeli was reportedly killed. The youth set the city police station on fire. Protests are held everywhere in Sindh for killing it over vote politics and in the name of democracy.

Sindh, which has a long history of political struggles and movements in Pakistan, has reached at new turning point after many decades. Since their elected representatives have betrayed them at the behest of hidden hands always operating from the highly ‘popular’ twin cities of Pakistan, they are left with no other option than violence and street power. It will be first time in Sindh’s history in Pakistan, when masses are deeply thinking for non-peaceful struggle, which in fact is against their historical essence of Sufism, harmony and peace.

This is an important time for the people of Sindh and all social and political forces there particularly Sindhi nationalists to plan a dent-making people’s movement. They should also adopt all positive modes of modern social movements like Tahrir Square in Egypt or filling the streets; however before doing this they have to consider about some minor but highly important things.

The demand of the people in Sindh is essentially not only justified but also is based on their universal right to rule their historical motherland, however they require to give a charter or document of amendments in current bill or declare a lay-out document of local government system.

Besides, along with holding protest marches in the districts, sub-districts and towns, a joint and collective focused mass outburst in the form of one-day people’s march in Karachi similar to Freedom March of 2012, which was attended by above half a million people, is needed to be organized focusing on the SPLGO.

Like in past, the English and Urdu media of Pakistan has deteriorated the news and details regarding the scale of protests; however it is not worthy to mention that on whose pressure this is been done. It is highly essential that a new media and communication mechanism is adopted so that this people’s struggle may get a broader attention.

Although Sindh needs to be focused on the issue, but a six decades' long struggle of the people suggests that after handling this issue, a collective struggle needs to be carried out. The time of struggling on the issues and in bits and pieces is over now. A collective struggle and the contesting upcoming elections will be the niche of the time. PPP can also announce the dates of local government elections in Sindh to defuse and divert the movement. In that case, struggle should be carried-out as well as local government elections should also be contested. They need not to commit same mistake, which Baloch people committed during last elections.

Sindh now requires opting for new forms of struggle. Today its geographical unity and demographic sovereignty of the province is challenged. Sindhi leadership as well as the establishment in Pakistan should not forget that Sindh, like Balochistan, became part of Pakistan through parliamentary legislation, not merely through the Partition Plan of India. Therefore, the case of Sindh can be and should be treated differently. Besides, it should also be highlighted at international level by the international forums of Sindh under certain contexts of international law to retain the people and federating state’s sovereignty referring to the political, cultural, historical, ethnic, and civil rights regime.

Due to long course of military governments in Pakistan, the civil and democratic governance has also become militarized. A militarized democracy that is bent on dividing and killing Sindh in the name of electoral majority is worse than open dictatorship. The shop of such a democracy is nothing but a black hole for the people and oppressed people in Pakistan.

It is Pakistan, not Sindh that is at the crossroads today. If omni-powerful chooses adhoc solutions to the highly sensitive and as older issues as the country itself is, it may prove to be a blunder similar to 1971. The governance institutions in Pakistan that have the only quotable experience of ‘Afghanistan War’ are handling the federating-provinces of Pakistan like Afghanistan. Baluchistan is already bleeding and is almost at the brink. Is similar experience in Sindh affordable? Certainly not.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Zulfiqar Shah is a stateless activist, analyst, and researcher. Although he is a refugee, and living a life in exile, he is a born Sindhi and South Asian. Currently he lives in India.
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