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Political Play
Zulfiqar Shah
Unmasking democracy: Military versus civil governance in Sindh 01 May, 2014
After a month of the millions’ march in Karachi for the freedom of Sindh, the Sindh Assembly for the first time in its history within Pakistan has unanimously passed a resolution on April 29, 2014 against the Federal Government and the Federation of Pakistan. The resolution mentioning “accesses done by the Federal Governments of Pakistan against Sindh” and has quoted that the Federation of Pakistan is punishing Sindh […].

It is worth mentioning here that Sindh Assembly was once called ‘Sindh Legislative Assembly’ of the ‘State of Sindh’ before the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The head of Sindh Government was then called Prime Minister. Besides, the independent and sovereign governments of Britannia (United Kingdom) and Sindh held more than a dozen treaties for trade, military and technical exchange between two the sovereign countries before 1843. Contrary to this, if seen today, astonishing is the fact that current head of Sindh Government called Chief Minister (ruling Sindh since last ten years) hitherto has been dubbed as the weaker most head of the federating province in Pakistan has for the first time started talking unexpectedly.

In fact, Sindhi intelligentsia has remained worried over the reality that Sindh, which was historically having surplus budget until 1965 has gradually underwent fiscal decline inversely proportionate to its major and rising share in the economy, revenues, and natural resources abundance of Pakistan. It is common among the Sindhi literati that the ‘authority’ and ‘autonomy’ of Sindh Government has shirked anti-clockwise after the partition of 1947, and the powers of Chief Minister of Sindh have skewed as much as of the ‘Political Agents’ of Pakistan establishment installed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). A ‘Political Agent’ in Pakistan is acting only on the orders of the Federal Government of Pakistan.

The hitherto untold account of the state-within-state or the third state in terms of governance in Sindh stretches from town level local government (Panchayat) to the provincial level Sindh Government. The military establishment of Pakistan comprising the dominated Punjabis is the real decision approver of these two tiers of governance in Sindh, which is part of federation of Pakistan since last seven decades. This state-within-state or Third State situation has been the real fault lines of the friction and conflicts between Sindh and Federation as well as mother of all illnesses in Sindh.

Town and Tehsil Mayors versus Captains and Majors

Usually a Town / Panchayat elected leader of the local government tiers needs a semi-clearance from the all non-civil and civil-intelligence agencies of not only the criminal record but also of the ideological record based on the ideological bent. If someone is communist; an outspoken secular; unbeliever of two-nation theory; Sindhi nationalist, there are no chances for his clearance. He has to bid a compromise, and start practicing Namaz at least once a month, praise two nations theory and condemn Hindus role in the united India; disown his or her ideology. Otherwise, he or she should be ready to face election troubles trouble, especially election frauds. Mostly officials ranking from Captain to Majors of Pakistan Army are virtual command in enormous matters of the local governance at Town and Tehsil level.

Simultaneously, a District Nazim / City Government Mayor is required to get clearance on the above lines, have to take instructions by the Pakistan Army’s sitting Colonel / Lt. Colonel deputed in the district for the intelligence coordination among the civil and non civil intelligence outfits. This position of Colonel behaves as a virtual Governor of the district. No District or City Nazim / Mayor can take major decisions without getting final approval from the military official.

Major-Brigadiers versus Colleges and Universities

A higher education collage in towns and cities of the province are virtually dealt as Collage Districts. The principals of these districts ought to keep close coordination and liaison with the Tehsil military official mostly of Captains or sometimes a senior holding the post of Major or Lt. Colonel. Simultaneously no university in Sindh is autonomous to take their academic, administrative, and extra-curricular activities. A Brigadier of Pakistan Army is the final virtual authority. A Vice Chancellor of a university cannot take major decision in the above domains without his nod.

Sindh Assembly versus Corpse V Karachi

Almost all proceedings of Sindh Assembly are real-time observed by the intelligence section working under the Corpse Commander of Corpse V of the Pakistan Army in Karachi, who is officially in-charge for the military actions and operations in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. A hopeful / aspirant of the Member Province Assembly (MPA) must possess an intelligence clearance by the Military Intelligence, ISI and IB in Sindh and he or she should be a firm believers of Two Nations Theory or Muslim Nationhood in Pakistan and must not be a Sindhi nationalist and preferably should not have visited India before becoming the MPA. If someone qualifies on the above lines, there are some chances for the candidates that their elections results would not be rigged.

Corps Commander Sindh versus Chief Minister Sindh

Crops Commanders of Pakistan Army in Sindh were once termed “Karor (millions) Commanders” by the slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It is a well known fact among the journalist and political circles of Sindh that every newly appointed Corps Commander of Karachi joins dinner discussion with the outgoing one, and the outgoing one put a challenge to the new official for more kickbacks from Sindh than what he earned in his duration as a Corps Commander.

The Chief Minister’s secretariat and the major decisions by the Chief Minister Sindh regarding the province need to be agreed un-constitutionally by the Corps Commander Karachi.

Militarized Corruption

Reducing the security expenditures, the military in Sindh takes Public Service Commission (PCS) and Civil Service Commission (CSS) officers into their intelligence fold. They are not paid for their loyalty and un-constitutional services to the Military Intelligence and ISI; however they are assured for unchecked corruption in lieu of their ‘services’ and loyalty for the military.

Given these circumstance, there are less possibilities for Sindh Assembly, Sindh Government, and Local Government to take bold policy, political and administrative decisions protecting interests of the people of Sindh particularly Sindhis. The situation is a naïve example of ‘State-within-State’ or ‘Third State’ versus ‘Sindh Government’. This is the drawback behind the underdevelopment, law and order situation, growing religious extremism and educational institutions failure in Sindh.

Can Sindh or rest of Pakistan undergo the reforms in this direction? The chances are thin and non-existent. Would Sindh finally decide to secede from Pakistan to protect the future of more than 50 million people? Answer lies in the Bhwisher Wani (The Book of Future).

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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