Sanjay Suri

Date: 9/26/2000


The Times of India, Sep 20, 2000

Sindhis in Pakistan demand self-determination.

LONDON: In yet another separatist blow to Pakistan, a group of top Sindhi leaders has demanded the right to self-determination for Sindh within Pakistan, close on the heels of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief calling the creation of that country the biggest historical blunder.

"Sindh has been denied the status of an independent, autonomous and sovereign state as envisaged in the Pakistan Resolution of 1940," top Sindhi leaders, struggling for autonomy for the Sindh province, said in a resolution at the World Sindhi Congress here.

The meeting came just as Sindhi, Baluchi, Pakhtoon and MQM leaders came together in London to warn of a sinking Pakistan. At the meeting MQM chief Altaf Hussain said "the division of the Indian subcontinent was the biggest mistake in the history of mankind."

The Sindhi meeting too warned of "the collapsing framework of Pakistan" and spoke of the need to "defend the historic national rights of Sindhis." The leaders demanded their "inherent and inalienable right to self determination." The leaders from Sindh said their province contributes 60 per cent of the resources with the government, but only six per cent of the government money gets spent on Sindh. This is becoming the basis for widespread opposition to the government, the leaders said.

Those present included Abdul Khalique Junejo, chief organiser of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Mohammed Yousuf Laghari, chairman of the Sindh Democrats Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, Syed Shah Mohammed Shah, secretary-general of the Pakistan Peoples Party in Sindh, Gul Mohammed Jakhrani, member of the central committee of the Pakistan Muslim League, secretary-general of the Sindh National Front and several others. Lachman Khubchandani, director of the Centre for Communication Studies at Pune, was invited from India for the session.

The Sindhi leaders demanded their rights under the Pakistan Resolution of 1940. The leaders said in their resolution that "during the (more than) 50 years life of Pakistan there has been an alternating cycle of ten years rule by politicians and military generals, always in the name of corruption and accountability."

Sindhis are suffering under "the ever increasing process of neo-colonisation." The meeting expressed its opposition to "the establishment of army monitoring cells, construction of military cantonments in Sindh, the presence of a huge military contingent and continued military operations in the name of law and order."

The leaders deplored the October 12 military takeover in Pakistan. Ordinary people are being harassed while the military "has not touched the top elite." The leaders opposed the plans to divide Sindh under the Devolution Plan. "The sovereignty of Sindhis over Sindh must be recognised morally, politically and constitutionally," the leaders said in their resolution.(IANS)