Archive for March, 2009

Issue of Illegal Immigrants in Pakistan nay Sindh

Posted in Karachi, Nationalism, Pakistan, Politics, Sindh with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2009 by 9000yearsold

Cost of illegal aliens

by Manzoor Chandio

Legislators are expected to defend the rights of people from whom they get votes. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Sindh.

Lawmakers’ utter ignorance on everything aside, but defending three million illegal immigrants at the cost of tax payers shows how insensitive are they about the rights of their own people.

Recently MPA Syeda Marvi Rashdi went on saying “discrimination was rife, especially against Bengali aliens, and it was the government’s responsibility to protect their rights as they were human beings after all.”

Why she’s not so much concerned about the human rights of her own voters? Perhaps she doesn’t know their problems.

Sindh’s James Bond Home Minister says they do not have sufficient funds to expatriate these aliens and that it was essentially a subject under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Does he know by expatriating three million illegal immigrants, the Sindh government can save hundreds of megawatts power, thousands of gallons water and several tones of atta daily?Affluent Western countries are working on many plans to expatriate illegal immigrants from their countries, because of resource crunch.

Three million illegal aliens in Sindh are not only burden on resources but involved in street crimes, power theft, unhygienic selling of sugar cane juices, cigarettes, gutka, mainpuri and rotten fish.

Many Bangladeshis have adopted fishing along the Sindh coast at the cost of local fishermen. Afghans have been found involved in selling drugs and weapons.

Karachi, where most of the illegal aliens are living, is a city with inadequate urban services like health, water supply, electricity, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management.

The city is prone to daily snatching of hundreds of cell phones and hijacking of dozens of vehicles.

The country imports wheat to fulfill the needs of eating mouths. When there is shortage of atta the commodity is sold on exorbitant rates. Karachi also faces an acute shortage of power.

Illegal immigrants not only use hundreds of megawatt power but also indulge in pilferage.

They have encroached upon pavements in many areas and using electricity with the connivance of KESC officials. Sindh faces manifold problems because of illegal influx of people and misplaced attempts of making it an international orphanage of Muslims displaced anywhere on the globe. While the fact is that local people themselves are reeling from illiteracy and poverty.

In the past, even Rohingya Muslims suffering oppression in Burma and Karan fighters from Thailand turned up on Karachi coastline and staying illegally in different areas of the city.

The Sindh government should impose penalties on Karachi industrialists for providing jobs to illegal immigrants.

Factory owners in Karachi’s five industrial estates should be reminded that they had set up their businesses on lands obtained from the Sindh government.

What people crave from the PPP government now is making policies that protect their daily lives from power crisis, lack of water and medicines. People want action that reaches decisions quickly.

The government should be able to fix the current power crisis. The Sindh government today is required to show strong initiative to expatriate illegal immigrants.

We also do not understand why the PPP government is reluctant in putting together its manifesto of providing roti, kapra and makan to own people.

Sindhi legislators need to understand this clearly that their first responsibility is to protect Sindh’s interests and provide power, gas, water, civic facilities, employment and peace to people from whom they have gotten votes.

Originally published on the writer’s blog which you can find here. Image creadit: The Himalyan Beacon.


Truth behind terrorist attack on Sri Lankan Cricket team at Lahore, Punjab

Posted in Pakistan, Politics, Sindh, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2009 by 9000yearsold

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Genesis of Separatist Sentiment in Sindh

Posted in Nationalism, Pakistan, Politics, Sindh with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2009 by 9000yearsold



Sirajul Haque Memon

Daily Dawn – Pakistan Day Special Issue – March 23, 2001

History, as recorded in the Indian subcontinent, has seldom dilated upon the real sentiments of the nations, peoples or the masses inhabiting various politically sovereign territories comprising the region. The reason is not far to seek. “Historians”, travelers and authors through ages, without exception, have been courtiers of the ruling dynasties, most of whom in turn have been installed by marauders and plunderers of yore. Such historiographers have, without blinking their eye-lids, eulogized the most despicable rascals as most eminent monarchs, defenders of faith and purveyors of justice, virtue and generosity. On the other hand, they have castigated and ridiculed the rulers and leaders of the people, indeed the people themselves, who were subjugated or enslaved, as despicable scum of the earth only to be punished, crushed and beheaded for the slightest provocation.

Take the example of Nadir Shah’s historiographers who accompanied him on his campaign against the Mughal King of Delhi or against Sindh under Mian Noor Mohammad Kalhoro. Nadir Shah has been praised beyond belief as the most benign defender of the faith of Islam, and the rulers of Delhi and Sindh have been depicted as weaklings, mischief mongers, heathens.

In the plethora of gibberish written by such “intellectual courtesans”, one can only find oblique references to rebellions, uprisings and struggles for freedom by the subjugated peoples and nations like Sindh.

The tradition of such falsification of history has continued to this day, albeit with some sophistication and subtlety. Sophistication of the British historians is exemplified by the narrations of authors like Richard Burton on Sindh. The history of post-British period, authored by Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, which is now the basis of all text-books of history in the educational institutions of Pakistan, is another example of this falsification.

A new trend has now emerged in the writings of Ayesha Jalal (see her “The Sole Spokesman” and “Self and Sovereignty” published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press respectively) and Aitzaz Ahsan’s “The Indus Saga”, published by Oxford University Press. Both these venerable authors have adopted a so-called modern and liberal methodology which conveniently glosses over the “separatist sentiment” by clever presentation of a larger canvass of South Asia or in the case of Aitzaz Ahsan, the Indus region comprising the whole of present Pakistan.

Aitzaz has made a Herculean effort to depict the wishful embroidery of contrast between the Gangetic plain and the Indus Valley. Both the learned authors have tried to submerge the nationhood of Sindhis, Punjabis, Pakhtoons and Balochies in a larger conundrum of South Asian polity or the myth of Indus persona.

To understand the separatist sentiment in Sindh, let us have a look at the universally accepted definition of a “nation”. The Black’s Law Dictionary defines the nation as under:

“Nation: A people, or aggregation of men, existing in the form of an organized rural society, unusually inhabiting a distinct portion of the earth, speaking the same language, using the same customs, possessing historic continuity, and distinguished from other like groups by their racial origin and characteristics, and generally, but not necessarily, living under the same government and sovereignty.”

The Sindhis feel that they are a separate and full-fledged nation, according to the recognized political, social as well as cultural principles. They are proud of their past, their language, their culture, their literature and their folklore. They are proud of the resistance movements of their forefathers against the Greeks (Alexander the Great), the Achaemenids (Darius-I), the Arabs, the Taghlaks, the Mughals and the Arghuns, Nadir Shah and the Afghan marauders like Shah Shuja and lastly the British.

The battles of Miani and Dabo against the British which resulted in the enslavement of Sindhis have a central place in their folklore and poetry, especially the bravery and sacrifices of heroes like Hoshu. Language and literature play a very vital part in the building blocks of nationalism – call it separatist sentiment or give it any other derogatory name. The fact is that Sindh has an extremely rich literature which has inspired its people for centuries to fight for their freedom and liberty.

It is in this background that the recent past has to be evaluated. The British introduced the people of Sindh to modern education through their mother-tongue. Sindhi language not only became a vehicle for education but it also acted as a political tool through the medium of journalism. By the 1930’s, a number of daily and weekly newspapers were published from Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur.

On annexation, the British Government had amalgamated Sindh into Bombay Presidency. A campaign was started through the vernacular press for separation of Sindh from Bombay. It gathered momentum when looking at the trend of public opinion, political parties such as the Congress and the Muslim League too joined in. No political party could survive in Sindh if it opposed the Separation Movement. Hindu Maha Sabha was the only party which opposed the separation being mostly financed by merchants of Bombay. But soon it lost face in the towns and villages of Sindh and slowly and gradually it ceased to be an influential political party in Sindh.

If one reads the newspapers of those days, one finds a strange undercurrent of a freedom movement. It appears as if the struggle was not merely for a provincial status of Sindh but for an independent Sindh. In 1936, Sindh attained the status of a separate province. Daily “Alwaheed” published a voluminous “Azadi Number”. So did other newspapers and journals. The central theme of literary output of the 1930’s was “Azadi”, i.e., freedom. Separation of Sindh from Bombay was equated with freedom and liberty of a subjugated nation.

his theme of freedom and liberty was not transitory. It continued in the following decades but it got mixed up with freedom movements against the British rule by the Congress as well as the Muslim League.

The Hur Movement was a watershed in the political development in Sindh. On the one hand it introduced the element of violence and dacoities, and on the other, it resulted in a confusion of perceptions. Some interpreted it as a struggle for a “Free Sindh” for which Pir Sahib Pagaro was waging a war against the British. The British propaganda portrayed it as a fascist conspiracy with covert support of the Nazis. The confusion still persists in scholarly writings on the subject as to whether it was a “freedom movement” or an effort to destabilize the British Government in India in its fight against Germany. Nevertheless, literary output on atrocities of the British troops against the Hurs and the aerial bombardment of unarmed villages in the Makhi area contains some of the most moving pieces of literature.

The Sindhi nationalism which succeeded in the separation of Sindh from Bombay was overtaken by the Hur Movement, and later by the freedom movement of India against the British on the two parallel platforms of the Congress and the Muslim League.

When the Muslim League passed the Pakistan Resolution on 23rd March 1940 at Lahore, visualizing a Confederal arrangement where the units or states will be autonomous and sovereign, the Sindhi nationalist element was, to a large extent, satisfied. A sizable minority of intellectuals and writers, however, was of the view that since Sindh was an independent country in 1983 when the British annexed it, in the eventuality of the British quitting India, it should be restored as an independent state. It was in this context that pamphlets like “Save Sindh, Save the Continent” were published and widely circulated.

With the “freedom”, came the partition of India and the holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus, mainly the emerging middle class, started migrating from Sindh and hundreds of thousand of Muslim refugees started arriving in Sindh completely changing the ground realities, as also the political and social complexion of Sindh. Sindhis were aghast at this colossal change. Sindh was perhaps the only province where the two communities – Hindus and Muslims – were living peacefully despite political differences among them. But the arrival of Muslims who had been the victims of violence in India, changed the atmosphere of peace and tolerance.

In Karachi and Hyderabad Hindus were attacked and killed beginning the exodus of Hindus from Sindh. Most of the fleeing Hindus were either merchants or professionals, teachers, government servants, writers and intellectuals. With their departure, the Sindhi Society felt culturally orphaned. The newly arriving Muslims were an unknown quantity and above all they were in a pitiable condition.

The Sindhis did whatever was humanly possible to accommodate and help the new arrivals to settle down. However, the difference of language and culture created a lack of understanding and mutual acceptance. This imbalance initially was merely irritating, but later it created situations which destabilized not only the socio-political setup in Sindh but also had far reaching socio-economic repercussions on Sindh.

Almost the entire bureaucracy at the federal level comprised either of officers belonging to Punjab or of immigrants who had opted to join government service in Pakistan. As a consequence, policies made and decisions taken at the highest level did not take into consideration sensibilities of the local people.

The allotment of lands, houses and shops left by Hindus to the immigrants on a preferential basis and by introduction of a partisan legal system not only created disenchantment in the local population but created a system of bribery, jobbery and corruption which, almost every sociologist agrees, is the root-cause of the present level of corruption in Pakistan. Sindhis not only resented this but took it as an affront which normally arouses inimical and separatist sentiments and tendencies.

Separation of Karachi: While these economic factors were creating heart-burns and bickering, suddenly Mr Jinnah took a unilateral decision of separating Karachi from the province of Sindh. This decision had almost the same impact as that of his decision announced in Dhaka that Urdu was going to be the sole national language of Pakistan. The latter decision, it is now recognized, sowed the seeds of secession of East Pakistan. The entire Sindh was aghast at this announcement.

The old sentiment, that emergence of Pakistan may be detrimental to Sindh, resurfaced. Even Muslim League leaders like Mr Mohammad Ayub Khuhro strongly protested against this decision. The entire community of students, teachers, writers, intellectuals and other literate segments of Sindhi society expressed their extreme resentment. But the wishes of the people were ignored, sowing the seeds of separatist sentiment once again in Sindh. The reaction in Sindh was not as violent as in East Pakistan on the language issue, but the feelings were as strong as could be.

Separation of Karachi from Sindh was only a beginning. Sooner rather than later, the very existence of Sindh was at stake. In order to meet the challenge of resentment in East Pakistan over the language issue and the economic disequilibrium, including uneven employment opportunities, the leadership at the federal level thought of a clever scheme of parity between the country’s two wings. In pursuance of the Scheme, existing provinces in the Western wing were to be merged into a new bigger province of West Pakistan under a legal arrangement notoriously known as One Unit.

All hell broke loose when it was decided to have the “Establishment of West Pakistan Act, 1955” endorsed by the provincial assemblies. There were widespread riots. When the voice of the people – to undo One Unit, to protect Sindhi language and culture, to restore the economic rights of the Sindhi people – reverberated in the halls of West Pakistan Assembly, the civil and military bureaucracy conspired to dissolve the assemblies and impose Martial Law in 1958.

It has become almost an unwritten convention of Pakistan that whenever the legitimate rights of people have to be denied, or whenever the crises have reached a stage where there is no alternative but to yield to popular demands, the establishment has conspired to create yet another alternative of the imposition of Martial Law.

With every such deviation, Pakistan has lost its credentials as a legitimate state in the modern sense. During each of the military takeovers, whatever may have happened to the socio-political status quo in the country, Sindh has been robbed of its resources, by overt and covert acts of the establishment.

During these periods of army rule, federal agencies have taken over lands on one pretext or another in the most fertile areas of Sindh and distributed them among military officers. Today, over a million acres have been allotted to senior and junior members of the armed forces mostly during the periods of military suzerainty. This tradition of usurpation is then adopted by the civil bureaucracy too for their advantage. It is on this account that we find large tracts of fertile farms in the names of families of civil and military bureaucrats.

The other consequence of military takeovers has been that the Sindhis have been deprived of employment opportunities even of petty jobs. Each officer posted in Sindh has to his credit at least four jobs for his relatives or “graeens” as they are called. During a recent survey carried out by an NGO, as against the rural Sindh quota of 11.5 per cent in the federal jobs, actual employment is about 3.72 per cent. This percentage must have reduced under the present dispensation because under the garb of right sizing or down-sizing under instructions of the federal government, more than sixty thousand Sindhis have lost their livelihood on one pretext or another.

One can go on and on counting the inequities done to Sindh and its people during the past five decades. But the most harrowing is the deprivation of water from the Indus river system.

It was again during a military rule that the Indus Basin Treaty was conceptualized and put into effect. Under the treaty Pakistan was to surrender three of its rivers to India in exchange for investment by the World Bank and other international donor institutions for the construction of Mangla and Tarbela dams as reservoirs. Sindh, being a lower riparian and the three rivers being tributaries of the main River Indus, it was apprehended that at some point in future when, due to climatic changes and silting of the reservoirs, the river water would become scarce, it would only be Sindh which would suffer the consequences. A number of seminars and rallies were held against the proposed treaty. It now appears that the apprehensions were true and what the Sindhi engineers had foreseen has come true. The present water crisis is a direct result of the surrender of available source of water of three rivers which contributed to the flow of the Indus. The new reservoirs acquired in exchange are the main source as arteries to the irrigation system of Punjab. The new canal system, derived from the new dams and reservoirs, gave an upper hand to Punjab. It being the upper riparian could easily divert and utilize the water which in fact was allocable to Sindh and Balochistan. This is exactly what has actually been happening.

The present crisis is having a far reaching effect on the minds of Sindhi people. The water accord of 1991 arrived at by a consensus of all the parties is being disregarded by Punjab and in spite of a decision to the contrary by IRSA or the federal government, water is released or diverted to Punjab at the cost of Sindh. Punjab also has a natural advantage of its ground water being sweet and potable while the ground water in Sindh is brackish and of no use for irrigation or drinking.

Thus the present crisis has resulted in almost complete destruction of the irrigation system in Sindh. All the crops sown in Sindh have the prospect of drying up without an ounce of produce. There is general sense of loss and helplessness. Newspapers show the bed of the mighty river Indus at Kotri as barren as the Thar Desert. There have been famine conditions in Thar and Kohistan for the last two years. Almost an identical prospect is apprehended all over the province.

There is a roar inside the hearts and minds of the people of Sindh. The sea of hopelessness is seething resulting in foaming wrath against whoever is or was even remotely connected with the governance of Sindh, past and present. It is not merely a separatist sentiment. It is a sentiment to seek survival. How they plan out and sublimate their wrath or the separatist sentiment is a phenomenon which cannot be avoided provided an honest, unbiased and objective analysis is made in historical perspective. Only an honest effort can avert the deja vu of break-up of the country in 1971.

Taken from

Should Pakistan be broken up?

Posted in Nationalism, Pakistan, Politics, Sindh with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2009 by 9000yearsold




Gul A. Agha

January 1, 2002

The 20th century was a time of the collapse of colonialism — perhaps no event marked the collapse more than the end of British rule in the Indian subcontinent in 1947. A large number of new states were created in this period and the concept of international law was conceived. International law represented a compromise between powerful countries and their interests, and the fears of newly decolonized countries. Unfortunately, the idea of protecting existing boundaries between states — viewed as the principal means to maintain peace — took primacy over individual human rights as well as the cultural and historic rights of different nations. Since the end of the cold war, fortunately the idea of using international law to promote human rights has been gaining strength.

The borders of many new states were drawn arbitrarily — ignoring the history, language and culture of the peoples affected. Pakistan is one such state — created by a colonial power, it is a state devoid of any historical or cultural basis. The current premise of policy makers in many countries is predicated on the notion that the continued existence of Pakistan can contribute to regional stability and promote global security. It is a premise that needs to be carefully examined.

History of Pakistan

In the 1930s, the Indian movement for independence had gained considerable momentum. As a means of postponing their day of departure, British colonialists promoted a Muslim leadership which encouraged religious divisions in the subcontinent. Later the British found it expedient — and apparently beneficial to their geostrategic interests — to create an oddly shaped Muslim majority state, separated into two “wings” more than a thousand miles apart.

Pakistan had problems since its inception. One small ethnic group of migrants, Urdu speakers from Northern India who call themselves ‘Mohajirs’, initially dominated its bureaucracy and government. Another ethnic group, Punjabi speakers representing about 20% of the population, dominated its Military, while a third, Bengali speakers, constituted its majority. Power resided in the first two ethnic groups and their control of the state led to a rebellion among the majority Bengali speakers. After a quarter century of strife and ruthless attempts to suppress the Bengali majority, including a genocide, Bangladesh was created. Thus Pakistan was partitioned into two separate states, one of which retained the name.

Pakistan’s Ethnic Groups

The truncated borders of Pakistan consist of four major ethnic groups — Punjabis, Sindhis, Pushtuns, and Baluchis — and several other ethnic groups, Mohajirs in southern cities of Karachi and Hyderabad, Kashmiris in the North, and Seraiki speaking groups in the middle.

Pakistan borders four countries, Afghanistan, Iran, China and India. The border with each of these countries is problematic. The border with Afghanistan is based on the so-called Durand Line — arbitrarily demarcated by the British in the 19th century. Pushtuns, who were historically united, live on both sides of this mountainous border. The border with Iran is mostly populated by Baluch tribes who live in a large sparsely populated desert on both sides of the border. The Baluchis in Pakistan demanded autonomy in the 1970s and thousands were massacred by the Pakistan military.

The border with India runs through three distinct regions. To the north is the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, a focus of much contention and dispute. The division of Kashmiris between India and Pakistan is against their will. The Pakistani-occupied part of Kashmir borders not only India, but also the Chinese occupied region of Uighurs. On the Pakistani side of the Kashmir border, there are also several other ethnic groups besides the Kashmiris, such as the Gilgitis and Baltistanis.

In the middle of Pakistan are Punjabis, who now represent about 40% of the population, and constitute 90% of the military. Punjab was partitioned on the basis of religion, and Punjabis seem quite satisfied with this division. It is an area which saw many massacres on the basis of creed — and the bloodletting resulted in ‘ethnic’ cleansing on both sides of the border. South of the Punjabis live Seraiki speaking people, some of whom bear greater affinity to Sindhis.

The southern border with India runs through Sindh. The majority of Sindh’s over 30 million people live in the valley carved by the once mighty Indus river. Sindh’s western region is part of the Great Indian Desert of Thar, through which a border was drawn more or less arbitrarily. Sindh’s southern boundary is marked by the Indian Ocean and Kutch, a region that has close linguistic and cultural affinity to Sindh, but is now a part of India.

The Aspirations of the Sindhis

Sindhis are predominantly sufis who believe in harmony and tolerance in the matter of religion. Before the partition of India, the majority of Sindhis consistently voted against candidates supporting Pakistan. Although the British colonialists used their considerable power and influence to support the pro-Pakistan candidates in 1946, such candidates succeeded in obtaining only about 40% of the popular vote.

By gerrymandering the electorate, the colonialists managed the election of a majority in the Sindh Assembly which favored joining Pakistan. The Sindhi vote for Pakistan was also facilitated by the now famous ‘Lahore Resolution’ passed by the Muslim League — this resolution promised “autonomy and sovereignty of constituent units” and “protection of religious minorities”. Sindhis have strongly resented Pakistan, whose policies since inception have been the very anti-thesis of both these principles.

The Current Situation

Pakistan today is held together by a powerful military which directly consumes 70% of the its budget after debt payments. The military has gained strength by opportunistically aligning itself with the United States, China and Saudi Arabia. It has directly ruled the country for most of its history and has cultivated relations with the fundamentalist Islamist clergy to strengthen its hold on power. In fact, the military is a bastion of Islamists who are influenced by fundamentalist movements such as Wahabism and Deobandism — the same movements which hold sway among large numbers of Pakistani Punjabis.

In fact, the Pakistan military is a key source of instability in the region. Internally, it has repeatedly destabilized elected governments. It was the primary supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan, responsible for bringing them into power. Recently, an American official was quoted as saying that the U.S. did not realize how critical the Pakistanis were in propping up the Taliban — when that support was finally withdrawn four weeks after the start of the American bombing, the Taliban regime collapsed. ISI, Pakistan military’s intelligence service is believed to have been deeply involved in heroin smuggling operations — with such operations providing the bulk of its operating budget. And the ISI continues to sponsor terrorism against neighboring India.

The Future of Pakistan

Despite the diabolical role of the Pakistan military, it has been an axiom of faith among policy makers in the U.S., and even in arch rival India, that the continuation of Pakistan is desirable, even necessary, for stability in the region. Several reasons are commonly advanced for this position: the dissolution of Pakistan would encourage divisions within India; it would result in an uncertain future for nuclear weapons now in the hands of the stable Pakistan military, and a view among the U.S. policymakers that the Pakistani state can serve as a useful client or proxy in the war against terrorism. None of these reasons stands up to closer scrutiny.

India has largely succeeded in its national integration through democracy, federalism, and building of strong independent institutions such as the judiciary and the media. Its future will depend on the continuing strength of these internal institutions in addressing its needs. No doubt these needs are many, some visible ones such as increased economic growth and improved efficiency in the distribution of goods, and some less visible ones such as cultural and linguistic protection for smaller ethnic groups.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Pakistan pose a danger to peace, not only in South Asia but elsewhere. Policy makers are lulled into complacency by the experience of the cold war where the doctrine of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ kept the superpowers from directly waging war. In fact, such analogizing fails to appreciate the psychology of the forces at work in the Pakistan military. During the cold war, the superpowers — fearful of a nuclear holocaust — avoided direct conflict with each other. On the other hand, emboldened by its possession of nuclear weapons, the Pakistan military not only increased its support for terrorism against India, it directly attacked India in Kargil — gambling that India will not want to escalate the fight by employing its conventional superiority in new theaters of war.

It may seem far fetched to the rational mind that some Islamist faction within the military could seize and smuggle nuclear weapons or materials for use in ‘jihad’ against India, Israel or a Western power. In fact, given an understanding of the type of religious fanaticism common in the Pakistan military at all levels, it is likely not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’, left unchecked, such a scenario will unfold. The moral barometer of the military can be appreciated by observing that it is the very same unreconstructed and unrepentant military that massacred millions of people in Bangladesh and provided logistic support to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan.

Those who believe that it is possible to bribe or browbeat Pakistan into a compliant client state have been missing the elaborate game of charade played for long by the Pakistani military. While it is a state that chose to support the international coalition against terrorism when and where it had no choice, in the long run the prejudices of its dominant ethnic group will be reflected in its covert policies. Sure, the Pakistan military provided visible support to the coalition — but in all likelihood, the military also covertly organized pro-Taliban, anti-U.S. demonstration to exaggerate its own role. And the Pakistani dictator General Musharaf, justifying his decision to support the coalition, implied that it was a tactical compromise on the way to securing an eventual ‘victory against the infidels and the Jews.’ It should be clear where the real goals of Pakistan lie, despite protestations to get increased aid from the West and strengthen its own institution while continuing to build Islamist proxy forces.

What Replaces Pakistan?

Dissolution of Pakistan will largely bring things back into their natural national and ethnic boundaries. The Pushtun areas of Pakistan belong with the newly liberated Afghanistan. Kashmiris in India already enjoy numerous unique protections, e.g. against encroachment by migration from other parts of India. A unified Kashmir will be able to negotiate ways of maintaining its identity in India. Distinct ethnic regions in the Pakistani occupied part of the former kingdom of Kashmir, such as Baltistan and Gilgit, could enjoy greater autonomy.

A successor Pakistani Punjabi state would be far easier to contain. Bounded within plains that are easy to penetrate and police, stripped of 80% of the resources now consumed by its military, it would be far less menacing. Ironically, freed of its militaristic pretensions, it could enjoy greater economic growth and prosperity in the long run by embracing a more peaceful ideology.

The Future of Sindh

What about the future of Sindh and Pakistan-occupied Baluchistan? Baluchistan is a desert area, though rich in some mineral deposits. The bulk of Baluchi population lives on the border of Sindh and has enjoyed free movement and interchange with the Sindhi people. It is likely that the fate of these two regions is tied together, as it was in older times.

Sindh is rich in agriculture, has deposits of oil, coal and gas, and a well-developed port. It is the most industrialized region in the neighborhood. Shorn of the huge subsidy claimed by Punjab and its military, Sindh is likely to see rapid economic growth. This growth will be aided and abetted by the large number of expatriate Sindhi entrepreneurs and industrialists, including some billionaires. Sindhis have an ancient mercantile tradition, and their emphasis on pragmatism, tolerance and harmony are all useful attributes in a modern economy.

Should Sindh be a Part of India?

There are a number of arguments in favor of Sindh joining the Indian union. India is a secular, democratic country which is well-suited to the psyche of the sufi-minded Sindhis. Four months after the creation of Pakistan, 20% of the population of Sindhis was forced to migrate to India when hordes of refugees were encouraged by the Pakistani government to riot in hitherto peaceful Sindhi cities. Many of these Sindhis have settled in India and, after a long arduous struggle, they have prospered. While the diaspora Sindhis no doubt enjoy the moral and legal right of return, it is unlikely that a majority of them would now opt to migrate back to their ancestral homes. Under the circumstances, the unification of Sindh with India would allow the two groups of Sindhis to easily interact and support each other.

Unfortunately, Sindh cannot afford to unify with India in the near future. The greatest threat to Sindhis is demographic — up to a quarter of those living in Sindh are Mohajirs, Muslims who migrated from Northern Indian provinces such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The population of areas where they immigrated from continues to increase rapidly while the economic growth of those areas remains stunted. The linguistic, cultural and religious affinity of Mohajirs with their brethren in North India could make Sindh a magnet for further immigration unless Sindh is able to exercise vigorous control of its borders.

An independent Sindh will serve as a natural conduit for oil and gas pipelines from energy rich Central Asia to energy starved South Asia. Without an entrenched bureaucracy, Sindh will rapidly lead the way to economic expansion in South Asia. Most significantly for the rest of the world, given its long peaceful sufi tradition, an independent Sindh will provide a bulwark against fanaticism and promote peace and prosperity.

Policy makers would do well to focus their energy on the unenviable but inevitable task of dismantling Pakistan as expeditiously as possible.

Taken from