(Articles, Interview & Letter)
By Rasool Bux Paleejo
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Sindhi Awami e-Books
S.No. SUBJECT Page
_ %* | About Rasool Bux Paleejo 6 ss 3B”
1 InsteadofExile = | 10.
' 2 | What Went Wrong with Pakistan? | 18
3 | The Other Side of the Picture == 29 ©
| 4 | On Getting Rid of Evil Traditions | 34 —
5 11th September Tragedy- 41
Perspectives and Portends
Biggest Problem is Structural 49
7 Letter to, General Parwez Musharaf _ to, General Parwez Musharaf 98
ABOUT RASOOL BUX PALEEJO
Rasoo!l Bux Palijo is a unique social scientist and a remarkable
politician of South Asia whose work must be gauged by the extent to
which his predictions are verified by history. In every nation some
names stand out as the pioneers of uprisings, revolutions and
movements and Rasool Bux Palijo is the most outstanding and
exceptional thinker and leader of the twentieth century Sindh and
Pakistan. Like all great intellectuals, scholars and leaders Palijo has
been at times misunderstood, misinterpreted and misjudged not only
by his die hard adversaries, but by his admirers as well. Palijo, one of
the great original thinker of Sindh, is known as the Quid-e-Ingilab
(Leader of Revolution) because of the radical nationalist pursuits with
which he has been challenging the rigid mindset of the dictators of his
times and because only a powerfully original mind can emancipate
itself as completely as Palijo's did from the tyranny of accepted but
already obsolescent ideas of south Asian Politics.
Rasoo!l Bux Palijo is a prolific writer, scholar, man of letters,
Supreme Court lawyer and a seasoned politician. He is president of
Awami Tahreek. He is an outstanding scholar and does enjoy great
expertise and deep insight in world history and peoples movements,
politics and history of political thought, pure literature and criticism.
He was born on 21-09-1930 at Jungshahi, district Thatta, Sindh,
Pakistan. He got his primary education at local madarsa and got his
secondary education at famous Sindh Madarsatul Islam, Karachi. He
did his law graduation from Sindh Law College, Karachi. He not only
led many democratic and peoples movements in Sindh and Pakistan,
but also made enormous contributions in progressive movements at
national and Asia-pacific level. He was secretary general of Awami
National Party and convener of Movement for Restoration of
Democracy (MRD). He remained central executive committee member
of Asia Pacific Peace Forum (based in Manila). He has written more
than twenty books on politics, pure literature (short stories), literary
criticism, history and political thought. He is a widely traveled scholar
and had visited several times almost all regions across the world. As a
visiting faculty, he has been delivering lectures at Jawahar Lal Nehru
New Delhi (JNU), Delhi University, University of Chicago, University of
Cambridge, University of Sussex, University of Essex, Kinston
University, University of Milwaukee, Institute of Oriental Studies-
Moscow, Houston University and number of other global academic
institutions through out the world.
His contribution to Pakistani politics and Sindhi literature, both
quantitatively and qualitatively, stands out as a beacon of excellence
and brilliance. His output is simply awe-inspiring. He has to his credit
more than 30 published works of prose, poetry and translation. His
writings are unique as they express the harmony between what he has
seen outside with his naked eyes and what he has observed within by
his inner eyes. He is the most revered Hari (farmer) leader and an
extraordinary orator whose quotations and speeches are memorized
ad recited in community meetings because they reflect the trials and
triumphs of the common people in everyday life. He uses the mystic
poetry of Shah Latif, Hafiz and romantic folk tales and simple beauty
all around his land to convey a liberating message of revolution.
He is warm and soft and very down to earth. He had a broad
forehead and dark attractive eyes, which often shown like brilliant
candles. His innocent face is glorious effulgent and in his old age
particularly reflects remarkable resplendence. Tall, handsome and
distinguished-looking, Rasul Bux Palijo comes across as a soft-spoken
person but speaks with conviction when he talks of downtrodden
people, lower classes and his work, a good listener too. It is always a
delight to sit with him and listen to his selections from Shelly, Keats,
Virgil, Shakespeare, Kabir, Lorca, Mayakoviski, Rumi, Hafiz, Kalidasa,
Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz, Bulley Shah, Farid and other major poets of the
world. The tribulations and sorrows of Sindh, thoughts of Sindhi
society and its distinguishing features are his constant subjects.
Nothing you would find borrowed from anywhere every sentence is his
very own, the complex net of thoughts, the freshness of wind-catchers
and the feelings, like Rajasthani dresses composite, perfect and
mixture of colorful needlework. When he looks at what we have, he
sees deserts, the sea and its life, rocky terrain, cities like Karachi,
Hyderabad, Thatta, Larkana and Sukkur, and then there is our history
which stretches even before the time of Alexander, the mighty
conqueror who tasted defeat here. There are no wisps of nostalgia that
cloud the picture. It is more of a candid shot. Though a great
nationalist he has no contempt against anybody. Filled with love for
beautiful valley of Mehran and the folks of Indus water he is not a
hard-core and he loves humanity and common people from core of his
Currently he heads Awami Tahreek and also enjoys positions of
President Sindh Water Committee and member Anti-Greater Thal
Canal Committee. Through out his life, Mr. Palijo had been exhibiting
his strong commitment to all democratic and progressive movements
of deprived classes and nationalities through his actions and creative
thoughts. He is an out standing thinker and pro-people leader of down
trodden masses of today's Sindh, Pakistan and South Asia.
A voracious reader, he says that he loves nothing better than
reading. Palijo is conscious of the fact that the great ideology and
literature of every language contributed to the collective and
civilizational development of the people therefore he is one of the most
well-versed and well-read persons specially in the field of literature of
the east and the west. He has read almost all the great philosophers
and poets of all the major languages of the world. Some he had read
in original like the Persian, Urdu and English literature while he read
the best of Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Greek, Latin, Russian, German
French and Spanish literature in translation. Shah Latif is his role-
model and he always copiously quote thought - provoking pieces from
the best of the great philosophers, poets and intellectuals of the world
in his articles and speeches.
Having experienced the delights, the emotional uplifting and
cathartic effects of great literature, especially the poetry, he has
consciously tried to achieve the same greatness and superb sublimity
and no doubt he has achieved the greatness which he aspired. He has
become a role model for political activists and writers of Sindh and
Pakistan. His influence on the nationalists and leftists of his own, as
well as later generations is over-whelming and far-reaching. Every one
in Sindh in the field of politics and literature affectionately refers to
him as 'Daho.' (top intellectual). History fascinates him. He says that
history is all that is there in this world! Call it time if you will. It is a
flowing sea in which our earth and all our galaxies are floating. The
individual registers his name, but only for a moment. For media and
intellectuals he is an enigma surrounded by controversies and
shrouded in mysteries, more of a character than anyone from
traditional works of fiction. Unconventional and nonconformist, his
writings and speeches are imbued with a passion. He is fully
preoccupied with being a genuine thinker.
This versatile genius was born in a lower middle class rural
family of Thatta, Sindh, which had been, because of its peculiar
geographical position, the greatest port of Sub-Continent. He always
remained content with whatever dresses he got and whatever Kharchi
(pocket money) he received from his father. His discontent lay
elsewhere; from his very childhood, he was in quest of some real
merchandise, or 'sacho wakhar'. He grew up surrounded by the heroic
struggles of his family members, from his father, who was forced to
support his entire family on a low monthly salary of Rs 20 and to his
mother who was an outsider in the family and had to take care of her
five sons and three daughters. As was the practice in those days,
Palijo was married off at an early age. After completing his initial
education in Jungshahi and Thatta, he went to Sindh Madarsa Karachi
even though his parents wanted him to stay in Thatta and look after
the family. Then he did his LLB from Jinnah College and started the
journey of successful law career. It was his outspokenness against the
feudals and bureaucrats that made him popularity both in the masses
of Thatta and outside of it. Even though this attitude brought him
under attack from various Wadera's and Officers, he never flinched. He
had also served in different newspapers and educational institutions
for short durations before he became a distinguished criminal lawyer
with a mastery in cross examination. It was when he was about 25
years old that he came into contact with radicals. He was already well
versed in literature, now he _ benifitted greatly from _ great
Phiolosophicq| works of Kant, Hegel, Marx and Lenin. Besides
revolutionary writings of the west, which forms the core of his
struggle, he seems to have learnt many things from Chinese and
South Asian leaders and writers like Mao, Gandhi and Jinnah. It was at
this time that he also became an instant renowned writer in spite of
not having a background in literature.
When vicious campaigns of slur and hatred were unleashed
against Shaikh Ayaz, Palijo's first book Andha Oondah Weg appeared
in 1965. Although a number of writers had written reviews and literary
analytical works, this was the first book that changed the balance
between fundamentalists and radicals of Pakistan. In an era when
Molvis and rightists held their sway in the world of literatuer, it was
Palijo and Grami, who showed the wealth, vitality and poetic eloquence
of Sindhi language, mystic tolerent culture and folk wisdom. It
established him as ground-breaking critic. It was followed by Subuh
Theendo, Jakee Bangal San Thiyo, Dhararan Ja Dhak, Wattoon Weeh
Thiyoon, Ghalihiyoon Ganwaran Joon, Pasee Garha Gul, Awhan Jey
Pujaran, Wihan Moon Ne Warau and others. Yet another important
feature of his career as a writer is Kot Lakhpat Jo Qaidi, his dairy of
eight years imprisonment. His success as a writer can be attributed to
his commitment to neglected masses, his choice of subjects and his
spontaneous style. He himself attributes this success to his attachment
to the simple, plain truth. It is not only the excellence of his diction
and form in prose but also it’s content. The greatest achievement of
Palijo is his total mastery of the Sindh language, he gave new meaning
and content to otherwise quite plain words.
The One Unit, sinister and political fiends in the history of
Pakistan left a deep and everlasting impact on his soul and political
career. After partition, he accepted Pakistan as a fait accompli and as
his homeland. But within Pakistan he was a great believer of f the
rights of all nationalities on an equal footing. It was in this background
that he took up the cause of anti-one-unit movement in Sindh. He was
arrested several times for arousing ‘separatist’ tendencies among the
Haris and students of Sindh. He was also incriminated for infusing a
communist movement in rural Sindh. The incarceration did not deter
him from following the path he had chosen for himself as a political
activist and writer and as an intellectual. He lashed out at the
dictatorship of the time and lambasted the efforts made to silence him.
The martial law used its extreme power over the impoverished lower
classes and the persecution of Sindhi masses was the order of the day.
He came to know the sociological rigidity of the tribal and feudal
society in Sindh which resulted in cruelty and violence. He saw cruelty
and violence at close quarters and it made him aware of the emotional
instability of the people involved in criminal cases. He wrote some
fascinating short stories like Pasi Garha Gul, Jitey Bah Barey, and
Bakhtawar based on true facts and various tribal and feudal customs
like karo kari and Bado. He established a personal rapport with his
clients who would then open their hearts to him. He understood their
emotional turbulence, their romances, their tribal loyalties
overshadowing their compassion and above all the angularities of
human relationship. Today, when the winds of free market are blowing
away the idealism of the new generations it is bit difficult to
reconstruct the picture of times and the ideas which led to the
democratic and nationlist uprising of the country and also threw up the
ideals which were to be the inspiration for the youth of the
subcontinent. By the age of 38, he developed a great commitment to
leftist democratic movement and actively participated and experienced
the formation and working of NAP, Bazm-e-Sofia-e-Sindh and Sindh
Mutehda Muhaz and came to the conclusion that working with Bhutto
or G M sayed was nearly impossible. In coming years his disagreement
with Z A Bhutto on Bengal and Balochistan issue and with G M Sayed
on his support of feudals and martial law forced him to establish
Awami Tahreek (Peoples Movement). For organizing this first newly
born indigenous proletariat party of Sindh he traveled a lot along with
few comrades sacrificed everything that he had, his family, friends and
professional career. Thereafter, the world saw the emergence of a
totally different Sindh imbued with defiance, the role of Awami
Tahreek in 1983 movement and Anti Kalabagh struggle not only
surprised the Pakistani establishment but whole western media His
commitment was rooted in his deep conviction in the principles of
democracy and socialism and was partisan to the interests of workers,
peasants and the untouchables. His actions came to be based on
deeper ideological understanding as he made a major advance in
redefining the revolutionary actions. He brought a substantive change
in the ideological and political atmosphere of Sindh and almost
compelled the political parties to undertake the real issues of rural
masses. He would encourage writers to write on economy, progressive
literature and above all politics of lower classes and for this purpose he
already launched Tahreek a remarkable monthly magazine. Thinking
ahead of his times he went on to see the dangers of communal
politics. Being thoroughly secular he understood the dangers of
fundamentalism and communalism and termed it as dangerous as the
colonial rule itself. It should not be surprising that in a way feudal and
urban based communal politics was not only promoted by the
establishment but also by so called radical and nationalist parties.
He has always been vehemently and emotionally debated and
discussed. You may like him, or you may not, but to ignore him is
inconceivable. To understand Palijo is to first understand his thought
process and consciousness. A highly receptive sensibility, penetrative
perception and persuasive eagerness to understand the ethos of the
political, social, cultural and economic conflicts in proximity has
elevated him from the ordinary individual to the realms of reverence.
He has become the voice of suffering humanity and has arisen above
petty politics. For undemocratic, fundamentalist and sick minds Palijo
is a leftist separatist traitor but for owntrodden and neglected people
he is a hero. The feudal stranglehold he says stifles the progress of the
country. He talks about the wadera's exploitation and the hari's
perspiration, his message conveys the spiritual unity of all living
beings, values he expresses are so universal that everybody can find
something in his message, he speaks of the basic equality, dignity of
labor, peace for humanity, performance of good and virtuous actions,
religious tolerance, hard work, union with the eternal truth through
humility and humanity.
Palijo's journey from the Kohistan of Jungshahi to Gadi Khato,
Hyderabad and from prisons of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Landhi
and Kot Lakhpat to Berlin, London and New York has come full circle.
In addition to being a role model for political activists, writers and
lawyers fighting against a repressive society, he has proved that he is
a hard nut to crack despite being saddled with the near-impossible
task of improving the current abysmal standard of political culture,
education and commitment. He can be described as a modern day
combination of Latif's three characters Dodo, who fought to the death
to defend his country and people, Diyach who gave his head in charity
in the name of art and music art and Marvi, the legendary Sindhi
heroine who refused to let go identity of her own and of her people.
This restless spirit is a man of the moment, the eternal present who
does not dwell on past glories. He is willing to explore hidden facets of
her own personality and take on new challenges. He is confident about
the new generation of youth and does not agree with the critics who
proclaim 'the death of the progressive movement. "The struggle of the
oppressed nations and people can never end, even if it does not get
immediate results. Its form may change but the struggle never ends, it
just cannot. It is society which is being swept by the winds of change.
He talks about Sindh with the same timbre that his writings carry.
Change will come. Revolutions come in a hundred to two hundred
years, if they are not for us then they are for our future generations.
Sindh is a country with roots in the Indus Valley Civilization. He
believes the ancient wisdom, humanity and tolerance of its culture
would ultimately reflect in a committed struggle and long-lasting
achievement of the people. Is he a mere spokesman of the 'outdated'
ideology of Marxism? As socialist states have withered away it is
presumed that there is no relevance of ideas and ideals of those who
'‘wasted' their dreams on the socialist model of society? Surely in
today's scenario where lopsided globalisation of the Capital is ruling
the roost, one concedes the temporary eclipse of the lofty ideals of
socialism and the inability to comprehend the logic of the march of the
society towards an egalitarian one. But surely it is as temporary as the
earlier dark periods have been. So far as exploitation continues to be
the underlying mode of relationship, the socialist ideals will bounce
back, sphinx like, to be the savior of the underdogs. Also as if by
design, the retrograde politics apparently based on the religion, is
surging to the fore. The democratic ethos are on the firing line all
around. The poor, marginalized and the exploited have no other hope
for the future except the one based on real democracy, on Liberty
Equality and Fraternity. And these are precisely the ideas which are
under threat from the rising tide of capitalist Religion based politics.
We salute Palijo and his friends for the visions and dreams, which they
gave us and hope that the present dark phase of capitalist and
fundamentalist politics and lopsided globalization will be overcome in
due course by the force and logic of social movements.
INSTEAD OF EXILE
It was 15 October 1979, Zia-ul-Haq had been in power for two years
and three months, It was a morning like any other except that I had
woken up feeling very unwell after spending the night on the floor of
the house of my friend and fellow party worker, Hussain Bakhsh, in
Larkana. The news which greeted me that morning was a Martial Law
proclamation in Ibrat, the Hyderabad - Sindhi daily which contained a
list of ‘absconding criminals who were evading lawful arrest’ and were
ordered to appear before the summary court at Badin in Sindh on 16
October 1979. A number of those listed, belonged to my party,
the Awami Tahreek. Husain’s name was fifth on the list, mine was the
The Awami Tahreek (Sindhi Peoples’ Movement) was founded in 1968
(announced on 3-3-70) in Hyderabad as a platform of struggle for
genuine democracy, salvation of the exploited working classes,
oppressed nationalities and for combating imperialist domination over
our country. The peasantry in the province of Sindh to which I and my
friends belonged, are among the most oppressed in the world. We
concentrated on organizing them and leading them in their struggles
against class and national exploitation and oppression. This did not
please the Sindhi landlords, mainly the Islamabad bureaucracy, the
immigrant manipulators and the establishment who had grabbed the
best chunks of peasant land in Sindh. We had stirred a veritable
hornets’ nest. Instead of the usual token struggles reported in glowing
terms by obliging journalists, there began genuine struggles with such
leading bodies as "Stop the Land Auction", "Print voter lists in Sindhi"
Zia’s regime had me arrested for the first time shortly after the coup in
1977. I was taken to a major who told me he had received information
that I was stirring up trouble by complaining that people were being
unlawfully dismissed from government service.
I was later brought up before the Deputy Martial Law Administrator,
Hyderabad. ‘What did you think about the decision in the Bhutto
Case?’ I said that I did not agree with it and that the people regarded
it as a political decision. ‘What if the sentence of death passed on Mr.
Bhutto, the deposed Prime Minster of Pakistan, was carried out?’ There
would be an unbridgeable gulf between the Martial Law Administration
and the people, especially those of Sindh, I replied. Predictably
enough, after these remarks, I was imprisoned first in the Hyderabad
Central Jail and then transferred to the jail in Sukkur Both were full of
political prisoners with harrowing stories of the atrocities that were
being committed by the Martial Law against the people of Sindh.
People were being arrested on such a wide a scale in Sindh that
Hyderabad and Sukkur jails were filled to capacity with political
prisoners. I presented a petition to the High Court of Sindh, which at
that time still had the power to determine the legality of the detention
of political prisoners under the Martial Law Regulations. I conducted
my case personally and after numerous hearings the court held my
detention to be illegal.
I was released only to be reasserted two days later on the same
charges of which I had been exonerated. The only fresh allegation was
that I had called for peace with Afghanistan, an amicable settlement
with its government and the repatriation of the 3 million Afghan
refugees in Pakistan. I challenged that detention before the High Court
of Sindh which, after many hearings, once more held my detention to
be unlawful. This was around April 1979.
Just five months later I was summoned once more to appear before a
Martial law court in October 1979. When I reached the in Badin I was
handcuffed and placed in a tent with several other prisoners, all
handcuffed. The entire atmosphere was one of fear, as if some foreign
enemy had come and taken our land.
On my way from Badin station to the headquarters I had seen some
wooden construction being erected in the bazaar. I did not understand
their purpose at the time, but then it suddenly came to me. That was
the contraption to which prisoners are tied before being flogged. Who
was to be flogged and for what?
A policeman came and said he had orders to parade me handcuffed
through the man street of Badin. The town knew me as an advocate,
as a political leader who had addressed mass rallies. Now, they wanted
to make an example of me in Badin by showing that political workers
and leaders could be made to walk handcuffed through the streets like
You play a game with your captors. If you refuse to be humiliated, it
frustrates their plan completely. So I behaved as if it was quite normal
to be paraded through the streets handcuffed and with a police escort
and saluted and called to everyone I knew until a small crowd
gathered around me. Suddenly, the policeman no longer thought this
was such a good idea.
Let’s take our time,’ I said, ‘the jails won’t close.’ ‘No, let’s walk
faster,’ he replied. Soon the entire town knew that I had been
arrested, but the terror they had wanted to inspire in its people was
That evening in the sub-jail of Badin I learnt who the contraption in
the centre of the town had been erected for. My friends and comrades
in the Awami Tahreek had been flogged. One of them, a boy of twenty,
fragile with tuberculosis, and vomiting blood, had come forward to be
flogged first. Thousands of people had been collected to watch them
pay the price of daring to participate in politics. After being flogged
they raised the sign of regime. Clearly, the punishment had not been
server enough, so the officer and his men, pummeled each of them
again for his defiance.
The next day I was taken for a medical examination, in order to
determine whether I was fit enough to be flogged. The law stated that
a person above forty-five could not be lashed but they were simply
obtaining false medical certificates from doctors. The doctor who
examined me grew very pale at the thought of signing a certificate
that I was young and fit enough to be flogged. He would be despised
by the people of Sindh for doing that. Then suddenly my younger son
Ayaz Latif arrived from Hyderabad with my passport which showed
that I was more than forty-five. From there Iwas_ taken
to headquarters, handcuffed as before, and produced before a fat,
stocky major. ‘Had you not become a criminal,’ he said, ‘you would
now be sitting on the chair to which you are entitled as a member of
the legal profession. You were fighting for the release f others, now
you are handcuffed yourself. Last May, you surreptitiously gathered
some 60,000 peasants in Rahoki and spoke against martial law.
I explained that the Rahoki meeting had not violated any law, it was a
peaceful non-political gathering discussing the violation of the
economic rights of the people.
‘You are a criminal,’ the major repeated, ‘and I am not going to allow
you to speak. If you promise to behave I can recommend mercy for
you but if not, you will be jailed again and we will teach you a lesson
your coming generations will not forget.’
It then transpired that the senior officer himself would see me. A tall
man in his fifties, he told me to sit down, and in a peremptory voice
asked, ‘What’s all this business about rebellion?’ I told him there had
been no rebellion, there was no secrecy to the peasants’ meeting, we
simply did not have the money to advertise it in advance. ‘Did you
preside over the meeting?’ I said I had. ‘You must understand, the
days f rabble-rousing are over. This is martial law; we will take care of
everything and soon put you right.’
I was then taken to another major, whose manners were charming.
Sit, smoke, tea. He respected brave and honest people. He had a good
opinion about the Awami Tahreek. Had I presided over the Rahoki
meeting? ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘I had’; and said that we had called door
restoration of democracy and the end of martial law.
‘There is no one more interested than usin seeing democracy
restored, but the times are bad,’ the Major said. ‘The Indians are on
the border, the Afghans are well within it. I only wish I could do
something for you.’
‘Could we get on with the trial,” I asked, ‘so that I can cross
examine the witnesses and convince the court that we have not
broken the law?’ In fact no specific charges had been supplied to me
except that I had violated martial law.
‘Let’s not get so impatient for a trial,’ he said and went away to speak
to the senior. He returned saying, ‘The matter has been decided, you
are sentenced to one year’s hard labor and a fine of thirty thousand
‘But where was the trail?’ I protested. ‘Why have a trial?’ he replied,
‘you have already admitted your guilt by saying you presided over the
‘But I never said I had committed a crime. ‘We don’t go into such
niceties, Mr. Palijo, this is a summary trial’. ‘But have you forgotten
the supreme courts, you must realize their powers of judicial review of
martial law action continue to exist.’
‘Forget about them; don’t compel me to say something less than
complimentary about the powers of the courts.’
That night I was taken to the central jail at Hyderabad. In the
vocabulary of a political prisoner, moving from a sub-jail to a central
jail is a promotion because you have contact with other political
workers and politician. Hussain Baksh was there, so was the since
martyred, Mohammad FazilRahoo who had been arrested and
sentenced to days earlier by the same ‘court’ at Badin.
The court had ordered that I should be kept as a C class prisoner that
is the lowest class of convicted criminal. The prison Superintendent,
Noor Elahi, who had studied at the same college as me, apologized as
he brought me the criminal uniform but insisted that I wear it
immediately or the authorities would be very angry. I said there was
no question of my being displeased; it was very kind of them to
provide me with a uniform so promptly.
The food was maggot-infested meat or dal, but mostly it was just
dirty water. As I developed stomach ulcers I came to know that the
Chief of dealing with the inmates. When he inspected the prisoners he
would place his hands on one of them and say, ‘this man needs
treatment.’ This was the code for ‘the man is too healthy and should
be given a beating.’
There were about ten of us in the ward which subsequently came to be
called ‘Awami (People’s) Ward’ after we had stayed there. There were
some fifteen others from other organizations. We were determined not
to let them break our spirit. We could not write or receive letters and
we were locked up at abut 5 o’clock every evening. There was a reign
of terror in the goal and martial law had given the jail authorities an
opportunity to operate with a ruthlessness they would not have dared
to employ in civilian days. Corruption was rampant.
We started to tell each other the story of how each one was arrested.
When the police could not find the man they wanted, his parents were
locked up and beaten by the police.
After a few weeks, I moved a petition before the High Court of Sindh
against my illegal sentence. The Superintendent refused to send the
petition but after my insistence, and with great hesitation, he agreed. I
later found that the Martial Law authorities were very angry that the
petition had been sent. I appeared as my own counsel.
There were several hurdles before a case could even he heard. There
would first be a kutcha-peshi which determined whether the petition
should be considered for hearing. Since thirty to forty cases were fixed
for kutcha-peshi, the time for the hearing seldom came.
The judges knew what was expected of them under martial law.
Occasionally there would be a judge such as Fakhruddin Ebrahim who
would be inclined to take particular note of undecided detention cases
on his roster and make a deliberate effort to dispose of as many of
them as quickly as possible. But normally the three-month detention
orders would keep piling up, while one rotted in the cells.
I acted as my own counsel so I would be sitting on the front bench
, aS an advocate of the High Court I was entitled to do) handcuffed
and in the uniform of the lowest grade criminal. I had been away from
the Bar for so long because of my detention that some lawyers would
tell me ‘Your place is on the last bench; tell your lawyer to speak on
your behalf.’ Sometimes a judge who did not know me, would look at
me and ask, when I stood up to address the court, ‘Wave you no
lawyer?’ Subsequently, the handcuffs were removed after the registrar
told the police not to dare to bring me handcuffed.
I became severely ill in jail. It was impossible for me to eat. I was in
constant pain from stomach ulcers. I became so sensitive to the cold
that if I bathed I would immediately fall ill and take a week to recover.
I developed a respiratory problem and would ask the policeman on
duty to wait before closing the doors of the cell because at the time in
the evening it became next to impossible for me to breathe. ‘Orders
are orders,’ he would reply, and as he closed my cell I used to tell
myself this might be the end, I might collapse. But you have to take it,
there is no other way.
I moved an application for medical treatment. It took a very brave
and reckless doctor to admit a political prisoner to hospital. There were
prisoners who had gone blind waiting for treatment, people whose legs
were so badly infected they were oozing with pus, people with
tuberculosis. Their papers lay with the authorities for months and
months. It was a slow death.
The chief Justice accepted my application for medical treatment and
ordered that I be admitted to hospital. Twenty days passed without
anything happening. So I wrote to the chief Justice informing him
about the situation. Under orders of the High Court I was admitted and
the doctor said that I was seriously ill and should have come in long
ago. I was the first time since my arrest that I had seen jail, clean
food, However, it was only after four hours that a police escort arrived
and told me to get up.
‘You have to go back to jail. The martial law authorities are very angry
with the doctor who admitted you.’
‘It was not the doctor,’ I said, ‘It was the High Court who ordered it.’
‘We know nothing about the High Court.’
They took me back to jail but I refused to enter it and said that if
anybody took me forcibly into jail I would proceed against him before
the Chief Justice of the High court. ‘Martial law may last twenty years
but I assure you, that whenever it is lifted you will meet the result of
your illegal action in disobeying the explicit orders of the High Court.’
The Superintendent, Noor Elahi, said to me. ‘Don’t you understand,
Mr. Palijo; there is no law in the country.’ However, I refused to enter
so I was taken to a police lock-up and later that night back to the
hospital where I remained for twenty days.
At the High Court hearing I argued against my sentence on the
grounds that even a summary military court has to follow a procedure
and should provide a fair trial. The procedure for such a trial has been
laid down in a enactment of the civil legislature. However, the judge
came to the conclusion that my non-existent trial was perfectly in
So I was shunted off to Khairpur Central Jail, a place notorious for its
bad water and intense heat. I was kept in solitary confinement in a cell
with no doors or windows, just iron bars. My _ respiratory
problems were severely aggravated by this, so I insisted that I should
have a cell-mate who could at least call the doctor when I had an
The jail authorities had perfected a method which I came to know. This
was to let one fall ill and remain in jail without any treatment or under
bogus treatment. In the meantime a circular correspondence would
continue between the doctor and the Superintendent and the
Inspector-General of Police and the Home Secretary. When one of the
prisoners died, they had reams of paper to prove that they had taken
the case seriously.
I have no explanation for my own survival except sheer will-power. I
taught myself to forget the pain. I trained myself to forget that I had
been awake all night in agony because of the skin inflammation I had
developed in those in-sanitary jail conditions. I could not tell anybody
about it; in any case, what could my parents or my friends do? They
could not advise me to betray the cause of my oppressed people and
they could not help me. they could only worry themselves to death.
Even in freedom I have had
to work cruelly with my mind to make it forget. The negative side to
that is that my memory has been damaged. Eventually my year’s
sentence ended but then they extended it by three months. they had
photocopied copies of the same order which they would simply initial
and say, here is your new order. Ultimately they got fed up with the
whole routine and assumed I was in jail permanently and asked, ‘Why
do you need these orders. What are they for? You are here as long as
there is martial law. Don’t you, as an intelligent man, understand
So I appealed to the High court again. The Martial law authorities were
running the whole show themselves but they were pretending that
there was a civilian government and a Constitution that civil laws could
operate insofar as they had not been set aside. But in fact every little
move down to who would be put in which cell was decided by them.
The Superintendent, the Home Secretary and for that matter, the
senior Minister of the Province were merely players in a farce. Since
they did not want the petition to reach the High Court, the Inspector-
General and the Home Department
Began to delay and frustrate it. I then moved a petition calling upon
the court to take notice of this as contempt. Fortunately, the matter
found its way to one of the judges who was inclined to take serious
note of such things. He asked how a sick man came to be in so bad a
jail as Khairpur and ordered me back to Hyderabad Central Jail.
While my petition against detention was pending, the Provisional
Constitutional Order was promulgated in May 1981 whereby the High
Courts and the Supreme Courts no longer had any power to determine
the legality of actions under martial law orders. The judges were called
upon to swear allegiance to martial law by taking another oath
of office which, in my interpretation, implied their accepting martial
law as legal. Those who were not administered the oath were, in
effect, summarily dismissed. This state of affairs continued until the
lifting of martial law in December 1985.
What is more, by a special amendment to the Constitution the power
of these superior courts to determine, after the end of martial law,
whether actions taken during martial law were illegal and improper
was excluded. It was argued that there was thus no redress for what
had happened during the martial law period.
I remained in this illegal incarceration until 1986- that was how often
the three-month periods were extended. It is difficult to determine
which is the higher price to pay under a dictatorship, the price of
participating in politics or that of going into exile. In truth, it is a
difficult distinction to make because under detention one is so
completely isolated that it is effectivelya form of exile-and the
physical and mental suffering and torture is immeasurable.
"WHAT WENT WRONG WITH
One of the intriguing "ifs" of Pakistan history is "What would have
happened I if the founder of Pakistan had not been terminally ill at the
day of Pakistan and had not died within a year and a month of its
To those whom adequate study of the abundant fresh material on the
evolution of socio-political thought and action in India in this century,
which has become available in recent years, (for instance see "Legend
and Reality" by H.M. Seervi" The high politics of India's partition" by
Asim Roy in "India's Partition" edited by Mushirul Hassan, " A History
of Freedom Struggle" by E.M.S. Namboodripad, "The sole Spokesman,
Jinnah...." by Anita Indersingh, Indian's struggled for Independence"
by Bipan Chandra etc.) has liberated from the mental and intellectual
straight-jacket of the one-sided and simplistic congress-league- CPP
propaganda, whatever the short-comings and sins of omission and
commissions of Mohd. Ali Jinnah after and before Partition, including
those in such matters relating to the Provinces of Pakistan as
endorsement of Liaquat Ali Khan coterie's usurpation of Sindh's socio-
political, cultural-economic heart, the City of Karachi and the fatal
refusal to accept in time Bengali as one of the State languages of
Pakistan etc, one thing is absolutely clear about him. He was neither
the reactionary religious fanatic of the congress propaganda version
nor the modern version of Mohmood Ghaznavi and Ghazi Salahuddin
that Muslim League propaganda painted him to be.
The other day, on the 8th June 1995, to be exact, I was sitting with
Professor Muzaffar Anmed, President of Bangladesh NAP_ in his No. 50
Kakrail, Dacca house in Bangladesh. As usual on much occasions, he
was questioning me in detail regarding my views about various
political questions connected with the sub-continent. This time the
subject was the genesis of the current situation of India-Pakistan and
A man enters the house while we were conversing and spoke to the
Professor in English. I noted that his English accent was unlike that
common and told him so, later on, when he spoke tome. It transpired
that he was a much traveled and a very well-read man. Explaining his
English accent, he told me that one of the reasons was that he was
fond of Shakespeare and read him aloud. That reminded me. I said
“Do you know that a famous Indian Leader was also very fond of the
great poet and used often to declaim his poetry.”Yes! I know, "he
said.”"Mr. Jinnah was a unique man." Coming from aé_ Bengali
intellectual who was apparently nationalist and secular this statement
extremely surprised me and He said “I too, at first, thought him to be
only an opportunist, a rank reactionary and a British stooge. But he
(Mr. Jinnah) did he had to do, under the circumstances. He was never
a communalist & never advocated theocracy.
No transfer and Burdens of Population envisaged.
No transfer of population was ever suggested or contemplated at any
stage of the struggle for Pakistan. In fact the Pakistan Resolution of
1940 itself, which is the founding document of the struggle for
Pakistan, dose not envisage imposing population burdens upon the
constituent Provinces. It does not oblige any Province to accept a
single person from any other place including India. Much less does it
envisage people having their historical homelands, turned into petty
minorities in these very homelands by wholesale population transfers.
Nothing could be clearer on this point than Quaid-e-Azam's Famous
historic inaugural speech to the first Constituent Assembly of
Pakistan's three days before the coming into existence of Pakistan, in
which he directed the people of Pakistan to forget, nay, change the
bitter past, bury the communal hatchet and treat all Pakistanis as
equal citizens of Pakistan, so that the entire story of Hindu-Muslim
strife and communal hatred may become a thing of the past.
The self-appointed inheritors and owner of Pakistan.
It is tempting to speculate how, if Mr. Jinnah had lived longer,
peremptorily and summarily his no-nonsense nature would have dealt
with the pompous pronouncements and arrogant edicts of British
Deputy Commissioner's-darbar-level feudal politicians, deputy and
joint Secretary-level bureaucrats, Brigadier level uniformed
"statesmen" and the self-proclaimed bearded viceroys of God in fancy
beards, who overnight became the owners and masters of Pakistan by
"inheritance" as soon as the founder of Pakistan closed his eyes.
An out of order ambulance, a swarm of flies - how Liaquat Ali Khan
Coterie abandoned the dying Quaid.
Establishment on a war-Path against people of Pakistan.
Pakistan establishment has been on a war-path against the people of
Pakistan from day one of the establishment of Pakistan. The unstated
but implied political catechism prescribed by them went on something
like this. "Are you a Muslim?" "Yes." "do you believe in Quran as the
only word of God and the Supreme Law for Muslims? "Yes..... and I
want a democratic order ensuring my social, political and economic
rights and liberties including the right of forming political parties,
having a free Press, Fair and free elections in the country, human
FIQNtS ys sicus "Show us where in the Holy Quran are all these things
mentioned as required by God for a true believer!"
"But you see in the modern democratic world.....
"in the Holy Quran is the word democracy ever mentioned even in
passing? Is the Holy Quran, as it is, not sufficient for you that you are
asking for something about which there's not even a single mention in
our sacred book".
Rule By Naked Sword, the whip, the dungeon and the fatwa.
In utter disregard, nay contemptuous rejection of the concept of the
Quaid-e-Azam about Pakistan as a Human, liberal and democratic
modern Muslim State, they dreamed of transforming it into a medieval
slave-holders state run by the naked sword, the whip, the dungeons
the fatwa of the unscrupulous obscurantist priest close who made the
manufacture and sale of pseudo - religions edicts (fatwas) as their sole
privilege and business - monopoly.
Instead of relying upon the democratic the and creativity of the
people of Pakistan and on develop their untapped material resources ,
they relied upon rule by the iron rod ,by the discredited policy of
divided and rule and upon the begging bowl , which last drew foreign
comments this: "It is obvious from this approach Pakistan's request of
Oct - Nov. 1947) that Pakistan was thinking in terms of the U.S. as a
Primary source of military strength and that this would involve virtual
U.S. military responsibility for the new dominion. Our reply to this
Pakistan request was negative....."
(Action taken by U.S. on Pakistan's request of Oct-Nov. 1947 -
"American-Pakistan Relations - Documents edited by K. Arif p. 9 ")
Basis of Partition - Majority Provinces.
It may be noted here that the official basis of Partition of India and
establishment of Pakistan was not that India was divided among
Muslims or Hindus population of India, so that all Indian Muslims were
meant to live in Pakistan and all Hindus were to live India. It was
divided on the basis of majority provinces. Four Muslim majority
provinces - Punjab, Bengal, Sindh and Frontier were allowed to form a
separate State, which they named Pakistan and seven Hindu majority
provinces remained with India. The Hindu population residing in those
Muslim majority provinces was to remain there. Similarly the Muslims
in the Hindu majority provinces were to continue residing there.
The existence of Hindu and Muslim majority Provinces, the old States,
the ancient homelands of the peoples of India were the basic unit of
constitutional and political give and take. These provinces occupied the
center of the stage in the scheme of the Act of 1935, which started the
electoral battles of the thirties and forties in India culminating in
Partition with the elections of 1946 and the referendum of 1947.
Victories in the provincial election in 1937 gave Congress the first taste
of power and accelerated the face of All-India political struggles. "All
power to the majority provinces" was or less the crux of the matter in
both the Cripps's offer of 1942 and the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946.
Pakistan Resolution referred to these Muslim majority provinces as
would-be sovereign States. Quaid-e-Azam called the future Pakistan as
a state and the four Muslim majority provinces as homelands of the
people living there since centuries.
"They must have their homelands" Quid.
He said in his presidential address at Lahore in March 1940, during the
historic Muslim league session in which the famous Pakistan Resolution
was passed,"...... according to British map of India, 4 out of 11
provinces, where the Muslims dominate more or less are
functioning..... Musilamans are nation according to any definition of
nation and they must have their homelands, their territory and their
State....... " (The concept of "homeland" regarding above provinces
used by Mr. Jinnah has now become anathema to _ pro-terrorist
ideologue like Mr. M.B. Naqvi).
Maulana Azad also referred to these Muslim majority provinces as the
guarantee of the security and prosperity of Muslims of India in the
future Undivided India. In his presidential address at the Ramgarh
session of the Indian National Congress in Dec. 1940, said "......... in
four provinces out of eleven in India there is a Muslim majority, the
other religious groups being minorities. If British Baluchistan is added,
there are five Provinces with Muslim majorities..... the position of the
Muslims is not that of a minority only. If they are in a minority in
seven provinces, the are in majority in five."
Sindh - an ancient sovereign state for centuries.
The five Muslim majority provinces of former united India, which
formed Pakistan, are the homelands of the Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashtoon,
Bengali and Baloch people since centuries and even millennia. For
instance Sindh was regarded as a country at par with India by the
Arab Geographers in medieval times. It had attained statehood long
before such famous states as Russia, England, Germany and France
and was represented in the Battle of Maha Bharata by its Raja
Jaidrath. It has existed as an state independent of any imperial power
for centuries. It was independent when the British conquered it in
February 1842 and later designed it as a Province. In all fairness, it
became entitled, under international law, to resume its Previous
independent states as a sovereign state in August 1947, when the
British Raj came to an end.
Along with three other Muslim majority provinces out of the total of
level provinces of India, Sindh chose to become a part of Pakistan.
Sindh Targeted for conquest and Subjugation.
As soon as Pakistan was formed however, one of the Muslim majority
Provinces, to form Pakistan viz. Sindh Muslim majority province of
Sindh was made a target for conquest and subjugation by U.P=C.P
elite led by khan Liaquat through planned demographic aggression
represented by a flood of Indian, mostly illegal, immigrants directed at
Sindh to transform the SINDHI majority into a tiny, obedient minority,
to serve the super-civilized Indian immigrant masters and conquerors.
First to be robbed from the Sindhi peoples was its most valuable piece
of real estate viz. the City of Karachi, the capital of the province.
Draconian, confiscatory black laws, called the Evacuee Laws, were
used as a weapon for usurping Sindhi property worth billions of Rupees
and for making them virtual aliens in their own towns and cities.
The illiterate Peasant and the bania.
In Sindh, as else-where, illiterate peasants and petty agriculturists
used to purchase their daily necessities from the shops of Hindu village
merchants. Whenever, the debt accumulated beyond a certain point,
the merchant would tell the peasant or petty abadgar to go to the
Tapedar with him and sign a statement acknowledging that such and
such piece of land belonging to him was mortgaged without possession
with the bania for such and such a sun. Under the relevant law of the
land viz. Transfer of property Act and the Registration Act, signing of
such statements was just meaningless, as the possession of the pieces
of land in question was never handed over and no prescribed sale-
deed according to law was executed before the concerned Registrar.
The transaction was appropriately called "Khokho khato" i.e. empty
transfer. Lacs of acres of land of peasantry was involved in such
empty and meaningless transactions before the Revenue Tapedar
without any sanctity in the eyes of the law of the land,
A family arrangement!
The central government, which controlled the operation of
Rehabilitation and Evacuee Laws, had so arranged the matters that the
establishment which implemented this law was totally dominated by
Indian immigrants from top to bottom. One immigrant merely claimed
by word of mouth that he had so many gardens, buildings, wheat
fields in such and such province. Another immigrant said that the claim
was correct. Third immigrant who was the Rehabilitation officer
"investigated" and "verified" the claim. If someone wished to challenge
the validity of such a claim, he had to go for a favorable decision from
a higher official, who in most cases, was himself an Indian immigrant.
So, as they say in Sindhi "The cook was the grand mother and those
who ate the food were the grand children." It became an internal
community affair. Property worth billions of Rupees which in law never
belonged to Hindus and was lawfully owned and possessed by Sindhi
Muslims, was overnight declared by such " family arrangement" as
Hindu property and hence, further, a booty to be divided among the
community and then sold at fancy prices, not to one, but to more than
one, two, and sometimes even three, four different purchasers, who
then went on fighting in law courts for the same property for
generations. The seller just vanished from the scene after collecting
the amounts from all the duped purchasers.
The First Generation of Terrorists.
I cannot forget some of my encounters as an advocate with the
immigrant officials who were supposed to be performing "Judicial"
functions. One noted C.S.P. bureaucrats who terrorized Tharparker
District for a number of years, as Deputy commissioner and who
became a big Rehabilitation authority at Hyderabad, was sitting in the
supper store of the present sessions Court, Hyderabad, I went to him
and stood before him for quite some minutes. He did not deign to look
at me. Ultimately, I had to open my lips and say "Sir! I Wish to
present my appeal. This is the last day. There is no one in the office of
receive it." "What is your name? A told him "On whose behalf are you
filling the appeal?" "On behalf of a poor peasant." "Appeal dismissed."
He declared. "I was flabbergasted. I had no such experience before
any other authority in my whole life of the profession. I took courage
in my both hands and submitted humbly, "But sir, you haven't yet
seen the memo of appeal and then I have to argue it." he extended his
hand stiffly, half-snatched the application from my hand, noted some-
thing upon it and threw it into the waste paper basket, Lying under the
table and said "Next case!". Later in the day, I read the noting in the
office "Heard Advocate. No merit. Rejected." On another occasion nice-
looking slim, officer with glasses heard me patiently for three four
minutes in his office in saddar barracks at Karachi. I argues about the
requirements of law for making a Muslim property a Hindu property
and hence an evacuee property under the Transfer of Property Act,
Registration Act and the relevant Evacuee Laws. While I was in the
midst of my submissions, he looked at me intently and pointing to the
wall behind me, said in a very measured, deliberate voice "Do you see
that wall?" I said "Yes Sir!" "Go and strike your head against it! appeal
dismissed!" Now that I recall these experiences I realize that these
bureaucrats were the first generation of terrorists. They wielded the
Law and the pen as weapons for their terroristic rampages.
A Regular Loot and plunder - A Racket of the Century.
For the type of officer law, propriety, fair, play meant less than
nothing. They considered it below their dignity to evince anything but
contempt for the law, justice and fair-play. They enjoyed parading
their lawlessness and arbitrariness, free from all ethical, moral and
level restraints. They had just conquered Sindh and Sindhi people and
wanted every one to know it.
It was a regular loot and plunder which went on for many decades, a
racket of the century.
This whole crowd (the bogus ex-owners of fictitious gardens and
palaces, left behind in India, battalions of regular "Witnesses" and
"verifiers", the swarms of touts and sifarishis, the gangs of looters
and robbers posing as upholders of law, fair-play and good conscience
tall) robbed thousands of poor Sindhi people of their properties, lands
businesses, even the grave-yards of their fore-fathers and threw them
out of urban centers of Sindh. In due course of time, some of our dear
Indian immigrant guests from across the border, many of them illegal
immigrants, have begun to claim not just one or a few properties but
whole towns and cities of Sindh as their sovereign domain with the
powers of life and death by horrible tortures and racial cleansing.
Criminalized politics - A Bunch of Moneys with swords In
Politics has been criminalized from day one in Pakistan. As if a bunch
of monkeys have somehow got hold of swords and are striking at
everything within their sight. Ethical, moral, social and_ political
standards, legal and constitutional limitations, considerations of
patriotism, of safety and welfare of the state and society, norms of
self-respect and decency no thing has been spared.
A state at war with its people.
The state of Pakistan has been at war with and within itself these last
48 years of its existence its protective institutions charge cores of
Rupees annually only to destabilize their own’ society and
governments! The organs and agencies of state spend Crores of their
huge share of the national budget to enlist, train and operate cut-
throats, gangsters, hooligans mass-murderers and torturers to sow
confusion, despondency and terror in the hearts of the loyal and
peaceful subjects of the state, whom it is their sacred and bounden
duty to protect and cherish! The shepherds have taken on the roles of
the wolf-breeders. This is over and above the cruel sufferings and
calamities, the civil and military dictatorships have been themselves
imposing upon the people during the last half a century.
A Matter of faith and geo-politics.
I firmly believe as a matter of faith based upon sound reason and a
sense of geopolitics and history that the countries of Al-Sindh (now
Pakistan) and Al-Hind (Now Bharat) are sisters and their peoples are
brothers, despite the rich variety of our faiths and sub-cultures. We
complement each other just as other neighboring countries like France
and England do.
I also believe that short -sightedness and foul play is not the monopoly
of any one of over two neighboring countries. We have no dearth of
problems requiring urgent solutions. We have not a penny in excess of
our immediate requirements to spend on perfecting the war machines
for killing and maiming our brothers and sisters and our children and
parents. We do not have any real need to spend our meager resources
for enlisting and training terrorists to torture innocent people living
across our borders. Common sense, restraint, mutual accommodation
and understanding, magnanimity of heart and mind and a realistic
appraisal of our mutual possibilities and limitations are the only course
of action realistically available to us. Amity and peace, not strife and
war point the way out of the percent impasse.
The Country in real danger from within and without.
I Also believe that thanks to the criminal misdeeds of our
establishment during the last 50 years. Pakistan in real danger from
within and without as it has never been before. I do not believe that it
is in the real, long-term interests of the majority of our working
masses and the democracy- loving people that the present crisis
should be allowed to take its own course and become worse. It is high
time that our thinking and conceptions pro-people forces awaken the
people from their present state of apathy and despondency and
persuade them to take up their destiny in their own hands and compel
the powers that be, to resist from continuing with the irresponsible,
course of action, they have hither to been following.
As far as the vociferous pro-terrorist intelligentsia of Sindh is
concerned, would like humbly to submit before them:
If you really believe.
If you really believe that through the torrent of media propaganda you
can persuade the world at large that terrorism, torture by drilling
machines, skinning fellow human beings alive etc. is a civilized
democratic and legitimate mode of protest against perceived lack of
perceived rights, deserving sympathy and support of civilized men and
women, and if you think that by this kind of attitude of establishment
and terrorists Sindh will become a colony of establishment and mostly
illegal Indian immigrants, to be ruled through drilling machines,
torture cells etc. You are welcome to your fantasies and day-dreams.
But if you really believe such a thing as that terrorism is the only
course now left open to our Urdu-speaking brothers and sisters in
Pakistan, I would humbly like to disagree.
Most of us need peace to work, to study, to love.....
After all we are all human beings. We are not all criminals, who can do
nothing other than brutally kill and main and mutilate fellow-human
beings. Most of us are poor people who have to earn a meal or two for
our children. Most of us need peace to work, to study, to live, to
marry, to sing, to dance, to live like human beings with our share of
pains and pleasures. Pursuing wild dreams of conquest, supremacy,
hegemony, brutal power, enslavement of fellow human-beings, are to
the only courses left to enterprising and spirited men and women.
Fellow-ship, mutual help and cooperation in peace and amity offer
more job-satisfaction and rewards than running drilling machines and
torture cells. Sindh will never bow down before any would-be Nadir
Shah, Hitler or Mussolini, but Sindh's arms are open for all who
approach it in peace and filial love.
To all our brothers and sisters speaking various languages including
Sindhi, Punjabi, Urdu etc. I would like humbly and sincerely to say:
"Our brothers did not give birth to us to live in constant necessity of
either killing some other human beings or being in constant danger of
being killed. Let us refuse to remain prisoners behind the dark
dungeons of hatred and violence. Let us look at the sun, the moon, the
flowers, the flowing water, the eyes of the beloved and the less of
children. Let us recognize one another as what we really are fellow
human-beings, compatriots, brothers and sisters. Why can we not
differ stoutly without falling prey to brutal violence? Why can we not
disagree and argue without endangering our lives and the lives of our
Grievances against the Government, the State and the System.
As far grievances, thousands of us have passed the best years our
lives in jails, during almost continuously in prison during both the
Bhutto and Zia regimes. I have given no less than ten best years of
my life to the worst prisons of Pakistan. I can never forget that
Almost every honest and working man and woman has serious
grievances from the governments and establishment and socio-political
system of our country.
It is only through exchanging our views and joining our hands in peace
and friendship and struggling together that we can lessen the pans
and sufferings of our lives.
I can assure you that the majority of the laboring masses of the
people of Sindh are ready to embrace and clasp the hand of any and
every one of his compatriots who is ready and willing to march forward
with them on the path of a peaceful and democratic struggle for a
better and fully satisfying life for all of us not excluding any one and
including those who abandon the path of violence and strife and take
the high road unity of all oppressed and deprived people, of happiness
for all people.
Why not give peace a chance for a change.
We are witnessing the wages of hypocrisy, hatred, violence, crime
and terror. For once, for a change why not give sincerity, amity,
peace, cooperation and joint peaceful democratic struggle for the
rights of all our brothers and sisters a chance.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PICTURE
Iqbal Ahmed’s article in the “Dawn” of 27th September 1992 entitled
“The question of right” regarding frontier post’s seminar “Resettlement
of Beharis” held at Lahore on 20th of September 1992 needs some
Truth is generally many sided and complex. One sided over
simplification distorts its balance and transforms it into a falsehood.
this fact is known to the human race since sources of centuries. “Every
truth has two sides. It is well to look at both before we commit
ourselves to either” (Aesop 6th B.C., “the Mule” fables(. The American
writer Henry ward Beecher was saying the same thing in the last
century (1887) in different words “Pushing any truth out very far, you
are met by a counter truth”. The problem created by the demand for
giving Pakistani citizenship to Lacs of Beharis and for bringing them to
Pakistan is a grave multi-dimensional and complex national problem.
Mr. Iqbal Anmed has chosen to reduce it to a simplistic and legalistic
question of the so-called “Right of Citizenship”.
He chooses to ignore the most important aspects of the multi-faceted
issue. For instance:
1- Grant of Pakistani citizenship to lacs of Beharis is a matter of
concern not only to the government of the day but is a question of a
grave national importance of historical proportions, being at the same
time a question of life and death for over a crore of Pakistanis
belonging to one of the four remaining founding peoples of Pakistan
2- This earth is not just a no man’s land and abandoned
wilderness. The land, water and sub soil resources of the earth are not
inexhaustible or ownerless. These are there simply because they have
been possessed, protected and developed by individuals, communities,
peoples and nations. Sizable number of people cannot go from one
territory to another and take a share of its resources without reducing
the share of those who are there since centuries with no where else to
go and no other resource to share. One of the forms of uprooting
historical owners of territories of the earth has been mass migrations
of People complaining of being uprooted from their own historical
homelands by more powerful neighbor as in the case of Arghoons, the
Huns, the Scythians, the Aryans and the Mangols who begun as the
invaded and the uprooted only to become the invaders and uprooters
3- Sindh has just so much quality and quantity of resources
which are less than sufficient for its own people who have been living
here for over a score of centuries and have been protecting,
developing and preserving these meager resources with their sweat
and blood during all these hard and merciless millennia.
4- The mass migration of Indian Muslims after the establishment
of Pakistan to Sindh has already taken away a sizable chunk of Sindhi
Peoples’ historical national resources, reduced their percentage of the
total of the population of the province and consequently their
effectiveness as the owners of their historical homeland -Sindh.
5- The People of Sindh did not play the prominent role in the
formation of Pakistan order to be reduced to a minority and the status
of third rate citizens in their 5000 year old own home-land and to
become silent spectators of the plunder by all and sundry of its
resources which they have defended throughout history against all
comers the Greeks, the Arabs, the Arghoons, the Mughals and the
British in order to retain them for themselves and their children as a
national heritage and as their historical share of a slice of this good
6- The Pakistan resolution which is the Political foundation stone
of the struggle for Pakistan did not envisage putting of enormous
Population burdens on and reduction of the economic Political and
demographic status of the People who had volunteered to become
parts of Pakistan. It may not be out of place to note that Sindhi people
were the only People of those who eventually become Pakistani
Peoples to have passed a resolution through their provincial Assembly
in favor of the formation of Pakistan and in favor of their province
becoming a part of Pakistan.
7- No people in the world including Biharis have any vested or
moral right to go on changing their places of residence like shirts every
other day at their sweat will, to go on abusing the hospitality f one
people and thrusting themselves upon another when ever they like.
They have had their choice after leaving Bihar, their birth place. They
have had their chance to live in their new Bengali home in fraternity
with their peaceful brothers, the Bengalis but for whose strong sense
of religions solidarity, Idealism and valiant struggle for a separate
Muslim home land in the sub-continent, Pakistan could never have
come into being. That they failed to live or rather chose not to live
with their Bengali Muslim brothers in peace and chose to help burn
drown their chosen homeland in fire and blood is not the fault of any
one else much less of the Sindhis so as to make them liable for the
punishment of having a heap of human burning coals, which had
already helped burn down half of Pakistan, to be thrown upon their
already burning cottage.
8- To describe a person who has probably been born at or has a
least passed the major part of his life at a place as being stranded at
that place of his birth and breeding, residence and work would be the
height of misrepresentation. Beharis have never seen what now
Pakistan is; they have never set their foot on the soil of
present Pakistan. They continue to live where they have always lived
after the establishment of Pakistan and where a great number of them
were born. How and where a great number of them were born. How
and with what degree of justice can we arbitrarily invest such people
with the title of “Pakistanis” and “Stranded Pakistanis” at that, defies
imagination. Surely for being “Stranded” away from a place you must
first have been there, at that place. To be “Stranded” away from what
is now Pakistan, you must first have been living in what is now
Pakistan- must have gone out of it for short while for some temporary
work, business or pleasure, must have suddenly and unexpectedly
been helpup there and become unable to return to your original place
of residence in the present Pakistan, say Gharo, Toba Tek Singh,
Karachi or Peshawar. May one venture to ask when and from which
place of present Pakistan have these our Behari Islamic brothers gone
to Bangladesh and then suddenly have become “Stranded” there and
thus have become entitled to the oft-repeated title of “stranded”
One may repeat an untruth a million time from the house tops but it
remain an untruth. Yes, someone did say “the great masses of the
people will more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a small one”.
And yes, we are not very unlike the Americans about whom Edgar
Watson used to say in the beginning of this century that they “detest
all lies except lies spoken is public or printed lies”. But surely men of
conscience are expected not to forget what Aristotle told humanity
more than a score of centuries back “Repetition does not transform a
lie into a truth”. Lt us face it. The Beharis are neither Pakistanis nor
“Stranded” out anywhere but continue to live at the same place where
many of them have been born and bred and where most of them have
passed the major part of their lives.
Without prejudice to what has been submitted above, there is yet
another aspect of the question that too needs to be carefully
considered. Every one knows that a number of both Urdu-speaking
and Bengali-speaking people in East Pakistan were supporters of
General Yahya Khan’s disastrous military action against the people of
former East Pakistan. Every one knows that whatever the reason, lacs
of Bengali-speaking people of Bangladesh prefer residing in Pakistan to
continue living in Bangladesh. In fact lacs of Bengalis have already
reached Pakistan illegally and are living and working here and are
demanding the right of citizen-ship and full civil rights and facilities as
Pakistani citizens, declaring like Beharis, their condemnation of the
formation of Bangladesh and their support of General Yahya’s action
and their love for Pakistan.
11- Islam does not permit unjustified discrimination between
Muslims on the basis of tribal or linguistic differences among Muslims.
12- If we say that we are giving, Pakistani citizenship to Beharis
and settling them in Pakistan because they are Muslims, because they
supported General Yahya Khan’s military action, because they have
refused to live in the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh and because they
want to be settled in Pakistan, then surely we who have been talking
so loudly, glibly and exuberantly about Islam, Islamic brother-hood
etc, can not and should not he allowed to say that we are going to
discriminate between those Muslims who speak Urdu and those who do
not when both groups have the same credentials viz opposition to
formation of Bangladesh, support to general Yahya’s disastrous Military
action, professions of love and support for Pakistan and the desire to
be settled in Pakistan. If we don’t wish to discriminate between one
Muslim resident of former East Pakistan and another on basis of
language, we have no moral or legal basis of language, we have no
moral or legal justification to refuse Pakistani citizen-ship to any one
who professes as much vociferous love for Pakistan, as much support
for General Yahya Khan’s military action and as much condemnation of
the formation of Bangladesh as any Behari or any or his Pakistan
13- In that case we will have to give Pakistani citizen-ship to and
accommodate at least over a crore of people from Bangladesh
crippling our sociopolitical-economic fabric for ever.
14- Once a person is given the status of a Pakistani citizen there is
no legal or constitutional justification or mechanism for restraining him
from going and settling wherever he likes in the country. Experience
shows that one immigrants legally or illegally come to Pakistan, they
have always converged on Sindh causing torment and destruction to
the People of Sindh in the from of over-strain on their already
exhausted meager resources, economic stagnation and decline,
increased lawlessness, insecurity, ethnic terrors and resulting Socio-
15- No government of Pakistan or another federative state has the
moral or political right to take any decisions which are bound to result
in threatening the very historical existence of the peoples but for
whose willing and ardent participation, the country cold not have come
16- I wish that instead of raising the question of citizen-ship in
isolation to the pedestal of the super-god in utter disregard of all
relevant historical, political, social and economic principles and
considerations, people like Mr. Iqbal Ahmed would condescend to
throw a glance at other relevant aspects of this grave and complex
matter including the threatened extinction of people who are the
inheritors of one of the oldest civilizations of mankind i.e. the
civilization of Mohan-jo-Daro and whose only fault is that they believed
and had faith in a Pakistan in which no injustice will be done to any
individual or any people, where all prosper in peace under just laws,
and advance towards a bright future for themselves and their progeny.
I wish Mr. Iqbal Ahmed in his great wisdom and generosity of spirit
which he has been extending in some recesses of his noble heart a
little, ever so little a bit of pity for the Sindhi people also who feel
betrayed, oppressed and tormented and find themselves at the verge
of extinction as a historical social entity, in short a threatened social
specie. Let us bear in mind the immortal words of the Italian Patriot
Guiseppe Mazzini, “To be mistaken is a misfortune to be pitied but to
know the truth and not to conform one’s actions to it, is a crime which
Heaven and Earth condemn.”
ON GETTING RID OF EVIL
It is always rewarding to read what one is deeply interested in,
specially when written by those who are supposed to know what they
are writing about.
The man on the horse-back has always been an object of curiosity,
wonder and admiration for lesser mortals.
The writings of world renowned generals like sun Zu, Julius caeser,
Babar, Nepoleon, Rommel, Zhukov, Mao Tse Tung, and Giap have
fascinated readers throughout the ages.
In Pakistan Ayoub Khan, whatever else he was or was not, was a man
of (good, bad, indifferent, whatever) ideas. He was also a man of what
he regarded as (again good,, bad r indifferent, whatever) principles.
He liked to articulate both.
“Friends not masters” was one result. More would be known about his
thinking if and when his diary is published.
The debacle of East Pakistan shocked the nation as never before.
The impossible had happened. The “Cowardly Bania” had dared to
compel our ever-victorious “ghaziz”, the descendants of Khalid-Bin-
Walid, Sultan Mohammad Ghaznavi, Taimoor, Mohammad the
conqueror and Ahmed Shah Abdali to eat dust.
Some on simply had to explain. And a whole galaxy of our generals
valiantly stepped forward to face the displaying varying degrees of
professional capability intellectual range and moral courage and
The opening volley, however, was fired by a officer of a humbler rank.
It was major Siddik Salik’s “Witness to surrender” which opened the
pandora box and put every one concerned on notice. Maj: Gen: ®
Fazal Mugeem Khan’s “Pakistan’s Crisis In Leader-ship” Maj. Gen: ®
Rao Farman Ali Khan’s “How Pakistan Govt: Divided”, Major Gen: ®
Tajamul Hussain Malik’s” The Story of My Struggle”, Ltd. Gen: ®
Kamal Matiuddin’s “Tragedy of Errors”, Ltd: Gen: ® Gul Hassan Khan’s
“Memoirs” and Lt: Gen: A.K. Niazi’s Urdu Book “Main Ne Hathiar Nahin
Dale” (I did not surrender?) throw enough light on the affair to enable
relatively more unbiased minds to piece together a more coherent and
objective picture of what actually happened. They would do well to
consult among other books “Separation of East Pakistan” by Hassan
Zaheer which is perhaps a more wide ranging, balanced, thought
provoking and scholarly work on the subject than any other work on
the subject written upto now. For the political back-ground Altaf
Gohar’s “Ayob Khan” would be found to the indispensable.
Articles in news-papers by writers belonging to the armed forces are
read with keen interest. I have had the good fortune to read articles
by Air Marshal ® Zulifgar Ali Khan, Gen ® Khalid Mahmood Arif and
others and I found them informative and thought-provoking.
So when I saw in to day’s (8th Nov. 94) “DAWN” an article by Gen: ®
Khalid Mahmood Arif entitled “Hallowed Traditions to Preserve”, I read
it with interest. I dealt with important matters affecting our fellow-
Citizens in the defence services.
Who in Pakistan does not envy, if not fear, the military man? For most
of us, the Pakistan military is represented either by “Chief-Martial Law
Administrator type of awe- inspiring Generals or by all powerful
colonels and Majors running the military “COURTS” or by those who
more or less “OWN” huge semi-autonomous, bodies, corporations and
embassies after retirement or even before and rule over their fiefs and
humble subjects like the famous Nawabas and jagirdars of the good
old Mughal days.
In most cases it never occurs to us that a military establishment
simply could not consist entirely of Chief Martial Law Administrators or
for the matter, of mighty Martial Law Majors whose powers of life and
death have during the greater part of Pakistan’s history exceeded and
superseded those of the highest courts of the country including the
Supreme Court itself.
Obviously there are times, how so ever brief and transitory, in our
beloved country, when there is neither Martial Law nor Martial Law
Administrators or “Courts”. And then, Martial Law or no Martial Law,
there are always lakhs of ordinary soldiers with fixed pay and growing
children and liabilities who dread the prospect of a too early retirement
and that of having to live on a pittance for a pension, the real value of
which gets less and less with growing inflation. If some one connected
with government service needs relief more than anyone else, it is the
poor pensioner. It s beyond comprehension, therefore, why pay and
pension committee report 1994 has not been made applicable to the
pensioners, as printed but by General Khalid Mahmood Arif in this
Anther point to which the worthy General has pointed, is equally
The humblest government employee has a right to know the actual
date of his retirement much before the fateful day. That the Service
Chiefs are entitled to this knowledge goes without saying. every one
will agree with General Khalid Mahmood Arif that the need for
extending such a courtesy to the Service Chiefs is greater as they have
to visit formations and troops to say good-bye to their commands”.
Further on, he makes a point of even greater importance and wider
applicability. “Needless to say that the retirement of service chiefs with
Visible dignity (italics mine), promotes confidence of the troops in their
commanders and of the people in the defence services..... -
He laments “Strangely this tradition is not well followed in the
country”. This lament will find on echo in more hearts than perhaps
even the good general himself may imagine.
For, “retirement with dignity” is the right, not only of service chiefs but
of all public officials including the superiors of the Service Chiefs viz
the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces/President of Pakistan and
the Head of the Government of Pakistan/ Prime Minister of Pakistan. It
is, therefore, incumbent upon all concerned and responsible, that all
public officials both in the civil and defence service are enabled to
retire with “Visible dignity”, so that confidence in national institutions
That, as observed with sorrow by General Arif, “this tradition is not
well followed in this country” is a fact too obvious to need any greater
proof than a mere look at our history of nearly half a century.
Few of our Governor Generals/Presidents/Supreme Commanders of
Armed Forces, Heads of Government /Prime Ministers, Chief Justice
and Judges of the Superior Courts and Service chiefs have been
enabled/allowed to retire from public service with any dignity whether
visible or invisible.
The father of the nation, the great Qaid and the First governor General
and Supreme Commander of the armed forces of Pakistan was allowed
to lye dying on the road-side near Mauripur in a disgraceful and
undignified condition with a broken down ambulance and two old
ladies by his side. The first Prime Minster of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan
as allowed to be murdered without any trace to this day of any
investigation worth the name. His colleagues were found to be too
busy distributing top jobs among themselves to find time to attend to
matters relating to his burial. The second Prime Minster of the country,
Khwaja Nazim-u-din, was sent packing without a moment’s notice by
Governor General Ghulam Mohammad who himself was throw out of
office in a state of semi-madness, uttering filthy abuses to all and
“the Governor General was lying in his bed room....... He WaS........
emitting volleys of abuse ..... Choudhri Muhammad Ali ventured to say
something and received a volley; then Iskandar Mirza said something
and got another”, (‘Friends not master’ by Mohamamd Ayoub Khan,
Behind these mad and abusive beurocrats stood the Army chief and it
was he actually, who was colling the tune in Pakistan at the time
“Ayoub Khan was now recognized as the man behind the throne”
(“Ayoub Khan” by Altaf Gouhar P. 96).
Iskandar Mirza followed Ghulam Mohammad and a whole bunch of
Prime Ministers was brought in and kicked out in disgrace till it was the
turn of the Supreme Commander of the Pakistan Armed Forces.
president of Pakistan, major General Iskandar Mirza himself to be
booted out by his subordinate General Ayoub Khan whom he, more
than anyone else, had helped to become the Army Chief. “Brigadier
Nawazish went to Mirza’s bedrooms and knocked on the door..... As he
entered the room Mirza said, “You know that has happened now”
Begum Mirza.... walked upto Brigadier Nawazish and said “Is this what
we deserve?”......... The President’s house was surrounded by the
army, the whole operation was under the control of Brigadier Bahadur
Sher who was going around with a Pistol in his hand” (“Ayoub Khan”
by Altaf Gouhar, P. 154-155). Nor was the self appointed field Martial
allowed to “retire with dignity” by his own subordinate generals.
“There he (information Secretary) found Yahya and three of his
generals, Hameed Peerzada and Gul Hassan huddled around the radio
set, listening to Ayoub’s broad-cast (handing over power to General
Yahya.) They looked like a bunch of thieves bending over the booty
and were a little startled as if caught red, handed. “Ayoub Khan by
Altaf Gouhar” P. 477-78).
“Ayoub Khan expected to stay in the President’s house for three
months and to retain his personal staff.... every morning Yahya and
his staff officers would pass by the house and find the old man sitting
on the lawn. His presence was a constant reminder of their crime....
(General) Peerzada conveyed it to Ayoub that his presence was
causing annoyance to the people and it was in his interest to leave.....
Ayoub came out of the house and walked towards the car looking
lonely and abandoned. On his Sculptured face the dark lines of
emotional stress were deeply engraved (“Ayoub Khan” by Altaf Gouhar
If a former Service Chief is to be believed, and there is no reason why
he should not be, General Yahya’s exit would have been even much
more undignified and disastrous for Pakistan than it actually was, if
what appeared to be an extremely sinister plot in offing, had not been
foiled in time.
It appears that 3-days after the ignominious surrender at Dhaka an
16th December 1971, General Yahya had, on 19th December 1971,
sent a plane to Rome to fetch Mr. bhutto for the transfer of power to
elected representatives. But had things worked the way some generals
of General Yahya’s staff, led by the chief of staff of the Army, appear
to have been planning, what Mr. Bhutto received would have been
something quite different from a guard of honor and the transfer of
power he was supposed the receive.
It would be better to let Lt. General Gul Hassan himself tell his story of
that dangerous plot on that fateful day:
“Around 2300 hours, I was thinking of packing up and going home,
when I was informed that Brigadier Ghulam Mohammad wished to see
me urgently.... He was then commanding our Special Service Group
(SSG), the equivalent of commandos.... he was not quite his usual
self..... He came out with a starting revelation to which I would not
have readily attached credence had the person conveying it not been
G.M. He said: ‘Abut an hour ago I was sent for by the QMG, General
Mitha... he wished a company of the SSG moved to Rawalpindi as soon
as possible for the protection of the President, COS, and GHQ.... He
then casually put in that the COS was aware of the matter and had
under Scored its urgency. So I should instruct the company
commander to report to him for directions. I regretted the unless
sanctioned by the CGS, no SSG personnel could be moved. He cast a
stern gaze at me and I decided that before any unpleasantness set in,
I should leave.’
“I told GM he had done exactly what I would have, had I been in his
place. Firstly, I, the CGS, Knew nothing about the requirement. Two, I
did not see the need for SSG to be employed to protect the
personages in question, who were adequately guarded as it was. GHQ
by no stretch of imagination required such highly specialized security.
If he received any more such Summons from anyone, he should come
to me first. At this, GM left my office, Somewhat relived.... General
Mitha had raised the SSG when we became the recipients of US
military aid in the fifties, and he regarded himself as the father figure
of that unit. GM had served under him. Mitha was a shrewd man.... He
was on intimate terms with General Hammed and invariably referred
to him as “Han”......
“After our meeting with the President earlier that evening, the COS, as
was his wont, met with his cronies, Mitha being the linchpin in that
congregation. This august gathering was aware that a drastic change
was in the offing. Bhutto, after the completion f his mission to the UN,
had reached Rome, from where he had called Mustafa Khar (Later
Governor of the Punjab) asking whether it was safe for him to return
to Pakistan. Khar had contacted Air Marshal Rahim Kha, who in turn
conveyed the message to the President. The latter instructed the Air
Marshal to dispatch a PIA plane to fetch Bhutto. This development was
known to the COS but I came to know of it from the Air Marshal some
days later. I do not know what role was contemplated for the SSG in
Rawalpindi but I can state categorically that the one purpose it was
not intended for was to furnish a guard of honor to Bhutto at the
airport. Had this drama been staged, it would have smacked of a re-
enactment of our military action in Dhaka, whether the President was
a pray to his design, I am in no position to say.
General Mitha, with his potent credentials, was the obvious choice to
set this plot in train- he was a confident of the COS and, because of
his past association with the SSG, it was hopefully envisaged that the
CGS could be circumvented. However, whatever was in store for us
was averted because GM did not succumb t intimidation.
19 December 1971 was indeed a day that I will never forget- it was
the worst I had ever experienced in all my long service. The discipline
in the Army was on the verge of snapping and the repugnant odor of
anarchy was sin the air. The climate was all the more awesome
because there would have been no authority to arrest the rot, should it
have set in. The induction of a company of the SSG, by no stretch of
imagination for a Samaritan role, was a move so reckless that, had it
materialized, it could have dispatched the country into oblivion. It
would also have been a befitting final to Mrs. Ghandhi’s act to restore,
all the joy to Pandit Nehru’s heart. (“‘Memoirs” by Lt. General ® Gul
Hassan P 343-45).
How far dignified or otherwise, the retirement of General Gul Hassan
and Air Martial Rahim Khan was has already been noted and
commented upon by General Khalid Mahmood Arif himself. What
remains to be recalled and noted in this context of maintaining the
dignity of high public officials and institutions is the mode of
“retirement” of Presidents Ziaul-Haque and Mohammad Ishaque Khan
and Prime Minister Zulifgqar Ali Bhutto, Mohammad Khan Junejo,
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. How some of
the Chief Justices and Justices of our Superior Courts, the other pillar
of our state, have been “retired with dignity” is a long and painful
The institution that has been at the top of the power structure of
Pakistan most of the time and in its wings all the time, is that of the
armed forces which is supposed to be the most disciplined, the most
patriotic, the most dedicated, selfless and high mined institution at the
disposal f the country. What we have so far accomplished or not
accomplished in all fields of national endeavor, including that of the
maintaining the dignity of our highest public officials and national
institutions, during the last half a century, has been done, mainly
under the leadership and the guidance of this our topmost and all
powerful national institution, with of course, ample and indispensable
help from our worthy ‘Patriotic’ Politicians, our incorruptible political
workers, our ‘God-Loving’ and ‘GodFearing’ Moulanas, our wise and
valiant intellectuals, our ‘dedicated public servants, our ‘independent-
minded’ press, our ‘enlightened’ public and our noble foreign ‘well-
wishers’ and patrons.
Let us see whether we can prevent the situation from getting worse or
hopefully, even improve it bit by bit, through our collective efforts in
all fields of national concern.
But before we can do anything in this regard. We shall have to muster
up the courage to get ourselves rid of our unholy tradition of national
self-delusion, self-righteousness and cynicism and make a fresh by
calling a spade, a spade and facing the objective realities.
11TH SEPTEMBER TRAGEDY:
PERSPECTIVES AND PORTENDS
The broad masses of the people of Pakistan joined the rest of the
civilized world in their deepest sense of shock and grief at the horrible
tragedy inflicted upon thousands of innocent people of United States
and some other countries on 11th September 2001. It is widely
believed that such crimes against humanity can not be justified by any
alleged previous crimes of a similar or even worse nature and
dimension. The people of the third world countries including those of
Pakistan, who have suffered centuries of countless terrorist crimes, in
the course of the rule of local tyrants and successive series of foreign
aggression and occupation, in all their brutal manifestations, e.g (to
mention only a few recent ones) in Heroshima and Nagasaki in
(Japan), massacres in Indonesia, in Mai Lai inVietnam, in Palestinian
refugee camps Sabra and Shatila (Lebanan) and the on-going
bombing and starving of Iraq and Zionist fundamentalist revivalist
terror in Palestine, abhor all forms of terror against innocent and
helpless groups, communities, peoples, states and countries under
any allegedly lofty and noble covers e.g exigencies of war, of
restoring law and order, protecting liberty and the free world or
promoting a civilizational or super-religious holy mission etc.
While thus rejecting any and all justifications for terror under
any colour or pretext whatever, people of the third world and for that
matter, of the whole civilized world, can not shut their eyes and
pretend to be unaware of the facts, that those vociferously proclaiming
to-day their horror of terror and calling for waging a holy war for
saving human civilization, happen to be representatives of exactly
those forces which have been practicing, instigating and master-
minding terrorist crimes across the four corners of the globe, against
innumerable poor and defenseless’ societies, involving looting,
plundering ,murdering, enslaving and de-humanizing of entire
countries and continents of this ,our un happy earth, either directly or
through using and patronizing such fiends, again to mention only a few
recent ones, as_ Hitlers, Mussolinis,Francos, Salazars, Pinoches,
Marcoses, Sohartos and Ariel Sharons, etc.The vast majority of
humanity to day continues to bear the scars of such international
Nor can it be forgotten that many of those alleged to be involved
in terrorism now, are known to belong to those groups which were
enlisted, trained, armed, financed and un leashed by imperialism for
heinous acts similar in nature to those, which they have allegedly
perpetrated now, under the very same cover viz religious extremism
which has allegedly been used in the inhuman tragedy of 11th
Universal contradiction, motion and change, unity and
struggle of opposites, growth and transformation, passing away,
replacement and renewal are some of the laws of the development of
this our wonderful universe of systems in which, according to the
science of universe, nothing is unconditional, permanent,
unchangeable or absolute as every thing and phenomenon is
changeable and in permanent flux.
Allama Iqbal has referred to this phenomena in many of
his immortal couplets:-
Spirit of the west is commercial,
That of the East is hermetic,
There every second is different and new,
Here Time stands still.
DK 2K 2K OK 2K 2K OK 2K 2K OK OK 2K OK OK 2K 2K OK 2K 2K OK OK 2K OK 2K 2K OK OK KOK OK 2K OK OK
Don't measure it with the measures
Of today and tomorrow,
Life is eternal, constantly moving,
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The stars are old, the heavens outworn,
A growing world in its early youth,
Is what I want.
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Never at all impossible that a way farer,
May at some point tell his guide,
" Please leave me alone!"
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Humanity has grievously suffered at the hands of dogmatic
interpretations of the belief systems leading to intra-religious and
inter-religious wars throughout world history, which caused the
maimings and killings of billions of innocent human beings and ruined
entire countries and civilizations.
Defying the dead dogma, enlightened and wise leaders of the
muslim world, through out history, like Salahuddin the great, Akbar
the great, Sir Syed Anmed Khan, Mustafa Kamal Pasha, Mohammad Ali
Jinnah, , Jamal Abdul Nasser, Abdul Rahim Sukarno and others,
instead of treating life as at permanent stand-still, like dead-wood and
always keeping their eyes fixed on the past only, while keeping in view
all great and good things of the past which continue to be viable in
subsequent times and historical environments, fully took into account
the changes wrought by changing times and realities and adopted
brilliant strategies, flexible tactics and wise policies which ensured
success in facing the challenges confronting muslim societies in their
times and situations.
What the muslim world needs to day is a for ward-looking
strategy and_ tactics based upon the awakening of the muslim
masses throughout the world and their unity and struggle based upon
objective world, regional and local realities and the spirit and vision of
the modern era and march forward, shoulder to shoulder with the
rest of the deprived, oppressed and subjugated humanity in general
and the muslim world and the third world in particular, for a world
built on the foundations of genuine democracy, social justice, equality,
freedom of conscience, national sovereignty, and equality among
nations based on mutual co-operation and benefit.
Dogmatic views of world history and of the available and feasible
paths of national and social progress and development are bound to
lead the muslim world into historical blind alleys and may even prove
to be suicidal. Dogmatism, fundamentalism, revivalism and _ social
reaction are not and have never been the monopoly of the followers of
any one particular faith only. At this very point of time, along with
muslim fundamentalism etc, we have Zionist and Hindu
fundamentalism etc rampant in Israel and India.
Ruling classes, cliques, states and empires have always used
one or the other form of religions extremism as a weapon against the
masses to divide, weaken manipulate and subjugate them and to
misguide them and send them on a wild goose chase.
In recent centuries, European colonizers did so in their colonies
World imperialism and its stooges, who are foisted upon the
third world countries as their rulers, including the stooge-tyrants set-
up to control the muslim world, are, a vast global-mafia who have
enslaved the destinies of billions of starving and suffering human
Religious fundamentalism and revivalism in various forms, are
engendered and lavishly financed by imperialists to day in Israel,
India, Saudi Arabia and else where for their global power-politics.
Their new-found antipathy towards religious extremism and terrorism
etc is selective, selfish and totally hypocritical.
Imperialists have historically been interfering with, invading,
misusing and manipulating Afghanistan and committing un-pardonable
crimes against the people of Afghanistan since centuries.
Through their highly rewarded clerical and other Afghan and
Pakistani agents, imperialism has caused to be committed serious
terrorist crimes against both countries and virtually ruined them.
Floods of refugees, Heroin and Kalashinkov culture, sectarian blood-
baths are but a few evils imposed upon us in Pakistan.
People of Pakistan and Afghanistan are suffering and will
continue to suffer for a long time because of what has been done to
them yesterday and what is being done to them to-day.
The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan can not be justly
punished for the miscarriage of adventurous games that imperialism
and its Afghan and Pakistani stooges have been playing with the
destinies of the people of the two countries.
Historically, ultra religious and other-wordly thinking has gripped
the minds of poor, helpless and back- ward masses when they have
found themselves in a blind alley in a dark historical epoch without any
hope of redemption in this world.
This happened in ancient times at the time of the decline and
anarchy in the Roman Empire when poor people became prepared to
be thrown before hungry lions in the hope of some future in the next
world. To-day, with the collapse of the Soviet Union which counter-
balanced and kept in check, western imperialist domineering
tendencies and adventures and the emergence of a Western, Christian,
Sole SuperWorld-Empire and with many of the leaders of the third
world including those of the muslim world, at the beck and call of the
new Super-Masters, there seems to be, apparently, no hope of
redemption for the wretched billions of the earth in the majority of the
continents of the earth.
The monarchs, etc and ‘liberal democratic’ rulers of muslim
countries are generally regarded by muslim masses as corrupt and
characterless imperialist stooge- autocrats, unwilling and unable to
stand up and fight for the rights of their peoples and countries. Hence
the frustration of the muslim masses and hence the attraction of
religious extremism, revivalism and fundamentalism.
Those of the muslim world leaders who, rightly or wrongly, were
perceived as enlightened, competent and able and willing to stand up
before foreign pressure, e.g Nasser, Soekarno, Bhutto etc were
frustrated, over- thrown or got murdered through henchmen and
replaced by worthless nincompoop toadies. Consequently a number of
people from the muslim masses, who for centuries, have been
deliberately kept socially back ward, confounded and heavily doped by
imperialism with impractical "airy nothings" through its "liberal"
stooges on the one hand and _ with fanatical revivalist day-dreams, on
the other, through clerics ,many of them enlisted, intoxicated and
bamboozled by it for its global political games and nefarious schemes
and intrigues, regard some fundamentalist leaders as Super-Heroes
who have stood-up for their faith and people, as the Heroes of the
We in Pakistan could not have been used as such helpless and
obedient tools, if we had not been plundered, ravaged, bankrupted
and turned into starving beggars by our own rapacious, corrupt and
mercenary dominating classes and foreign-appointed ruling cliques,
dancing to alien tunes.
Had those been men of the required intellectual and _ political
grade, with some basic honesty, competence and character, they
would never have allowed themselves to forget, in their exuberance at
suddenly finding themselves in possession of a brand new country,
that it was not only the existence of the cultural-historical yearnings
and socio-political aspirations of muslim India, for what they regarded
as their proper share in the power structure of India and not only the
existence of what they complained to be the super-ego, over-
confidence and rigidity of the stand of the majority community,
that led to the success of Pakistan movement but also the enlightened
liberal democratic interpretation of the muslim ethos, the up-to-date
modern constitutional-political skills and flexible and rational strategy
and tactics of a totally modern muslim leader like Mr: Mohammad Ali
Jinnah which had led their efforts to fruition. Had they not betrayed his
liberal democratic patriotic ideals and enlightened socio-political line,
when he was fighting for his life after partition, had they not, while
paying lip-serves to him, deserted him and his ideology and general
political line and joined the camp of imperialism and virtually adopted
the fundamentalist ideology of its favourite revivalist clerics who, till
but a few years back, had been towing, for decades, the Akhand
Bharat line of the great Mahatma Ghandhi , bitterly opposing Pakistan
movement and had earned for these services to his line, the grand-
illoquent title of "Nationalist Muslims" from him, things would have
been quite different in Pakistan to-day.
Had they not,further, served their personal interests and those
of their foreign masters at the cost of their own country and its
deprived and oppressed people, had they not been busy, recklessly
pushing their country backwards, year after year, decade
after decade, through selfish criminal ventures like imposition of one-
unit and one Martial law after another, East Pakistan, Baluchistan and
Sindh (1983) massacres, the fiascos of 1965 and 1971 wars, enlisting,
arming and unleashing ethnic and sectarian terrorist gangs against
their own helpless citizens in Sindh, and elsewhere in the
country, bankrupting the country through drowning it in a deep sea of
indebtedness and insolvency, by incurring huge debts ostensibly taken
for national development but known by the whole world, including the
creditors themselves, to be destined mainly for the pockets of the
members of the ruling cliques for the time being in power and through
open loot and plunder of the banks etc, the condition of the country
would not have been as desperate as it has become to-day. We as an
atomic power, would not have become a laughing stock of the world
because of the way that we have collapsed under threats and have
virtually surrendered our sovereignty for petty installments of paltry
sums of blood-money being announced from time to time in the
papers, not only to our shame but to the shame of the people of the
third and muslim worlds.
After Afghanistan, Sindh is the worst sufferer of the
machinations of imperialists and their Afghan and Pakistani stooges
regarding Afghanistan. Sindh has been flooded with Heroin,
Kalashinkov, lakhs of hungry, quarrelsome and aggressive Afghan
refugees and groups of armed terrorists claiming to be armed with
direct mandates from heaven. We are in immediate and present
danger of being over-flooded and swept away as the masters of our
historical home- land Sindh.
The justice loving people of Pakistan are not alone in demanding
that the bombing over Afghanistan be stopped forth- with, foreign
forces be recalled and the matter be resolved through civilized
processes. Even the fascists and Nazis who caused the horrible deaths
of crores of innocent people and the devastation of the whole
Europeon continent, were given a proper and regular trial before an
International Tribunal at Nuremburg , whose proceedings continued for
years. Nobody should be allowed to be the complainant, the
prosecutor and the Judge at the same time. This will tell the world at
large, that doors to a fair hearing are closed where the sole Super-
Power is concerned. The results of such a conduct can be well
It may not be out of place to add, that a number of fair minded
leaders of public opinion in the west (and thank God there are quite a
few of them, to the credit of the modern western civilization, in all
walks of life.) are supporting these just demands and calling for the
establishment of a new just world order which should ensure a fair
and just deal for all the deprived and oppresses masses of the entire
globe including those of Afghanistan, Palestine Kashmir And Iraq.
Among the steps that need to be taken immediately are the
(a) Bombing of Afghanistan should be stopped forth with.
(b) An independent inquiry tribunal consisting of universally respected
world jurists should be established to identify suspects involved in the
(c)The entire International Community should join hands in the
interests of world stability and progress to apprehend the above
suspects and produce them for trial by the International Criminal Trial
Court consisting of international judges including muslim judges of
universally known and acknowledged judicial capacity, integrity and
(d)The judgment after the completion of the entire required judicial
process should be implemented as a question of the honor and
integrity of the World Community as a whole.
(e) A Commission Of Inquiry under some world respected statesman
like Nelson Mandela be appointed under UN auspices to define
terrorism, find its causes, identify the forces responsible for breeding,
promoting and indulging in terrorism in the past and the present and
to suggest ways and means of uprooting terrorism and punishing the
culprit individuals, groups and states thus found to have been involved
directly or indirectly in terrorism.
(f) The people of Afghanistan should be properly compensated for the
havoc played with their society and economy by foreign inspired wars
and they should be helped to create a viable economy with
(g) Afghan people be helped by International Community to construct
for themselves a genuinely independent, enlightened, democratic,
patriotic, forward-looking, broad-based Afghan government capable of
leading them to a new bright future free of foreign intervention and
(h) An International force consisting of contingents from countries like
South Africa, Finland, Switzerland, Bangla Desh, Malaysia and
Tanzania etc be deployed to help maintain peace in Afghanistan during
the interim period.
BIGGEST PROBLEM IS STRUCTURAL:
(Rasool Bux Paleejo’s Interview)
Awami Tehrik leader Rasool Bakhsh Palijo believes that the biggest
problem facing Pakistan is “structural”, since the country does not
have even the “pretence of a federation” any longer.
In a Dawn Dialogue interview in Karachi, Mr Palijo blamed the ruling
class of Punjab for trying to dominate the smaller provinces, but at the
same time he said his party’s first struggle was against the feudal
lords of Sindh.
If “Sindhu Desh is created, the feudal lords will kill us. Our first
struggle is against autocracy,” he said.
Asked to specify steps that he would like to be taken for the country’s
progress, he said talk about the Thal Canal project and the Kalabagh
Dam should stop, and added: “Stop devaluing politics. Stop being
cynical about the judiciary.” Mr Palijo also warned against involving
criminals in politics, and involving the army in corruption.
He said the liberal and progressive path of genuine national
independence and civilian democratic rule charted out by the Quaid-i-
Azam was “the only path of salvation for this country”. Mr Palijo said
the issues currently being negotiated between the opposition and the
government were important ones, but stressed that the “petty
compromises” sought would not change the basic autocratic and anti-
people structure of the “neo-colonial, virtually non-federal, unitary,
oppressive and military state that Jinnah’s Pakistan now stands
tragically transformed into”.
The following is the edited text of the Dawn Dialogue interview with
Awami Tehrik chief Rasool Bakhsh Palijo:
QUESTION: To begin with, perhaps you could identify what you
consider to be the biggest problem facing Pakistan today.
ANSWER: The biggest problem is structural. This is a neo-colonial
country in which its rulers have been nominated by outsiders. This is
the case with every Third World country, though their rulers claim to
be representatives of their people. But that is not true. In 1971, the
federation envisioned in the 1940 Resolution ended. That resolution
seeking independent states was adopted because the supremacy of
one province was not considered acceptable. Domination of Sindh by
Punjab since Ranjit Singhs time was a known fact, but no one was
prepared to be part of greater Punjab. That is why the phrase
‘independent states was used in the 1940 Resolution at the insistence
of Bengal and Sindh. We got rid of Bengal in 1971 by blaming them for
all sorts of things. Now this is a one unit, a foreign-inspired one unit.
In fact, it is a foreign colony, not just in name. Now we don’t even
have the pretence of a federation.
Q: What exactly do you mean when you blame Punjab because most
of the people of Punjab have nothing to do with this problem of
A: I am glad you raised the point, and you are right that the people
have nothing to do with this. I am not a traditional nationalist. Iam a
proletarian internationalist. I now support the cause of the people of
Sindh. Earlier, I had supported the people of Bengal. And when during
the days of the great Sindhi leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, military action
was taken in Balochistan, I was an advocate of the rebels for which I
was sent to jail. By Punjab, I mean its ruling class. Punjabi people,
American people and European people are also our brothers. The way
Europe is fighting for the Muslim cause, none of us is doing so. In the
same way, we have differences with the Indian rulers, but we have
nothing against the people of India.
Q: How do you look at the Jeay Sindh Movement?
A: First of all, this country has to be sovereign. There should be a
federation of equals. There should be a proper constitution. The
Senate should be the dominant house. There should be democracy.
There should be no extremism. Pakistan should be sovereign,
independent and progressive. Pakistan has never been independent for
a day. We want an independent Pakistan.
Q: These problems have been repeatedly identified. One factor may be
the domination of Punjab because of its size. But what do you propose
to do to solve these problems?
A: The modus operandi of imperialistic forces has been this for the
past many years have democracy and fairplay in your own country on
the condition that the rest of the world is your playground. There
should be light in your country provided that there is darkness in the
rest of the world. They want undemocratic regimes all over the world
so that they can be manipulated. This is criminalized state politics.
They will keep people in power in Third World countries as long as they
continue to commit the crimes they want them to commit.
It is not that Punjab’s size is the problem. Their ruling classes have
been given the license on behalf of imperial powers. They have
committed crimes with the aid of the military. I know that the
international climate is such that they have to allow freedom to the
press. There must be amendments to the Constitution. There should
be a real federation. The criminalization of (politics and government)
has to be understood and resisted by all the people.
When Mr Bhutto was in power, we did our duty to stand up and be
counted and be hunted. People used to say that they did not regard
me as a Sindhi. I used to say that I was thankful to them. They used
to say that I was working as a lawyer to traitors.
Many crimes have been committed over the issue of water. I also want
to write the criminal history of the political processes of Pakistan. I
have always said that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was killed. They left Mr
Jinnah unattended on the road. He was very fragile. I had seen him. I
am a criminal lawyer. You do not need great methodology to kill a
man. If you leave a child in the cold, he will die. Now it is being said
that Fatima Jinnah was also murdered.
This administration is committing more injustices than _ its
predecessors; especially its focus is on Sindh. When growers in Sindh
grow sugarcane, they import sugar to keep prices down. The
systematic manner in which this administration is seeking to destroy
Sindh as an entity, the way it is pauperizing the population (is
regrettable). Servicemen are posted everywhere in Sindh. The way
these people are using the army the army decides who would be a
union council nazim. They are running the whole administration.
Even the British officers would not speak with the arrogance with
which the army generals speak. They do so because they have the
backing of the US. They urge the people of Punjab to use the kind of
language against Sindh they have not used in the past 50 years.
Nobody talked like that.
Q: How do you look at nationalist politics when you say that you are
not a nationalist but a proletarian internationalist?
A: I am not a nationalist in the strict sense of the word. I am not like
that. I do not accept that nationalism. If the definition of nationalism is
my-nation-right-or-wrong, I do not believe in that. I do not say that
the Sindhis are better than any other nation. I do not want to conquer
Actually, I would not like to use the word nationalist at all. We support
Namibia. We supported Vietnam. We support the Palestinians.
Q: When voices were raised for the Vietnamese people, we saw more
crowds and more rage large crowds talking about the rights of the
Vietnamese people. Why is the proletarian movement in Pakistan no
longer so potent?
A: There are so many Muslim countries, yet the Muslims are being
destroyed. The imperial forces have set up a bogus democratic
movement. People have been compartmentalized. Democrats.
Nationalists. Islamists. They are all bogus. They are appointed by
them. It is important to see whether the so-called Islamists are really
Islamists or not. Similarly, whether the so- called democrats are really
democrats or not. Are we real nationalists?
Q: What is your stand on the Legal Framework Order and the
controversy on the uniform of the president?
A: The LFO is against the letter and spirit of the 1973 Constitution.
With the utmost respect, I do not consider the decision of the worthy
Supreme Court of Pakistan giving General Musharraf the power to
amend the Constitution as laying down the correct law. What the
Muslims of the subcontinent struggled for was not a state ruled by
generals through mafia-like agencies and their machine-made and
mass-produced, power-hungry, corrupt to the core and petty-minded
puppet politicians. The Quaid-i-Azam did not want the military to have
anything to do with the governance of Pakistan. Unfortunately, he was
gravely ill at the time of partition and was surrounded by the civil and
military bureaucracy and their puppet politicians, dancing to foreign
tunes, who took over the country lock,stock and barrel even during the
life of the Quaid. Successive coteries of foreign oriented generals have
been riding roughshod, directly or indirectly, over this unfortunate land
for decades. They drove out East Bengal, thus dealing the death blow
to the federal foundation of Jinnah’s Pakistan, making it virtually a
one-unit, dominated by one province and the generals. So we find
Punjab’s military general acting as a governor-general over Sindh and
giving orders to the nominal provincial authorities. Pakistan has been
transformed into a Prussian type military state in all but name.
In fact, as I tried to point out earlier, the majority of Third World
countries like Pakistan, which were the directly ruled colonies of the
western powers, became upon getting independence, indirectly ruled
neo-colonies of these powers. Whereas previously western parliaments
appointed the rulers of colonies and accepted responsibility for their
good and bad deeds, the new colonial masters who rule by remote-
control now do not accept any such responsibility. So the hand-picked
rulers foisted upon such countries-who are shown to have come to the
top through bogus electoral processes, coups or other intrigues,
rendered reckless by the knowledge that so long as they keep dancing
to the tunes of the masters, they need fear nobody else- feel
themselves absolutely free to play havoc with the lives, the rights,
resources, liberties and destinies of their semi-enslaved, illiterate and
Many of the politicians we find around ourselves are commonly
believed to be the creatures of the generals and their agencies. And as
long as the worthy generals and their political creatures are riding on
the backs of the oppressed people of Pakistan, with the blessing and
backing of foreign powers, Pakistan’s status as a semi-slave military
state, its backwardness, abysmal poverty and helplessness cannot be
changed. The liberal and progressive path of genuine national
independence and civilian democratic rule charted out for this country
by Mohammad Ali Jinnah is the only path of salvation for this country.
The petty compromises sought in the current negotiations cannot
change the basic autocratic and anti-people structure of the neo-
colonial, virtually non-federal, unitary military state that Jinnah’s
Pakistan now stands tragically transformed into.
As for the controversy about the uniform, that is a superficial matter
and avoids the fundamental question about the future of the people
and the state of Pakistan.
That question is this. Have the crores of the people of Pakistan been
given birth to by their mothers to pass their whole lives under the
sword of Damocles of a now familiar phenomenon?
A general suddenly stages a coup, grabs power, invokes the historic
justification of all usurpers, viz, the law of necessity, gets his
usurpation condoned by the judiciary, throws away the Constitution of
the country, imposes his own self- serving interim constitution, stages
the now familiar drama of a totally bogus referendum and thus makes
himself an elected president followed by elections tailored to his needs,
gets desired results and then begins the haggling about petty
How long is this vicious circle going to continue? Will it ever end?
Q: Do you think, then, that the issues over which the government, the
ARD and the MMA have been fighting are non-issues?
A: No, they are very important issues. But our problem is that we are
a colony and the colony is being ruled through the army. And the army
is creating the politics (we see).
Q: How do you build up public pressure for your position when the
political parties remain so disorganized? Even your political party is not
organized. Political parties have no roots among the masses.
A: There must be and there are a number of individuals and groups
who do not like to keep trudging along the beaten path of traditional
petty power politics. If they think over the matter properly they will
come to the conclusion that sham democracy and pro-status-quo
politics can never improve the situation fundamentally. Only a
persistent, courageous, peaceful democratic struggle will create the
conditions for basic and lasting changes.
The Awami Tehrik has been working in this direction for the last three
decades. It has been in the forefront of every pro- people democratic
struggle in this country in general and the province of Sindh in
At present we are waging a struggle along with seven other parties
against the Greater Thal Canal Project. We invited all political parties
including those in the government, the Muslim League-Q and the
MQM, to join the struggle. Some friends including Aftab Shaikh of the
MQM appeared to be surprised at my invitation.
We are in contact with a number of friends throughout the country. I
had recently had discussions with Mr Abid Hasan Minto and several
other friends. We hope that the common struggle for real democratic
change will win many new adherents in the coming months and years.
A great and mighty global wave of mass movements for peoples’
rights, liberties and rule is on the order of the day. The conscious and
justice loving, democratic-minded people of Pakistan cannot afford to
lag far behind the rest of the re-awakening and rising world.
Q: Do you think the 1973 Constitution is still relevant and valid?
A: After 1971 Pakistan has actually lost its federal character as a
single province now dominates the parliament and the senate has no
real power. In practice, the so- called federal government of Pakistan
is but another name of the establishment of the biggest province. The
three small provinces are virtually being treated as the undeclared
divisions of the dominating province and their resources are being
mercilessly plundered. Section 6 of the Constitution which punishes
those who overthrow the Constitution has become a dead letter. The
Constitution therefore needs to be appropriately amended.
Q: Politicians do not talk about ending Karo-kari, marriage with the
Quran, etc. They do not talk about spreading education. All they want
to do is grab power.
A: I agree with you. The Awami Tehrik and the Sindhiani Tehrik are
waging a struggle against this licensed brutal slaughter of helpless
women. But we lack resources. If some NGOs who are sincerely
interested in this cause come forward to work with us, I think we will
get better results.
Q: Now you are mobilizing people on the water issue. Will you be
talking to Punjab?
A: Absolutely. We will talk to them very soon. We will even go to the
Frontier and Balochistan. I prefer to go to the villages. In the villages
of Punjab, more people recognize us.
Q: In order to mobilize the people, we need a party and a leadership.
Will you ally yourself with the existing parties or will you form a new
A: When we invited the MQM to cooperate with us, they were
surprised. But there is no permanent hostility in politics. Do you know
that I have been in touch with Gen Musharraf? I like the man because
at least he is a polite man. He talks to people and listens to them. The
things that I have said here, I told him the same things. Can you
We will take this struggle forward. You will soon find a new awakening
in Pakistan. Our first struggle is basically against the feudal lords of
Sindh. Why am I against ‘Sindhu Desh’? Because I fear that if Sindhu
Desh is created, these feudal lords will kill us. Our first struggle is
Q: What three or four steps do you specifically want the people of
Pakistan to take to tide over the present problems?
A: Stop the Thal canal. Stop talking about the Kalabagh Dam. Stop
squeezing Sindhis and stop obliterating them from the face of the
earth. Stop devaluing politics. Stop being cynical. Stop being cynical
with regard to the judiciary. Do not over-use the military. Stop the
militarization of Pakistan. Stop plundering the economic resources of
the people. Do not involve the army in corruption. Do not involve
criminals in politics.
Q: How do you see the normalization process between Pakistan and
India? Will it lead to any fundamental changes in domestic politics?
A: I should hope so. But all things do not happen the way we want
them to. Most things depend upon factors which are not completely
under your control. I do not agree with the traditional interpretation of
Indian history. There was only one Indian nationalist, and that was
Mohammad Ali Jinnah. They had him killed. India has never played the
role of an elder brother. They have always acted like a ‘baniya’. Their
hatred against the Muslims has not disappeared. Having said that, I
agree with you that normalization of relations between India and
Pakistan would have a great impact.
Q: How will it have an impact on domestic politics?
A: They will not be able to incite people when they have talks with
Indian politicians in Delhi and Lucknow. We have the same language
and culture. How can you hate them in a mad and brutal manner? This
will bring about tolerance in politics.
— The Dawn Dialogue panel included Sabihuddin Ghausi, Lateef
Baloch, Bahzad Alam Khan and Shamim-ur-Rahman.
LETTER to, General Parwez Musharaf
Sir, I venture to invite your attention to the fact that among the
many factors contributing to the creation of a serious perception
among the minds of thinking Sindhi-speaking people of Sindh, that,
they are being, step by step, marginalized red-indianized and virtually
eliminated as the historic matters of their five thousand-year old
homeland and all its resources in accordance with a sinister and
diabolic, comprehensive plan, set a-foot from day one of the
establishment of Pakistan, is the factor of the stage-by-stage
marginalization of Sindhi-speaking lawyers and judges in the judiciary
at the provincial and national level.
That the Judicial system of the country is far from ideal, can
be judged from the books and interviews published and seminars held
on the subject. The latest public perceptions about it are embodied in
the press reports of two recent events. A meeting of the Public
Account Committee was held on 28-04-2005 and was addressed by
Federal Law Secretary Justice R. Mansoor Ahmed, MNA Col. R. Ghulam
Rasool Sahi, PML-N leader Choudhri Nisar Ahmed and Parliamentary
Secretary Defence Tanveer Ahmed. The very next day a seminar was
held on 29-04-2005 at Islamabad entitled "Role of Judiciary Streaming
Democratic Institutions" which was addressed by Mr. Wasim Sajjad,
HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir, HRCP Secretary-General Iqbal
Haider, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Mian Raza Rabani,
former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Hamid Khan, and
president Lahore High Court Bar Association Justice(retired) Fakharun
Nisa Khokhar and others.
On the above occasions, the high-ranking speakers gave a
vent to their perceptions of our judicial system which, considering the
fact that they represented a very wide spectrum of political and legal
opinion, can be ignored only at our national peril.
The above views however do not cover the entire spectrum
of public views on the subject. There is more to it that was not
touched at the above two events. No one at any of the above events
mentioned the ethnic bias of the system as applied to Sindh.
Sindhi- Speaking people constitute even after the over half a century
long pressure of population from out side, more than sixty eight (68)
percent majority of the population of the province. Thanks to what is
perceived by many as a planned marginalization of the sindhi speaking
majority in judiciary, only 6 out of 19 sitting judges of the sindh high
court are sindhi speaking . A similar state of affairs would be found to
be prevalent with regard to the sub-ordinate judiciary also.
One very simple but most effective device for marginalization of the
sindhi-speaking majority in the judiciary is said to be in vogue, is to
elevate aged sindhi-speaking lawyers and judges with only a few year
remaining eligibility for service.
On the other hand the other gentlemen are elevated at a very young
age enabling them to become Chief Justice of Sindh and Supreme
Court of Pakistan in due course of time, if possible. The result is that
there has been no sindhi-speaking Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
for quite a number of years nor is there any such prospect for a long
time to come.
To add insult to injury, some beneficiaries of the unjust system are
hawking the absurd and ridiculous theory that Sindhi-speaking people-
the people who gave the world extraordinary people, like Shah Latif,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Shams-ul-Ulma Mirza Qaleech Baig, Allama I I
Qazi, Dr. Hotchand Molchand Gurbuxani, Shams-ul-Ulma Dr. Umar Bin
Daoodpoto, Molana Ubedullah Sindhi, Shaheed Peer Subghatullah
Pagara, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Ghulam Muhammad Bhrgri, Hidar
Bux Jattoi, A.K Brohi, Shaikh Ayaz, Air Marshal Wagar Azeem
Daoodpoto, Justice Mohd Bux, Justices Velani, Justice Bachal Memon,
Justice Durab Patel, Justice Fakhr-u-Din G Ibrahim, Lalchand Amardino
Mal Jagtiani, Najumudin Shaikh, Iqbal Akhund, Makhdoom
Muhammad Zaman Talibul Mola, Justice Abdul Qadir Shaikh, Justice
Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Muktar
Junejo, Dewan Deeal Mal, Peer Husam-Din Rashdi, Shaikh Abdul
Majeed Sindhi, Muhammad Usman Deeplai Engineer Abdul Rasool
Memon, Dr Nabi Bux Baloch, Ustad Bukhari, etc lack merit .
Some elevations at the Superior Courts level are over -due. But
it is apprehended that the above mentioned imbalance may be
perpetuated rather than redressed through new appointments over the
We the people here in Sindhi believe that such a problem requires to
be addressed honestly, courageously, seriously and expeditiously so
that the wrongs are redressed and Justice is done to all concerned, not
the least to the federation and all its peoples.
Rasool Bux Paleejo
President Awami Tahreek.
ceili ~ cnG yt cnolge cSAinw
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