Reports Presented at Unity For Justice Conference Held on July 16, 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan
On July 16, 2016, the Sindhi Foundation of USA convened with various Sindhi groups at a local hotel in Karachi, Pakistan. Titled “Unity for Justice,” this conference sought to promote discussion on issues such as religious extremism and exploitation of Sindhi resources. Presided by Dr. Maqbool Halepota, Unity for Justice included Chief Guest Syed Jalal Shah, President of the Sindh United Party.
Outlined below, are the points of discussion, the conference attendees, and a brief description of the event details.
Religious extremism in Sindh
Exploitation of Sindh’s natural resources
Demographic challenges of Sindh
Abrar Kazi (President of the Awami Jamhoori Party)
Ilahi Bux Bakak (Member of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz)
Mir Alam Mari (Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz)
Sufi Hazoor Bux (Senior Vice Chairman of Jeay Sindh Mahaz)
Maulana Azizullah Bohio (Convener of the Sindh Sagar Party)
Aijaz Sametio (President of the Sindh Nationalist Movement)
Mazhar Rahujo (Member of Qaumi Awami Tahreek)
Nawaz Khan Zaor (Member of the Jeay Sindh Liberal Front)
Qamar Bhatti (Chairman of the Jeay Sindh Qaum Parast Party)
Syed Ghulam Shah (Member of the Awami Jamhoori Party)
Ali Nawaz Butt
After detailed discussions on the above topics, all party leaders came to the consensus that historically, Sindh has been a peace loving, religious tolerant, independent nation. However, due to the irrational “Two Nation” theory and the current patronage underlying the inception of Pakistan, religious extremism has been encouraged throughout the country. Due to this onslaught of injustice, Sindh and its people are consistently affected.
Using weaknesses in the educational system and poverty as weapons, extremists are recruiting young children throughout Sindh into a network of madrassas under the false title of religious education. To further their hold on these children, extremists provide free food, boarding and clothing. Even more troubling, is the fact that some madrassas are provided financial and legal assistance by specific government agencies in Pakistan.
At the conference, the attendees unanimously demanded that all madrassas, saturated with radical ideology and supported by government agencies, be shut down immediately due to their dangerous existence for Sindhi religious tolerance.
Exploitation of Sindhi Resources
The province of Sindh is blessed with seaports and extensive oil, gas, and coal reserves, but lacks ownership of these natural resources. For this reason, Sindh only receives a fraction of the profits from these resources and their use. Most of the proceeds are being usurped by Punjab under the pretext of the federation. On top of this, the wealth Sindh does receive is wasted by its incompetent and dishonest rulers.
It was unanimously demanded at the conference that Sindh should be given full ownership of all its natural resources. In addition, the ruling political parties of Sindh and at the federal level, as well as the incompetent elements in the civil, military bureaucracy should be held accountable for the current injustices.
Demographic Challenges in Sindh
Within Sindh, there have been organized conspiracies to convert Sindhis into a minority. A notable example is Karachi, where the Sindhi population is decreasing rapidly. It was agreed that these conspiracies should end immediately. Along with this, non-Sindhis living in Sindh should not maintain the right to vote or own property. All foreigners living in Sindh, including Qabailies, Afghans, Mohajirs, Bengalis, Burmese, Biharis etc. should be repatriated to their respective lands.
Extra-judicial Killings and Forced Disappearances
At Unity for Justice, all parties unanimously declared that extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances of political workers by government agencies are gross violations of basic human rights and need to be stopped immediately.
During the conclusion of the conference, Dr. Maqbool Halepota, President of the Sindhi Foundation thanked the various groups for their attendance. In addition, he vowed that the Sindhi Foundation would continue to convey these burning issues to policy makers in Washington, DC. His closed with the hope that the Sindhi Foundation would serve as a bridge between Sindhis living in Sindh and policy makers in the US, so that Sindh can be protected from these current dangers.
Dr. Maqbool Halepota
Sindhi Foundation, Washinton, DC, USA