An Interview with
Bashir Khan Qureshi
Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM)
By: Gul Hassan Bughio / Aamir Sial
Sindh Today: How do you see the settlement of illegal outsiders in Sindh and what are its repercussions on local people?
BKQ: The illegal outsiders have deliberately been allowed to settle in Sindh under a pre-planned conspiracy to turn Sindhis into minority in order to facilitate exploitation of Sindhis. We (Jeay Sindh Quami Mahaz) are ready to accept such outsiders who were settled here up to the year 1954 only. As such who came later on, they are not acceptable to us and they have to vacate our soil one day. In addition to the outsiders, people of NWFP and Punjab have been deliberately allowed to settle here in large groups with a purpose to occupy the jobs opportunities of Sindh. Therefore, locals have been made victim of unemployment.
The unemployment and backwardness both have compelled people of Sindh to live their lives below the internationally recognized line of poverty. Also responsible for such situation is influx of people of other areas (provinces) and foreigners in Sindh because Sindh has been turned by Pakistan, in other words, Punjabis into 'International Orphanage'. No other country in the world allows illegal immigrants to settle in their own country but this is perhaps the only "Country of Punjabis" (Pakistan) in which there are no restrictions on illegal persons to settle here particularly in Sindh. Thus a bad impression is being created against Sindhis on international level that they (Sindhis) are fundamentalists with the purpose to damage our image & also culture and civilization of Sindhis. In fact it is incorrect to say that Sindhis are fundamentalists.
We want to clarify to the world that Sindhis believe in the messages and thinkings of Shah Lateef, Sachal and Saami of Sindh. To create their bad name (of Sindhis), organizations like MMA (Majlis-e-Amal) has been given free hand in Karachi and thus extremists of the world have joined their hands which is set back to the 'Sufism'. For the reasons mentioned here, the settlement of illegal persons be checked in Sindh forthwith otherwise it would have serious consequences.
Sindh Today: Pakistan Government has requested 'International donors' for 33 billion dollars for the construction of proposed six dams. What are your comments?
BKQ: I appeal to the 'International Donors' through "Sindh Today" and also at my own that on one hand, you want to invest millions of dollars for the abolition of pollution through out the world but on the other hand you offer to donate big amount to Pakistan alias Punjab to construct large dams with purpose to store water of 'Sindh country' which would finally destroy not only water reservoirs but also forests of Sindh. We want to clarify to concerned world organizations that high-level injustices are being made to the small nations constituting Pakistan particularly Sindh. For example, in Punjab, Chashma - Jehlum Link Flood Canal was constructed in the year 1970 with the clear understanding that water in the Canal would only be released during the flood season but later water released for the whole of the year.
Thal canal is now being constructed in Punjab, under the umbrella of "Punjabi Army" forcibly. British Rulers had already rejected the construction of the Canal when proposal of Punjab was presented to them. The British Rulers by upholding the objections of Sindh rejected the whole proposal. Now Punjab is forcibly implementing the project, which was already rejected by the British authorities 100 years back.
Nevertheless, the Federation alias Punjab has refused to honour the unanimously passed Sindh Assembly's resolution to stop the construction of controversial Thal Canal. The completion of the project would bring additional 20 lakhs of acres land of retired as well as serving army personnel to cultivation but it would also ruin further 40 lakhs of cultivated agriculture land in Sindh as release of water from Indus delta to sea, to check its intrusion, is already nominal.
Non-release of water through Indus into sea resulted in ruination of mangrove forests on one hand and cultivated agriculture land and thousands of human settlements near coastal areas on the other. Due to high tides, people in large number were uprooted. If this situation prevails, Sindh one day would be turned into desert. We would be compelled to think that such "International organizations” are joining hands with Punjabis for the genocide of Sindhis. We, therefore, appeal to the "International organizations” including experts on environment to send their study teams here. They should personally visit Sindh for survey and prepare an impartial study report and help get complete emancipation from the oppressor Punjabi nation.
Sindh Today: What are your comments on NFC Award?
BKQ: Nowhere in the world, natural resources are being distributed on the basis of population but in Pakistan, these are being distributed forcibly on the population basis. This, we have never accept earlier nor we intend to do so in future. Sindh is contributing 70 per cent towards national pool of Pakistan. However, Sindh is being punished for nothing. We want the distribution of national resources be made on the basis of revenue generation but Punjab on the basis of highhandedness and power has been getting distribution on population-basis.
You will be amazed to note that nowhere in the world, it is done that if goods are landed at the sea port then the taxes/tariffs are collected on the unnatural man-made Dry Port. Such dry ports exist nowhere in the world except in Punjab (Pakistan). The Dry Ports are collecting the taxes despite it is right of Sindh to collect all related taxes/tariffs but it is being denied.
Meanwhile, dacoits have deliberately been harboured here with a view to paying the salaries and other remuneration to Rangers and other Forces from Sindh treasury in order to maximize the loot of Sindh. Now they have not left any Department/Organization in Sindh where there is no Intermediate pass retired or serving Colonels/Generals is not working. Thus thousands of army personnel have been imposed. As such, they are plundering the resources of Sindh with both hands.
They are tax-exempted. Now half of the Units (industries) are in the hands of those persons (owners) who have earned "Black Money" and the rest would also be handed over to their own favorites (Gumaashtas) very soon where the job opportunities for Sindhis are being denied. Now the Sindhis are in deep crisis. Although lakhs of Sindhis are wandering here and there by holding educational degrees in their hands for search of jobs but preference is being given to the "Punjabis of Punjab" which is clear injustices to Sindhis. Subsequently, Sindhis are passing through the critical era and we denounce the situation.
Sindh Today: What extent Sindh is being benefited from the oil discovered in Sindh?
BKQ: Sindh is not getting any benefit from the oil discovery. On the contrary Sindh is suffering losses for the simple reasons that on the one hand the mineral resources of Sindh are being reduced but on the other hand the sons of soil are not getting any benefit or facility from it.
Let us talk about oil. The oil is discovered in Sindh but refinery is being set up in Punjab. Similarly, Gas deposits are found in Sindh and Balochistan but priority in supply of Gas is being given to Punjab and NWFP. Nevertheless, the people of Sindh and Balochistan where gas deposits are originally found are still utilizing dung and fire-woods. Every big or small towns of Punjab is being benefited from this. Different products including food-items are available on lower rates in Punjab but the items of same quality are provided in Sindh on double (higher) rates.
Similarly, Punjab is obtaining oil from Sindh and after the refining at its Oil Refinery, Multan is reselling to Sindh almost on double rates. Oil is discovered in Sindh but royalty is not being paid to Sindh. No facilities are being provided to the residents of area where oil is discovered. Instead they have been compelled to migrate without any proper compensation.
The jobs at Oil Fields are being provided to people belonging to Punjab and the local people who are Sindhis, are being refused the jobs with insulting attitude, in all fields. Oil Company, which was engaged in oil discovery activities in Khirthar area (Sindh), had shot dead a Sindhi who, among others, staging a demonstration for jobs to locals and other got injured. It was pity that no case was registered against the authorities of Oil Company because they (killers) were from Punjab. There are so many incidents happening here but 'world consciousness' is not taking note of it.
We want to point out to the international community that only Punjab is the name of Pakistan. Nevertheless, it is fact that due to Sindh, the area has become geographically important. We, therefore, clarify to the world that if you want peace and harmony in the area, help Sindh in getting sovereignty.
Sindh Today: What do you say about LFO?
BKQ: We neither recognize the present Pakistan nor 1973 Constitution. Sindh opted for Pakistan on the basis of 1940 Resolution as a state on equal basis. At that time, there were five states viz Bengal (now Bangladesh), NWFP, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. The Pakistan, which was constituted by states on equal basis, was dismembered due to highhandedness and injustices of Punjab, in the year 1970. In principle, it would have been asked to various nations of the state whether they want to remain with Pakistan or not. But this was not done and on the principle of 'Might is Right', a new constitution was made in the year 1973 which is now known as "1973 Constitution". However, the creator of the 1973 Constitution Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) who got free 90,000 army personnel of Punjabi nation, and also was the traitor of Sindhi nation, was executed by Punjabi General Ziaul Haq.
Now all the persons having consciousness may note that a nation (Punjabi) who hanged a person (ZAB) who had many obligations upon them. How can they be well-wisher to the Sindh nation? We, therefore, are not recognizing 1973 Constitution nor any other constitution in such system. You will notice that in the presence of "1973 Constitution", the Army Chief had by-passed without any hindrances the elected President & elected Prime Minister of Pakistan who was enjoying overwhelming majority in the parliament. Thus the sanctity of the constitution was shattered. In the circumstances, is there any importance of LFO? Nevertheless, the world community may judge the treatment, which is being meted out with small nations like Sindhis.
Sindh Today: Has JSQM any representation on international level or do you intend to do so?
BKQ: We will only send delegations on world level after proper consideration in view of our limited resources. Presently, JSQM Units are working in Dubai and Saudi Arabia regularly. Soon we will open our Unit in United Kingdom. World community is already aware of sufferings of Sindhis. However, those people who have been collecting funds in the name of Sindh, they have nothing to do with Sindh. Such persons are sitting abroad and making the big claims. They are minting the money and having luxurious lives there.
However, I appeal to the well wishers of Sindh to strengthen JSQM by responding to our struggle, they must inform the world community that JSQM is the only representative party of Sindh who is striving for the sovereignty of Sindh. In the light of thinking of Rahbar-e-Sindh G. M. Syed, we are marching forward step by step. Therefore, the well-wishers of Sindh living abroad, should spread message of G. M .Syed everywhere.
Sindh Today: What about USA's role in this area?
BKQ: If USA is not playing its role for the independence of the oppressed nations, it’s all endeavours in this regard would be useless. It is the only 'nationalism ideology' who can check the religious extremism (Fundamentalism) otherwise, the whole world would face religious extremism. Therefore, it will be difficult for USA to get rid of it. In this regard, we can say that in the light of messages of Shah Lateef, Sachal and Saami and in view of geographical position, Sindh can be "Gateway to Asia". Until & unless USA do not leave the Pakistan and help Sindh and Balochistan in getting sovereignty, its dream of establishing peace in the world will remained incomplete.
Sindh Today: It is reported that the lands of Sindh are being allotted to the affected persons of Islamabad in Shikarpur. Would you like to comment on this?
BKQ: We, in Jeay Sindh Quami Mahaz (JSQM) reject this and also all such allotment, which have been made to the serving as well as army personnel and other Punjabis in the past. We have very clear stand that not a single inch of Sindh's lands be allotted to the Punjab's civil bureaucrat or army personnel. We strongly condemn the conspiracy to usurp the rich lands of Sindh in the name of Islamabad's affected persons. A long period has passed to the construction of Islamabad city and the all affected persons have already settled but the Army and Civil bureaucracy of Punjab and the concerned politicians with chauvinistic approach have not changed their attitude of hatred towards Sindhis.
They seem to be anxious to erase the very existence of Sindhis. Punjabis were three times badly beaten up. However, Sindhis were not responsible for that. On the contrary, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Sindhi) got free 93,000 army personnel from the prison (of India). Today, they are proudly talking about the Pakistan that was also founded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was also Sindhi. I am unable to understand that why Punjabis are jealous to Sindhis and they have created sense of deprivation among them (Sindhis).
We demand that all Sindh lands allotted to the Punjabis be cancelled. The said lands be re-allotted to the poor persons belonging to Thar, Kohistan and other backward areas of Sindh.
It is not the end of story of oppression against Sindhis but this is perhaps the only area of the world where law is different for different people. For example; the law for Punjabis is separate and for the sons of soil i.e. Sindhis is different. In Sindh, there is Deh-System but by bringing the Punjabis into Sindh; Colony-System on the pattern of Israel has been established for the convenience of Punjabis , "Chakk System" introduced in Sanghar, Badin and Mirpur Khas as Punjabis were not conversant to Deh-System. Therefore rich lands of Sindh were allotted to them. like Jewish settlements in Israel, Punjabis are being settled in Sindh so that outsiders may be settled in Sindh rapidly besides turning Sindhis into minority. We want to tell the world, there is not one Israel but there are two Israels. Similarly, there are two Palestines. On one hand, Punjabi rulers are supporting the freedom movements but on the other hand, they are suppressing the movement of Sindh with force. We appeal to the United Nations (UN) and other world powers to help us in getting independence from the slavery of Pakistan. We Sindhi nation have the oldest civilization of the world i.e. Mohen-jo-Daro. We must get our rights otherwise it would be very difficult for the world to face the two Palestines at a time (Karachi: May, 2003).