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Pakistan: Change of flags

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A journey of nations beyond federalism

By Zulfiqar Shah-Mohammad Ali Jinnah (M. A. Jinnah), joined hands of Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi (M.K. Gandhi) in the movement for the provincial autonomy in united India during British Raj. Pakistan was realized formally as a viable idea after 1945. The idea of Pakistan, in fact, is wrongly associated with Dr. Alama Iqbal. Dr. Iqbal basically toed the concept of amalgamation of united Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa (then NWFP), and Balochistan into one Muslim majority state within India. Dr. Iqbal died before the said to be Pakistan Resolution of March 23 – 24, 1940. The Resolution was not mentioning word ‘Pakistan’; it was also mentioning word ‘States’ for the provinces. Therefore, Pakistan is post Second World War development. Besides, those legislators, led by All India Muslim League (AIML) Sindh leader G. M. Syed, who presented and passed resolution from Sindh Legislative Assembly for a homeland of Muslim majority states of India (Pakistan) quit AIML within a few years, and later on became against creations of Pakistan. Word ‘Pakistan’ was not used in the Sindh Legislative Assembly’s resolution for separate homelands.  G. M. Syed, along with his associates, also won the provincial elections of 1946 in alliance with Indian National Congress and formed government in Sindh. If seen in the context of turning Sndhi people in favour of AIML; organizing it in the province; and conceiving, tabling and lobbying for the so-called Pakistan Resolution in Sindh Legislative Assembly, G. M. Syed can validly be said, if not claimed, the co-founder of Pakistan along with M. A. Jinnah.  Meanwhile, according to the Pakistan Studies text books in Pakistan, when word ‘Pakistan’ was used for a separate country in a protest in London, it was tossed by Ahmediya Punjabi Muslim youth. The 1946 Indian provincial elections were a kind of referendum, in which AIML lost to those who earlier presented the Pakistan Resolution from Sindh Legislative Assembly and later on went against it and also disassociated themselves from AIML.

Pakistan, created on August 14, 1947, was perceived to be a moderate secular Muslim federation by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah was a Kutchhi Sindhi, born in Jhirk town of Thatta district; brought-up in Karachi, educated in London in and professionally was based in Mumbai. He was lawyer of Khan of Kalat, a King of Balochistan before creation of Pakistan.

Pakistan Resolution of 1940 was violated for the first time when Pakistan was turned from a federation of the sovereign states / provinces, against the text and spirit of 1940 Resolution, into a unitary statehood and system through ‘One Unit System’ on November 22, 1054 by the military regime. Until 1950s, Sindh was giving financial aid to Punjab province and the central government of Pakistan, according to available documents and data. After imposing unitary system, archeological treasury of Moen Jo Daro was shifted from Sindh to Punjab, in Lahore. Replicas of the original were left in Sindh. This happened because, it was the formal colonization of other provinces in Pakistan by Punjab, which can be said internal colonization from federal perspective, because although Islamabad was the capital, Departments of Culture and Tourism as well as Water and Power (called Water and Power Development Authority – WAPDA) shifted to Lahore, the capital of Punjab. Sindhi and Bengali were the only indigenous languages that were having official scripts and were the mode of education in Sindh and East Pakistan. Writing and educating in Sindhi and Bengali was not only banned but also made a punishable offense. A punishment was also announced on writing the names of provinces anywhere including name-boards, houses, government buildings, billboards, and postal addresses. Assets of other provinces, the largest from Sindh, in terms of monetary, land, culture and reservoirs were practically handed over to Punjab province. When, Pakistan was revert back again to federal statehood, after secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, these assets were not given back to Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa. Conspiracy was to the extent that Balochistan was asked to undo Sindhi language as mode of education in late 1960s, (until then Sindhi was mode of education of Balochistan), and was asked to adopt Urdu mode education, in lieu of which Lasbella Princely State was acceded to Balochistan, which historically was Sindh. Sindhi today have no problem regarding Lasbella for being in Balochistan. Sindh and Baochistan are more than sister lands and have remained one country for centuries.

Sindh has deep concerns about territorial intrusions by Punjab through including Machko areas, a Sindh territory strip into Punjab province. Sindh officially have been and is demanding to stop Punjab Police and Pakistan Rangers – Punjab’s violation of territorial sovereignty of Sindh. No police or military actions from the forces of Punjab should be undertaken in Sindh. Besides, all the assets, including archeological treasures, should be returned back to Sindh without any delay in accordance with the demands by the government and the people of Sindh.

The treatment of Sindh combatants of Second World War by Pakistani authorities was a violation of United Nations instruments. Pakistani Armed Forces refusal to protect borders of Sindh during 1965 War was also violation of federal and international norms. Pakistani Armed Forces limited themselves to Punjab-India borders, particularly Lahore-Sialkot sectors, and even converted themselves into Come Cozy against the Indian tanks to protect Punjab.

Elected by the democratic system of Hur Jammat, Pir Pagara Syed Ali Mardan Shah became Pir Pagara, spiritual and political leader of Sindhi Hur.  (Hur means free or liberated persons. Hur Jammat means communion of free / Liberated person with hierarchy) Hur Jammat included the Second World War fighters named Hur Army / Force, was told in 1965 by Pakistan Army that military is unable to defend Sindh – India borders, therefore Pir Pagara, who was Supreme Commander of the Hur Army issued command for the protection and defense of Sindh. Thus, Sindh protected her borders in Pakistan with India, without participation and help by Pakistan Army. Like Subhash Chandra Bose, Pir Sabghatullah Shah Rashidi father of Pir Pagara Syed Ali Mardan Shah, is buried to unknown place. Pir Pagara Ali Mardan Shah was not allowed make the whereabouts public.  Pir Pagara probably is buried at either Astola or Churno Island near Sindh-Balochistan borders at Arabian Sea. Bose and Pir Pagara, the supreme commanders of India and Sindh during Second World War were punished because of being allies of Axis Forces. Germany, Japan, Afghanistan and Ottoman Empire supported Hur Army during Second World War; however, Hur Army was self sufficient in ammunition. Today, previous Axis Forces have allied with Allied Forces for instance US and UK alliance with Germany, Japan, and Turkey, and France. Mujtaba Rashidi, cousin of Pir Pagara Ali Mardan Shah, was central leader of Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) the largest freedom movement political party and the second largest political party in Sindh.

Sindhi and Baloch, today, like over the period of more than last one century are not part of the armed forces and services of colonial Britain and their Pakistani continuity. Even the services and forces that are created later on after departure of colonial Britain in 1947 have been following the same footing. Sindh-Balochistan require the exclusive participation in the Sindh and Balochistan Regiments, Pakistan Rangers – Sindh, Frontier Constabulary – Balochistan, Pakistan Navy, ISI and Military Intelligence Sindh and Balochistan chapters, Pakistan Coast Guards — Sindh and Balochistan, Intelligence Bureau Sindh and Balochistan, equal participation in the other formations and corps of Pakistan Army and their equivalent in Pakistan Air Force, Strategic Programs like nuclear and missiles. Besides, an equal participation in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and federal layers of Ministry of Interior, as well as other federal departments is required. Is it possible for Pakistan authorities that in the conflict ridden territories like Balochistan, the warring parties like Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) may be engaged for negotiations and after successful negotiations can these outfits be submerged in Balochistan Regiment and other sections of Pakistan Army? A proportionate participation in the Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resources Development and other similar sections of governance are also demanded by the people of Sindh and Balochistan. Besides, Sindh and Balochistan should be given equal opportunities in overseas employments facilitated by overseas ministry. At the same time, an exclusive Sindhi and Balochistani participation in Customs, Ports, Shipping, Police, Tax collections from the Highways inclusive of provincial taxation rights on the highways that run through Sindh and Balochistan, a non-merger of Pakistani Armed Forces in the provincial departments as well as a full stops to insertion from other provinces in Sindh and Balochistan departments is also required. Sindhi have been demanding the existence of Dry Ports in Punjab should be undone, and Sindhi and Baloch should be given exclusive and priority rights in the employment of natural resources extracting companies. The private entrepreneur in the provinces should be made bound to employ locals, and permanent residents of the provinces to the greater extent. Sindhi, Baloch, Siraiki and Pashtun are under-represented in central / federal civil services. The foreign services of Pakistan hardly have a Sindhi, Baloch, Siraiki and Pashtun employees. Ninety percent overseas employment opportunities are being given to ethnic Punjabi that hail from seventeen districts of Punjab. It is essential that Sindhi, Baloch, Siraiki and Pashtun are given equal opportunities of employment in these departments.

Meanwhile, Provincial Assemblies should be renamed with Legislative Assemblies, having enhanced legislative powers which must include the supervision of provincial borders, registration of internal migration from other provinces in Pakistan, and binding National Data Base Authority’s (NADRA) powers with certain and concerned legislation by the provincial legislative assemblies. Sindh and Balochistan Home Departments, as well as in the others, should be entitled to issue the directions and / or unavoidable notes for the naturalization process of foreigners. This will help resisting many issues including the free movement of terrorists across the Pakistan.

Besides, Sindh and Balochistan Governments, along with others, should be given liberty to engage with the other countries even beyond the trade and business deals, particularly in terms of culture, natural disasters and similar matter if and when required accordingly.

Almost seventeen districts of Punjab in Pakistan are ethno linguistically Punjabi. The remaining seventeen are Siraiki. Southern Siraki Punjab, due to legitimate concerns of Sindh and Balochistan, should be appropriately and on the just bases be given the share within Punjab and the federation if and until Siraiki demand for a separate province is not materialized.

Chief Ministers of Sindh and Balochistan, like other Chief  Ministers of Provinces, be at least virtually treated like Premiers (Prime Minister of the provinces) the status that was given to them by colonial Britain, which means turning the posts of Governors into ceremonial, and Chief Ministers should be considers practically Head of the Federating Provinces / States. At the same-times, like India, if not on the patterns of UK where Scottish Pound is a separate currency for Scotland, the Commissionerates of Provinces should be established in Islamabad to formalized province-federation relations. Besides, a few matters / areas should be identified on which both houses of parliaments as well as provincial assemblies together may legislate.

At the same times, like India, Sindh and Balochistan, along with others, should be allowed to legislate the exclusive matters for example like in Rajasthan state of India, barrage land cannot be purchased by those who haven’t got birth in Rajasthan. And, like Kashmir, no non-Kashimiri can purchase land in Jamu and Kashmir in India. Even a Pandit of non-Kashmiri origin cannot become the leader of religious places.

By doing this, Pakistan would be formally recognizing the sovereignty of federating provinces / states within the federation. Until and unless, provincial sovereignty is not formally and practically recognized by Pakistan (centre), Sindh and Balochistan may not consider the reviewing their will, demand and expression for freedom / secession. This means, if Self Rule inclusive of territorial as well as peoples sovereignty within the federation is not insured on above lines, Sindh and Balochistan will, according to their expressions and demands as of until 2016, will secede.

Shah is a Sindhi refugee journalist, analyst and activist currently staying in Delhi, India. www.zulfiqarshah.com