“There is no little enemy”-Franklin
Though all the oppressed nations and classes of Pakistan have been exploited by the excesses, plundering, conspiracies and vested interests of the establishment which represents ruling classes; Sindh and Sindhi people have been the biggest victim. The dreams and promises that had inspired Sindh to join Pakistan have been shattered badly with the passage of time. The ruthlessness of history is that this tragic and terrifying story does not seem to be coming to an end so far. For the people struggling for the freedom, salvation, progress and transition of Sindh, it is highly imperative to understand as to how the establishment wants to design and see Sindh as a province, society and nation. Of course, this structure of evil machinations is impossible for them to run without hidden conspiracies and cruel strategies. Therefore, it is a must to study the basics of their foundations and strategies. For only then can a counter-strategy for this could be framed and operated. In this article we will cast a look at the ill-motivated designs and cynical strategies of the establishment about Sindh.
Progressive and democratic politics is the foundation for any society and polity in this modern age because this very thing manifests the superstructure of the society and state as well. Sometimes the apolitical writers and pseudo intelligentsia negate politics which indirectly serves the vested interests of ruling classes and establishment. Negating politics is like negating political and intellectual oxygen for social life or negating art, poetry, culture, literature, knowledge and philosophy for the emotional, intellectual and overall development of the society. Therefore the ruling classes, particularly those of the empowered and hegemonic nations fully understand the significance of politics, its strength and strategic importance. The major portion of the way the establishment wants to design Sindh is composed of their political strategies. Following are the most important among them:
1. Separating and distancing people from politics
Beside ideologies, political parties and leadership the actual power and spirit of politics are people. The politics that has no deep rooted relationship with the people or which does not command their trust is either, one way or the other futile or a structure of useless machinations. Without the people’s emotional, intellectual, political and active socio-political engagement, a powerful people’s politics is unthinkable. Establishment has always, particularly during and after the Zia regime, tried tooth and nail to pollute, criminalize, communalize, terrorize and rather vulgarize politics in Sindh in order to depoliticize emerging vibrant political and civil society. The intelligence agencies illegally plunder the billions, rather trillions of tax rupees of people and use them against the very public that are to criminalize or vulgarize politics. If the people raise among themselves some righteous politicians and credible and committed political workers, they counter-act this by raising hundreds, rather thousands of fake political leaders and pseudo workers. The factory vulgarizing and polluting politics is, round the clock, engaged in selecting ruffian; criminal, characterless and terrorist elements from the society, in order to further train them in corruption and, finally lead them to the field of client politics. The sole purpose behind this is to vulgarize and pollute politics so that people should cherish hatred towards it. Therefore wherever the presence of fake, corrupt, ruffian or terrorist element is visible in politics, it is a sure sign for the fact that their existence in the field of politics is, in fact, a part of the grand strategy of establishment regarding Sindh. Sindh is the society in which, earlier, people used to enter into politics through knowledge, wisdom and consciousness. All the great politicians of Sindh have been scholars, writers and intellectuals. But now the political map of Sindh, has purposefully, been changed so that the people should grow sick of and get distanced from politics. In return to the big political resistance in Sindh, during the Zia rule, the punishment that was meted out of Sindh was that it was tried to make its people sick of politics. Even some sections of Sindhi media were strategically used for this. Some leading Sindhi writers, intellectuals and political leaders played a great part in this. Politicians and political parties could be wrong on many accounts but how could the rationale, existence and the role of political parties be negated on this basis? Now the environment and attitude is changing in this context. Yet there is no doubt in the fact that it has been tried - and is still being tried - to keep the people of Sindh away from politics. It has been, practically resisted and will now be resisted even more as it should be. A few people indulged in this business on purpose. The others took part in this, directly or indirectly, due to a lack of political insight, frustration and anarchist attitude. In particular, after 1983, such an attitude was raised so as to distance people from politics.
2. Causing breakages within political parties
The evil and anti-people forces that are afraid of on organized people’s power of politics know well that the pro-people, responsible, committed and democratic people’s parties are the organized people’s political strength to transform it into power. No matter how conscious and inclined is, in case of the absence of political parties, this enthusiasm of the people will fall prey to distraction, disorganization and anarchy. And this will prove counter-productive to their interests. After the decade of eighty’s, there took place a lot of internal splits in the nationalist and progressive political parties of Sindh. Besides the global changes and objective factors, there were the conscious efforts of the notorious intelligence agencies involved in it. The internal problems exist within the political parties always and at every place, yet surging of a ripple of such break-ups and distraction cannot just be termed as objective coincidence. To understand this, it is imperative to see and observe that the people who got out the parties what kind of politics they did after getting out of the politics. It would be alright if they had done better politics after that. But, most of them followed the signals and interest of intelligence agencies. What can be guessed when the people like Irfan-u-llah Marwat address the yearly ceremonies of the invaluable heroes and real champions of struggle for democracy like Shaheed Fazil Rahu? In fact, the progressive and nationalist politics was quickly advancing with a great strength after the people’s democratic movement of 1983, which is known as Movement for the restoration of democracy (MRD). The establishment watched it in an active and advancing mode. Then it made strategic arrangements for this. Very deplorably, even the politicians that had ripened through a political process of two decades could not perceive as to how and in which hands they were playing directly or indirectly. For a good number of them were not ill-intentioned; they just feel prey to a lack of objective political understanding. As a matter of fact, the parties that were subjected to the internal break-ups could not properly tackle this conspiracy and crises; they even did not take serious efforts in this direction. As a result of that the political movement and strength of Sindh received a transitory mortal setback.
3. Imposition of MQM on Sindh
There is much written about the formation, historical background and political character of MQM. I have also written a book titled, “Politics of MQM and Sindh” which gives a deep insight in to the subject. To cut it short, MQM was also established and raised according to the very same strategy in Sindh as has been discussed above. In 1983’s movement for the restoration for democracy, the Sindhi people’s political dynamism had been fully noticed by Islamabad and they know well as to where the political factors lead the Sindhi people. MQM was, in fact, the counter strategic response of the establishment for the organizing unity strength and democratic struggle of the Sindhi people. Of course, the entrance of hatred, racism, fascism, terrorism, use of weapons, killings and crime intro politics will not let the nationalist democratic politics advance easily. To raise MQM in Sindh, the establishment did not just play its role directly; it even used a section of the nationalist politics to the full right from the beginning. It is no more a secret as to be the bodyguards of Altaf Hussain in the Sindhi Localities at the beginning. Who was the strategically a tool of MQM in Sindh; this matter is an open secret now. And as to why and for what interests this was done is no more a secret. Abdul Wahid Arisar transgressed all the limits by supporting the division of Hyderabad district by MQM in his column in Daily Kawish. Given there were a transparent accountability in Sindh, many would hardly be able to raise their heads due to shame. A majority of Sindhi intellectuals so far has not developed the character to be able to carry out moral, intellectual and political accountability in the national interests sidelining the attitude of trying to keep everyone happy. The history of last 20 years is there as a recorded proof of the fact that the establishment wants to raise MQM as the important political and electoral party so that the Sindh government and the Sindh Assembly should consistently be hostage to it. On the whole, following are the aims of the establishment behind imposing MQM upon Sindh.
Vulgarizing and criminalizing the politics of Sindh through terrorism, crimes, racism and fascism so that it should take politics as source of trouble and calamity instead of a way for emancipation.
Holding the Urdu-speaking community a hostage to MQM so that is should not be a part of democratic process of politics in a free environment from which they fell threatened.
Preventing the nationalist and progressive democratic politics and the real representation of Sindh by the Sindhi people.
Snatching the right to rule, practically, from the indigenous people of Sindh and making MQM the de-facto proprietor of Sindh.
Holding the Sindh government a hostage through MQM so that it could not play the role to defend the interests of Sindh and in case, some nominal autonomy is given in future that ‘autonomous’ government should be ‘their own’.
Giving impression to the world that Sindh does not belong to Sindhis, its actually ‘influential’ sides are others.
Contracting easily some deal about Sindh on crucial moments.
Closing the social and political ways for the nearing of Sindhis and the Urdu-speaking people to each other.
Choosing the people of choice in the name of representation in the centre of Sindh.
Subjecting the Sindhi society to uncertainty, fear and distraction internally, both politically and socially, so that they should fail to produce the required political character.
4. Diving Sindh into the political estates of feudal
In order to render blunt the sharp edge of the political power of Sindhis, on the one hand, MQM is raised and, on the other, the dying feudalism was instilled a fresh life into by the provision of the ‘blood’ of stare’s aid. Not just that, they (Sindhi feudal) were so greatly strengthened that they found no parallel themselves in their last seven generations. Then, they were imposed upon the Sindhi people. The MRD movement of 1983 and the election results of 1988 had proved that Sindh had buried the outdated and obsolete feudal class politically. For example, the defeat of Pir Pagara at the hands of Parvais Ali Shah, of Nawab Sultan Ahmed at the hands of Dr. Ishrat Abbasi, of Ghulam Musatafa Jatoi at the hands of Rehmat-u-llah Bihan. What did all this indicate? After the movement of 1983 and the results of 1988 elections, the establishment, as a strategy, not only kept alive the dying Sindhi feudal class but also imposed them upon Sindhi people as their political estate-holder.
The establishment has been making proper arrangements to, on the one hand, not to let the middle class enlightened leadership arise in Sindh, on the other, to keep the public hostage to their brought-up, kept alive and opportunist feudal socially, economically and politically. Let alone any form of the unity of Sindhi people, they were even not ready to allow the unity or organization of any kind in the sold feudal of Sindh. The glaring example for this is their attitude towards PPP. Even a party like PPP is unacceptable for them in Sindh which is ever ready for any level of compromise and though it could not organize the people, it was yet an organized platform for the feudal. The establishment could not endure even that party of which neither the enemies are afraid and to which nor can the friends can bind any hope. Therefore, in the changed circumstances,
though they kept alive a strengthened the Sindhi feudal yet in the form of divisions. Observation would lead us to conclude that Sindh has been transformed into several small political estates for MQM and Sindhi feudal over the last 15 years. It is as if, practically, the districts have been handed over to the choicest feudal families on the conditional unwritten deal that they will be handed the keys to the resources and the entire state machinery, on a lower level but, on the upper level, in terms of policy matters, they will not open their mouths. Clear impacts of such a deal can be easily viewed in Sindh. interestingly as great strength any feudal has got at lower level, so greatly blind, deaf, dumb, helpless and begging is his attitude at the upper level. A district-wise look at Sindh, in this context, will help understand the matter easily.
5. Snatching the right to rule from the indigenous majority Sindhi people
The supreme social and political right that the people have got in the thousands of years of the travel of human civilization in their right to rule which, in usual terminology, is called people’s democracy. Due to the factors mentioned above, this right has been snatched from the Sindhi people in Pakistan, particularly after the Zia regime. That is, through strategy, before and after elections, a great care is taken not to let the majority party of Sindhis form government in Sindh, no matter if that party works within status-quo, like PPP. Particularly, since Jam Sadique this formula is continued. In the interim, Abdullah Shah’s government was a small respite in this connection. Otherwise, Jam Sadiq, Muzaffar Shah, Liaquat Jatoi Ghous Ali Shah, Ali Muhammad Mahar and Arbab Ghulam Rahim all come under the umbrella of this very formula. It means that the person with one seat in the assembly should be designated at the post of chief minister, only in name, but the entire rule and authority should be with MQM, practically. In the present structure of Pakistan, the people of the rest of the provinces have, at least, the right to form a government to represent their majority, but the people of Sindh have been denied the right, for they are afraid of the rule of the majority of Sindhi people. They had already witnessed the fire in the eyes of the Sindhi people in 1983 and 1988.
Society is the nursery for politics. As a matter of fact, social structures, attitudes, values and the balance of social power are the factors that determine the way for people’s politics. Either they strike a positive note to this or they harm it badly. Therefore, no political strategy can work to bring the required results so long as a set of social strategies adapted to it are not put in place. After 1983 and 1986, the establishment did not just formulate a set of political strategies to design Sindh afresh according to its interests; a host of social strategies were also taken into account then. What were the features of those social strategies? Let us cast a brief look at this.
1. Destabilizing the balance of the social power of Sindh
In fact, the dependence of the balance of political power is not just on ideologies and ideological political parties but also on the social structure of that particular society. It is impossible for politics to be in the control of enlightened and progressive forces without a positive change in the social structure. As a matter of fact, for high level political changes, the way must be paved by a change in the social structures, attitudes, values, concepts and balance of power. The 1983 and 1988 results brought to the fore the fact that a change was coming over the social temper and balance of power of the Sindhi society. The traitor feudal class that was nurtured and treated as an apple of eye by the English and, later on, by the Pakistani establishment was dying its historical death. And the changing public attitudes were causing cracks in the then prevalent social structure. Therefore, it was decided as a strategy to keep this outdated and dying class alive at all costs and further strengthen it as well. For, otherwise, the results of the rising of new enlightened forces and the strengthening of people would have uprooted the interests of establishment from Sindh. Therefore, this very reason and factor has worked behind the returning and resurging of the feudal class in Sindh and distorting of the social face of Sindh. Dramas were telecast on TV and Sindh was maligned through them and on every forum. Through artificially created brutal conditions, Sindhi’s image was transformed from an enlightened, progressive and resistant character to an estate of feudal and the land of barbaric customs like ‘honor-killing’. A research must be carried out from sociological point of view to probe as to how the social complexion of Sindh has been distorted during the last two decades. The Sindh that was recognized for political consciousness, enlightenment, and resistance literature, mystic and human-friendly temper of people, books and struggle has been transformed in the image of a feudalist, murderous, barbaric, anti-woman, tribal and ritualistic society.
2. Producing the dacoit-culture
The way the moral and social crimes are committed in a society, they were also committed in Sindh. But after 1983, the dacoits and dacoit culture was deliberately created and introduced in Sindh. It was not a historical coincidence. It no society do the social conditions objectively arise without certain reasons and circumstances. If the reasons are created, the results come to the fore, instinctively, without reasons and factors. This is known as the necessary accident in the language of philosophy. It was the same time when, on the one hand, the terrorist culture was introduced in the cities through MQM; on the other hand, the dacoit culture was deliberately raised in the rural areas. In fact, they were the two sides of the same strategy. Here we do not have space enough to go into its details. Yet, on the whole, following were their anti-Sindh and vested interests:
Developing an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and terror in order to prevent a healthy and natural political growth of society.
Strengthening the anti-people forces.
Blocking ways of a clean nationalist, progressive and democratic politics.
Keeping people under such social tortures as could prevent them from participating in politics.
Destroying the business, industrial and economic activities in Sindh.
Handing over the reins of society to criminals so that the criminal politics could not advance without the aid of intelligence agencies.
Paralyzing the middle class socially so that they should fail to structure their political character.
Distorting the political face of Sindh.
3. Not letting the political society grow
Sindh was and is the only province with an advanced and vibrant political society in comparison to that of the other nationalities and provinces in Pakistan. In its elements, this political society has been democratic, people-friendly, enlightened and progressive. Such political society always tends to pose a danger to the plundering and exploiting ruling class. Pakistani establishment also felt- and is feeling- a great danger from this. Therefore, they raised, step by step, all the elements that deal a deadly blow to the healthy and democratic political society. For example:
Feudalism and Capitalism
Artificial and fake political parties
Antagonism to politics
Racist and sectarian politics
Political treason and opportunism
Corrupting the middle class politically
Religio-social communalism and dividing people through sectarianism by establishing caste-based organizations
Character of agencies
Anti-politics trends in journalism
Anti-public and anti-politics social role models
In order to drag a nation to destruction and decline, just political and social strategies are not enough; economic strategies are also a part of this, for there are always hidden economic interests behind the vested social and political interests. The economic strength and vibrancy of people brings a change in their social attitudes, interests and political structures and strength. By pondering over the reasons and results of the economic backwardness of Sindh in the recent past, it can be easily discovered as to how and through what methods the economic back of Sindh was broken. Despite the immense pressure of the external population, Sindh has been, and still is, a rich and affluent province from the viewpoint of resources. But the recently occurring economic backwardness in the province has alarmingly increased the poverty graph there. In this context, reports of the institutions like UNDP, IUCN and SPDC must be read. In which a detailed account of facts and figures is given. Sindh, particularly its Sindhi people have been thrown into the mire of economic depression through the following methods:
Not letting the real representative forces from government in Sindh. For the makeshift governments coming into being through the machinations of Islamabad and the agencies tend to remain engaged merely in struggling for survival, plundering, corruption and appeasing Islamabad.
By encouraging terrorism and crime in Sindh.
Constantly disturbing peace along with creating an environment of fear and uncertainly in order to pacify the economic activities and block the way of investment.
By weakening the middle class mentally, politically, socially and economically.
By lawlessness and the absence of the rule of law.
By illegal capturing and monopoly of the natural resources and economic production of Sindh.
By taking every economic resource of Sindh in the NFC Award.
By creating a shortage of water in Sindh in the name of different dames, canals, and other projects.
Destroying the career of youth through a deliberately caused decline of education.
By dealing a mortal blow to the garniture of Sindh through giving it minor rates and importing the unimportant things at the wrong time.
By increasing unemployment and decreasing job opportunities in Sindh.
By the incessant and ever-increasing pressure of the external population.
By worst governance.
By the destruction of the developmental infrastructure and not introducing any new and serious investment in this context in Sindh.
By increasing corruption and nepotism instead of merit in public sector institutions in Sindh.
The above mentioned realities are the images that collectively form a frightening sketch of Sindh. It is the very same sketch that we study, see, feel and bear daily in the form of different unwanted, teasing, insulting and grieving news items. In the foregoing discussion, we have made it very clear that this all is not just a coincidence. It is, in fact, the logical conclusion of the reasons that have been created by fits and starts during the last six decades. This is, as a matter of fact, the sketch that the ruling class of Punjab, Military-civil bureaucracy nexus and the establishment want to design. And, so far, they have been, for the time being, successful in this to some extent. A concept and a likely reality should be, and is, of the Sindhi people as well. It is my firm belief that this invertly flowing Ganga of the evil machinations can be set right. But the dream of political change and national emancipation or reformation cannot be fulfilled just through talks and rhetoric. It requires vision, action, counter strategy, strong political institutions, effective leadership and a multidimensional and consistent one at that. People of Sindh deserve a respectable and autonomous constitutional and political status in Pakistan as it was promised in 1940 resolution.
About the author: Jami Chandio is a renowned scholar, political expert and writer. He heads a Sindh based think tank ‘Center for Peace and Civil Society’ (CPCS). He is author of more than 10 books on pure literature and politics. He is also editor of bi-lingual quarterly journal ‘Freedom’ published by CPCS. Currently he works as a Reagon-Fascell Democracy fellow at International Forum for Democratic Studies, Washington DC.