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Resolutions Passed at International Conference on Sindh in London held in November 2013

On the auspicious occasion of the 25th International Conference, World Sindhi Congress (WSC) is honoured to present the following resolutions for approval of this august gathering:

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1.  Right to Self Determination

This Conference resolves and requests the International Community to help solve the issue of right of self-determination of Sindhi and all the constituent nations of Pakistan under the auspices of United Nations Organisation.

2.  Extra Judicial killings, Abductions, Arrests of and Attacks on Sindhi Nationalists

Sindhi nationalists and other political activists have always been a target of the Pakistani establishment.  Things haven’t changed even in the current new government:  Extra judicial killings and involuntary disappearances continue to be a norm in Sindh.  This year (during both the pre and post May general election period), has witnessed the untimely and brutal deaths of many valiant sons of Sindh.

On 28th April bullet-riddled bodies of 19 years old Sajjad Markhand and 22 years old Aamir Khuhawar, both activists of Jeeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM), were found on a link road near Khairpur Nathan Shah.  Their bodies bore severe marks of torture.  They were illegally arrested by the personnel of agencies, police and Rangers from Larkana on 24th April 2013.

Afzal Panhwar, a student of MSc Biochemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro and a student leader belonging to Jeeay Sindh Students Federation (JSSF) was abducted by plain clothed persons in the jeep with no registration plate on 15 August 2013, and within some hours he was shot dead in Kotri city by the plain clothed persons believed to be from the secret agencies.

Again on the Pakistan Independence Day, when nationalist groups observed a ‘Black Day’, three Sindhi nationalists were killed by the state agents in Madho Goth, Karachi and many arrested.

In the early hours of 15th August, a police Station Head Officer (SHO) raided the house of Sayed Zamen Shah in Madho village with 20 private guards dressed in plain clothes. There were six people inside the house, viz., Zamin Shah, Yameen Chachar, Umed Ali Dehar, Imran Wahoocho, Ahmar Peerzado and Sindhrani. They all were asleep. The armed personnel abducted three people, Imran Wahoocho, Ahmed Peerzado, and Sindhrani and went on to torture and kill Zamin Shah, Yameen Chachar and Umed Ali in a fake encounter. Zamin Shah was from JSMM, while Yameen Chachar and Umed Ali were from Jeeay Sindh Tehreek.

Most recently, in October 2013, bullet-ridden dead body of the Co-ordination Secretary of Jeeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM), Dewan Premchand alias Barkat Chandio was found in Karachi. He was abducted by Pakistan intelligence agencies a couple of days before he was killed. He was from Warah town of district Qambar Shahdadkot.

Therefore, this august house resolves and demands of the governments of Sindh and Pakistan to

  • Stop kidnapping, killing and attacking Sindhi nationalists and other political workers and activists.
  • Conduct a judicial inquiry into the deaths Sajjad Markhand, Aamir Khuhawar, Afzal Panhwar, Zamin Shah, Yameen Chachar and Umed Ali and compensate their families accordingly.
  • Conduct judicial inquiry into the last year’s mysterious death of Bashir Khan Quershi of JSQM, extra-judicial killings of Muzaffar Bhutto, Sirai Qurban Khuhawar, Roplo Choliani, Noorullah Tunio and all the other political leaders and workers martyred in the past.
  • Stop the illegal abduction of Sindhi nationalists and other political activists in Sindh and Pakistan. Declare the whereabouts of all the missing and illegally detained people and produce them in a court of law if they are deemed to be criminals.
  • Protect the life and liberty of all the citizens, including the ones who demonstrate peacefully for the rights of their land and people.

3.  Ban on Sindhi Nationalist Parties

Sindhi nationalist parties and organizations have always been victims of Pakistani state atrocities.  Banning Sindhi political and even non-political parties/organizations, imprisoning, even killing their office bearers and activists is quite common.  Most recently, the Pakistan government has banned a Sindhi nationalist party, Jeeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSSM) and put a reward for informing about the whereabouts of its Chairman, Shafi Burfat.

Therefore, this Conference resolves to lift the aforesaid ban, drop all charges against Shafi Burfat and stop violating the basic democratic rights of Sindhi people to form associations.

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4.  Indigenous Sindhi Hindu, Bheel and Menghwar Communities

This Conference expresses its grave concern over the plight and helplessness of indigenous Hindu and Bheel communities and rising fundamentalism in Sindh, which has centuries old traditions of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence, so much so that there is a separate space for Dalits in a Mulsim graveyard of Haji Fakir at Kumdar Karo Mal village, near Pangrio town in Badin district, where Bheels and Dalits bury their dead.

This extraordinary practice of religious harmony was violated on 6th October 2013, when at the call of so religious leaders and with the help of young men from the local Madreshas, an armed mob dug the body of a Hindu Dalit, Bhooro Bheel within 12 hours of his burial at the same graveyard. A Muslim cleric in Faisalabad, Punjab province even issued a Fatwa that Hindus cannot be buried in the Muslim graveyards.

  • It is, therefore resolved that the Sindh and Pakistan governments take immediate steps to restore religious peace and harmony in Sindh and give exemplary punishments to the perpetrators involved.
  • It is also resolved that Bhooro Bheel’s family, especially his children be compensated adequately both financially and socially.

5.  Plight of Hindus and Forcible Conversions of Hindu Women

This House condemns the continuous atrocities against Sindhi Hindu women and girls, who are being indiscriminately raped, abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.  The case of Rinkel Kumari too remains unsolved, who was abducted and then forcibly converted to Islam last year. In November last year, a 12 year old Manisha Kumari was kidnapped by a MQM gangster in Hyderabad. According to the Hindu Panchayat, every month around 20 girls are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.

There is a lack of security of Hindus places of worship. In December 2012, MQM with the help of a court order demolished a 200 years old temple of Hindus in Karachi and stole all historical Deity Idols.

Therefore, it is resolved that the governments of Pakistan and Sindh

  • Take measures to protect the life, liberty and honour of Hindus and all the other religious minorities.
  • Protect the religious places of all the Non-Muslims.
  • Stop the kidnapping and forcible conversion of Hindu women.
  • The pending cases of Rinkel Kumari and other Sindhi Hindu women be resolved with immediate effect.  They should be set free to determine their futre themselves

6. New Draconian Laws, the PPO

This Conference condemns Pakistan’s new draconian laws passed only to strengthen the state control over citizens’ lives and liberty under the pretext of combating terrorism.

In October 2013, the government has promulgated an ordinance known as Pakistan Protection Ordinance, giving extraordinary powers to the law enforcement authorities (LEA).  Now LEA can enter and search any premises without warrant, confiscate any property without permission from any lawful authority, detain suspects up to three months and even shoot on sight. The LEA can obtain information on the alleged suspects by all authoritarian and anti civil liberty means, such as intercepting phone calls, texts and emails.

Therefore, it is resolved that the Pakistan government

  • Repeal the above Ordinance and other similar laws immediately.
  • Not to promulgate any such Ordinance in future and all the legislation be passed by the Parliament.

7.  Education

This Conference expresses its grave concern over the lack of education facilities right from the Primary school to University and deteriorating standards at all levels.

It is, therefore, resolved that

  • Education be made compulsory at least at the school level and adequate facilities provided.
  •  Steps be taken to improve the standards at all levels.
  • Higher educational institutions be funded sufficiently and given academic independence.

8.  Development programmes and Employment Opportunities:

Sindh has been deprived of development by almost all successive governments.  Joblessness among Sindhi youth is quite high.

Therefore, this Conference resolves and calls upon the current governments in Sindh and Pakistan to start development projects in Sindh and create more job opportunities.

9. Protecting the Demography of Sindh

The Conference resolves and calls upon the government to recognise and protect the inalienable right of the indigenous people on their land and its resources. All illegal immigration be stopped and any effort to artificially change the demography of Sindh to suit the interests of certain groups be dealt with judiciously rejecting all such plans.

10. Language and Culture

This House resolves that the:

  • Constitution be amended to declare all the Pakistan languages as the national languages and not just Urdu as it is now.
  • 1973 Sindhi Language Bill passed by Sindh Assembly be implemented.
  • Sindhi Medium schools in Sindh, including Karachi be restored and Sindhi medium be allowed at all levels in all the towns and cities of Sindh as was the case in pre-Pakistan Sindh.
  • Sindhi language be given its due share in the government controlled electronic media.

11. Sindhi Culture Day

In response to attacks on and ridicule of Sindhi culture by some quarters of Pakistani media and self-proclaimed nationalists, Sindhi media has been celebrating Sindhi Culture Day for some time.

This Conference resolves to support the said initiative and all the activities aimed at promoting Sindhi culture and language.

12.  Enforced Disappearances and Extrajudicial Killings of Baloch People

A full-fledged military operation continues unabated in Balochistan since last eight years, during which thousands of Baloch political leaders, activists, writers and journalists have been forcibly disappeared by Pakistani state agencies. Mutilated and tortured bodies of hundreds of kidnapped thrown in the open.

Therefore, this august house resolves to request the international community, particularly the United Nations, to set up an international inquiry into the atrocities against Baloch people and press upon the Pakistani state to stop human rights crimes against Baloch people.

13. Human Rights Violations and International Community

The Conference resolves and calls upon the international community to thoroughly investigate and monitor the human rights violations in Pakistan, especially with regards to religious minorities, women, civil liberties, freedom of expression, right to participate freely in the election process, the right to life and liberty and the cultural and linguistic rights.