Monday, December 7, 2015

Deadly oversight

Extremist violence is on the rise in Sindh. Veengas Yasmeen holds the federal and provincial governments squarely responsible




Deadly oversight
Mourners at the funeral of a victim of the Jacobabad blast (Courtesy AFP)



Just days after the terrorist attack in Jacobabad, the Sindh government was celebrating its victory in local elections. Opposition parties called for a strike against the Sindh government. It seemed like business-as-usual for everyone. If anyone remembers the anguish of the Shia community, it would be the community itself.
This is a community in mourning for years now. Who cares about them? Well, our federal government is worried about Saudi princes and their hunting licenses. Has the government shown such seriousness when it comes to the National Action Plan? And if we tell ourselves that the Sindh government is merely interested in staying in power, what of Mr Imran Khan, who presents himself as a champion of Change? Have any of these political forces, which speak of “the people” and “change”, ever truly felt the loss of those people who were blown up on the 23rd October, 2015? Whatever their priorities might be, clearly the lives of Pakistani Shia are not high on the list. One can safely assume this based on the policies and actions of our rulers.
The site of a bombing in Jacobabad (Courtesy Reuters)
The site of a bombing in Jacobabad (Courtesy Reuters)
Was this the first murderous attack on the Shia community in Pakistan and Sindh? Certainly not!
The state may not pay attention to the painfully long list of bomb blasts in Sindh, but for us, the people of Sindh, these atrocities are seared into our collective conscious. We can remind the rulers that from January to October 2015, the number of bomb blasts numbered 23. In these attacks, 101 people lost their lives and 188 were injured.
The government knows very well the sensitivity and seriousness of terror threats, so how then can it fail at managing security? Upper Sindh is under threat for a long time now. If the government can provide heightened security for Karachi when necessary, why should other parts of Sindh be left at the mercy of terrorists?
Take, for instance, the fact that before the Jacobabad blast, there had already been an attack in Bolan, Balochistan. Upper Sindh’s border is connected with Balochistan, making Jacobabad and Shikarpur especially vulnerable. How could officials have ignored this?
In the light of these terrorist atrocities, one might be tempted to ask: what, after all, is the reason for this extremist violence?
Much of the answer might lie in the fact that Sindh is dotted with un-registeredmadrassahs.
Sindh is dotted with un-registered madrassahs
In July 2015, one Sindhi newspaper stated that, on condition of anonymity, an “apex committee” reported 48 madrassahs (24 in Karachi and 24 in other cities of Sindh) which have been linked with terrorist groups. Sindh has around 9,590 madrassahs, out of which only 6,503 are registered. How many of these un-registered madrassahs have been banned so far? Have federal and provincial governments even taken seriously this report on madrassahs, as presented by the apex committee?
The people of Sindh have not seen any action from the government apart from a deafening silence. Apparently, the government believes that deadly realities can be addressed by covering its eyes.
Yet another problem in Sindh that has sadly not received much attention is that of IDPs. Several people who came to Sindh as IDPs have received forged ID cards and are settling in Sindh as Pakistani citizens; no one knows where they’ve come from.
Last year, on March 15th, the Larkana Dharmshaal was set ablaze. While covering the story, I asked a local journalist for an insight into who could have been responsible. He told me that the temple had not been torched by locals, but rather by ‘strangers’ who were not originally from the area.
Even Sindh’s Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah, admitted that “at least 15 militants had attempted to enter Sindh as IDPs, and had then been duly arrested”.
Children at a madrassah
Children at a madrassah
It is completely acceptable for IDPs to come and settle in the province for as long as they must, but under the umbrella of IDPs and unregistered madrassahs, it is militants who are establishing their foothold in the province.
Sindh is slipping into a horrible state of affairs. Extremists are encroaching into Sindh. Once established, their hold won’t be easy to break. We cannot look at the attack at Jacobabad in isolation: this problem will only get worse as we move forward, and it will sweep away Sindh and then Balochistan in its destructive wake.
The fact of the matter is that the National Action Plan has not been implemented properly in Sindh. Despite the Karachi operation and the results that it has reaped, the government has till now been unable to eliminate extremist groups from the province.
If NAP had been firmly put into practice in Sindh, we would not see unregistered madrassahs working openly and brazenly. One cannot help but ask: who has given permission to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to work under the banner of ‘Ahl-e-Sunnat’?
The Jacobabad blast comes as a result of the failures of both the federal and provincial governments and their respective policies. The Shia community will continue to peacefully mourn those it has lost, but the government should not mistake silence for acceptance of things as they are.
- See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/deadly-oversight/#sthash.dD92zzPK.dpuf

Original Link: Deadly oversight published in TFT on 27/Nov/2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Loneliness of Aror (Raja Dahir’s Palace)


Veengas

     On 2nd December, 2015 newspapers had reported news which shook my soul and mind, I could not understand that what has happened to this land’s history?

I tried to see TV channels and awaiting for news on Aror, went on English newspapers websites to search news on Aror, social networks were silent on Aror and dear Civil society was unaware of Aror’s news.

I took long breath and nowhere news was reported apart from few Sindhi newspapers that reported, “Aror, historical palace of Raja Dahir has been vandalized by bulldozer and Traktor.”

For me, it was not simple news. It was news about ancient history after Moen Jo Daro, Aror has had its significant importance. Those people who know the history of Sindh, they can feel the importance of Aror.

MahaRaja Dahir was last King of Sindh and Sindhi writers call him first martyred of Sindh.

Mohammad Bin Qasim attacked on Sindh and Raja Dahir fought him till his last breath after his assassination, Mohammad Bin Qasim imposed his rule in the name of religion as he did launch war in the name of religion.

Sindh has had ancient history which has been ignored for decades. Sometimes, it is being called Kafir History and getting ignorant attitude towards historical places.

So, Loneliness of Aror has been ignored. Perhaps, some people cannot understand or even hardly pronounce name of Aror and Raja Dahir or they know that “It was a place when Mohahmmad Bin Qasim conquered the Sindh at age of 17years old.” Alas! Facts are fabricated, he was neither 17 years old, nor conquered Sindh indeed he attacked on Sindh.

Whatever, I write sorrow of this land; I may be named biased or incorrect explaining situation of Sindh. No one can see his/er own actions.

If we open the pages of history and read it, we can come across the fragrance of this land’s historical places those are also beauty of Pakistan and subcontinent.

Shall we ignore such news when Aror was bulldozed by Traktor? Should Media have not reported as Pakistani National Media reported on Thar or Sindh Festival?

Should I not ask them, why news was ignored, not even raise voice on Social Media?

Does Sindh history not part of their attention?

When I tweeted on my Twitter account and Facebook Page then people knew about it but Cultural department Minister Ms. Sharmila farooqi accepted that incident happened and according to her, I used incorrect word of “Bulldozed.”

Statesmen/women have right to call it “Fabricated or incorrect reported” one thing they cannot deny the Truth.

I am here sharing photos which I got from local person. 

Look at photos:

Area of Aror photo credit by local citizen

Area of Aror photo credit by local citizen
What shall we call it? Traktor was bulldozing historical place and it showed full ignorance of local authorities.

Hence, I approached to local journalist who said that “Adi (Sindhi word Sister) Abdullah Seriho claimed possession on area and his people vandalized area of Aror and Raja Dahir’s throne.”

Yes, local authorities reached and stopped work at Aror, when people did their half work and damaged historical place.

Question raises, When Abdullah Seriho was bringing his heavy missionary to vandalize Aror, he could not go there without permission and how was it possible that local authorities were unaware of his action?
According to report that “Abdullah Seriho has political support.”

It is a historical place and Abdullah Seriho was not going to vandalize house of poor man that local authorities did not know about anything.

Local authorities were known by local citizen that “some people were damaging historical place of Raja Dahir later they reached and news came to Media.”

If local authorities were innocent and did not know about people’s action, it means historical site is not being protected properly and anyone can come and damage it.

Sindh government must see its actions, what are they doing for protecting historical site of Sindh.

Even, report says that Abdullah Serohi who claimed his authority on piece of land at historical site. “Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan late Mohammad Kkhan Junejo issued Non-objection certificate (NOC) but those NOCs were cancelled,” as reported. Then, how he came and why did cultural department not strongly take action against them?

The problems of encroachments are on other historical sites of Sindh like Lakhan jo daro.
Government needs to take proper steps for protecting historical sites.

No doubt, cultural department and its local authorities wake up from sleep when citizens knock their doors in order to inform them that something is happening at historical sites.

If such kind of job is done by cultural department and it local institutes then who will protect historical sites?

Sindh historical sites have been damaging and dying for decades if historical sites do not get attention, then no one can save their soul.

We cannot feel loneliness of Aror, a place which speaks to us but our ignorant attitude has broken its voice. Can we really feel loneliness of Aror? Ask yourself!