Marginalisation of Sindh
by Zulfiqar Shah on 01 Jul 2017 3 Comments

There is a multi-pronged strategy at work to marginalise Sindh through planned efforts to convert Sindhi into a minority, suppress the political process and voice of dissent, undertake gradual ethnic cleansing and genocide, violate employment rights of Sindhi, and undertake water rights violation in a bid to economically, socially and culturally devastate the fabric of Sindhi society.  


Hundreds of dissenters from Sindh have been forcefully disappeared, dozens have been killed. Hundreds are in jails. 


Hindu Exodus


The Hindu exodus from Sindh, Pakistan, is a gradual ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Sindhi Hindu in a bid to convert Sindhi into minority in their own homelands. Hindus are 5.5 per cent in Pakistan and are part of the indigenous population of Sindh, where they count 7 million. Several factors exist to cause a massive forced exodus of Sindhi Hindus. If seen carefully, the crime of Hindu exodus embodies various connotations of ideology, economy, power politics, fanaticism and demography.      


Sindh is a demographically vulnerable province of Pakistan where the indigenous Sindhi, nearly 17 per cent Hindu, are facing the threat of being converted into a permanent minority on their historical homeland. In August 1947, Sindhi were 98 per cent of the province, out of which 35 per cent were Hindus.


The history of political and social conflicts in Pakistan is a history of demographic conflicts based on struggles for securities among the federating states, and particularly between Punjab province and the rest. It is an emerging public concern in Sindh that northern Punjab bordering Sindh is being converted into the hub of religious extremism through extraordinary support to religious extremists, frequent settlement of ethnic Punjabis and increase in anti-Hindu activities.


Ironically, Hindus are being considered a demographical threat by the security establishment, majority of which considers Hindus and Indians as interchangeable. Sindhi Hindus are the trade and business backbone of the province. Their exodus will create a new business space for ethnic Punjabis. After the recent wave of Sindhi nationalism, a Hindu exodus is the most suitable for the establishment.


Northern and southeastern Sindh is home to a large number of Hindus, but has now become a hub of madrasahs of politically motivated and radical brands of fundamentalists. Being just a ten hour road journey from Kandahar and Delhi, Sindh was once a trade hub of Eurasia, Central Asia and Afghanistan during the early 1990s. Hindus in Sindh, particularly in its northern parts, are often kidnapped, plundered, murdered and forcedly converted to Islam by mostly non-Sindhi mullahs or associate criminals. Non-Sindhi mullahs are employed in local mosques.


Converting Sindhi into minority through new settlements


People of Sindh have been protesting against the construction of two settlements, Zulfiqarabad and Bahriya Town. Zulfiqarabad is a new port city covering approx. 242 sq. kms., in district Thatta near Karachi. Bahriya Town scheme, spread over 14 sq. kms., will encompass Karachi and its outskirts. Both projects will settle 10 million people in Sindh in the long run. The construction of these projects is against the will of the Sindhi people because it is a conspiracy to convert indigenous ethnic Sindhi people into minority on their own homeland Sindh.


According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Zulfiqarabad project would likely have a negative impact on Marho Kotri Wildlife Sanctuary. Four talukas (sub-districts) of Thatta district, Sindh, 480 villages, six archaeological sites, 17 creeks of the Indus river delta, 223 kms of coastal belt and over 400,000 people are at risk of displacement.


Employment Rights Violation


Indigenous ethnic Sindhi of Sindh province are not given employment in natural resources exploration and exploitation industries that exploit the natural resources of Sindh.


According to the Pakistan Energy Book 2007, an estimated one million four hundred fifteen (1,000,415 MMcf) million cubic feet of natural gas is produced in Sindh, which accounts for 70.77 percent of Pakistan’s total gas production; Sindh produces 13.87 million barrels of oil, which is 56.36 percent of Pakistan’s total oil production. Oil extracted from Sindh had an annual value of $1.75 billion, out of which the Sindh’s financial receipts are 12.5 percent, and employment share is below 1 percent for indigenous ethnic Sindhi.


In June 2011, the elected parliament in Pakistan, through the 18th constitutional amendment, transferred authority over the country’s natural resources to the provinces that improved their financial share in their own resources. But the amendment has not yet been implemented, and the authority to negotiate exploration of coal reservoirs in Sindh has been unlawfully handed over to the federal government. It is worth mentioning that unearthed coal reserves in Sindh are 175 billion tons.


Until 2008, Sindh consumed 45 percent of its gas production, while Punjab consumed 930 per cent of its total gas production. Despite their highest shares of the natural resources of Pakistan, Sindh and Balochistan are kept out of the development mainstream.


This is validated by the Millennium Development Goals Report of 2005 issued by the Government of Pakistan, which mentions that the oil-, gas- and coal-rich districts of Sindh and Baluchistan had poor indicators of human development. An estimated 76 per cent of Pakistan’s known oil reserves are located in Sindh, but extremely centralised economic and fiscal federalism has given birth to conflict between the province and the centre.


Sindhi are also not recruited into the state services and government. Sindhi are below 1 per cent in the military forces and services of Pakistan. Similarly, Sindhi are not given employment opportunities in civil bureaucracy.   


Non-existence of employment opportunities for indigenous ethnic Sindhi in industries based on the natural resources of their historical and native land is violation of international law. It is violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People: Article 8 (1-e), 15 (2), 16, 17 (3), 21, 23, 31, 32.


Water Rights Violation


The Water Apportionment Accord is an agreement on sharing of waters of the Indus Basin between the provinces of Pakistan. It is based on the water share of Punjab 47%, Sindh 42% Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 8% and Baluchistan 3%. The Accord was signed into effect 25 years ago on March 21, 1991 and is the most significant piece of water legislation in Pakistan after the Indus Waters Treaty, which is an agreement on sharing of waters between India and Pakistan.


Sindh water share, according to Water Apportionment Accord, has never been released to the province in the last 25 years. The accord mentions that in the event of water shortage in Indus River System, provinces will also share water shortage according to the percentage of their water share in accordance with Water Apportionment Accord. Punjab province of Pakistan takes water share of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, both when water is surplus and when water is scarce.


Recently on March 24, 2017 Indus River System Authority (IRSA) told the Government of Sindh that 7,000 cusecs of water from its share has been stolen from Indus. The continuous water theft of Sindh water share by Punjab has caused water scarcity in Sindh, degradation of subsoil water quality, sea water intrusion into Indus Delta and caused millions of dollars loss every year to the people of Sindh.  


Punjab province in Pakistan wants to construct the controversial Kalabagh Dam against which the Provincial Assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have passed unanimous resolutions. If Kalabagh Dam is constructed, the people of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces would be economically and culturally devastated. Besides, Punjab province has opened the Greater Thal canal through which the water share of Sindh is stolen and diverted to Punjab province of Pakistan.


Through this, several international instruments are violated. 

1. Charter of the United Nations: Article 1

2. Universal Declaration on Human Rights: Article 2

3. International Covenant on civil and political Rights: Article 1

4. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Article 1 (1) and Article 1(2)

5. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People: Article 8 (1-b), 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 37

6. Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses: Article 5, 6, 10, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 32


This situation, having multi-dimensional aspects of planned human rights violations in a bid to permanently subdue Sindh and Sindhi people is a crime against humanity. A new human rights approach is required towards Sindh and Sindhi by international community and human rights fraternity.  


At the end, I would like to share briefly some personal experiences. I was poisoned by Pakistani intelligence agencies in Nepal in 2012. While in India, Pakistan requested USA and India for facilitation against me because Pakistan authorities said Zulfiqar Shah is a security threat to Pakistan. 


After persecution on the demand of Pakistan authorities in Delhi, India in 2014, I along with my wife, Ghulam Fatima Shah, had neurological chips inserted in our bodies for a technology that reads / attempts to read brain and memories. 


A voice communication mechanism through satellite was established by USA and India via that technology, and Pakistan officials were facilitated to interact with me. Pakistani officials also invited thousands of people from across Sindh and Balochistan provinces during April 2015 to January 2017. Several orders by Pakistan authorities in front of large numbers of people were given. All this was listened to by the representatives of USA and India. These proceedings are audio-visually recorded with Ministry of External Affairs, India and State Department, USA. During this, Pakistani officials confessed that they have undertaken genocide in Sindh and Balochistan.


Harassment, sexual victimisation of women, torture, enforced disappearances and murders were undertaken during this process that began in April 2015 and is still continuing. Various civil society activists, journalists and political parties’ activists from Sindh and Balochistan were victimised during this time. Orders were given during this period to assassinate, make arbitrary arrests and abduct the activists of several political parties from Sindh and Balochistan.


The author is a Sindhi activist now living in India under UNHRC refugee recognition; based on a presentation at a conference on "Human Rights Abuses in Pakistan", by Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, at New Delhi on 23 June 2017;

User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top