Oct 29, 2018

Sindh: World Sindhi Congress Holds 30th Annual Conference in London

On Saturday 27 October 2018, UNPO Member the World Sindhi Congress held their 30th Annual Conference in London, UK. The conference was an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of issues, including enforced disappearances, violence against religious minorities, systemic poverty, etc. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was also criticised for both governments’ failure to include and consider the indigenous communities in the region, or environmental impact.

The below article was published by ANI:

Sindhi political activists in London have raised a strong voice against the construction of mega dams by Pakistan on the Indus River and abduction of activists who were raising voice against these projects.

The World Sindhi Congress at its 30th Annual Conference on Sindh has requested the international community to intervene to save the cultural identity of the Sindhi people.

Lakhu Luhana, General Secretary of World Sindhi Congress  said, “Sindh is in the face of unprecedented abuses of human rights which include enforced disappearances, the violence against religious minorities, the cavalier attitude of all the components of Pakistan’s state machinery to pursue the construction of mega dams which Sindhi people have always refused and struggled against which will basically suffocate the life of Sindhi people”.

The activists said the state is aggressively pursuing construction of mega projects China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and dams on river Indus without any consideration of rights of indigenous Sindhi people and the environment.

Lakhu said, “the construction of CPEC is anti-people and anti-environment and without any consultations of Sindhi people and their rights. That’s the situation putting Sindhi people in great disadvantage, pushing them into perpetual poverty, suffering, pain, disease, and disfranchisement and that’s the situation that we are in and we want to inform the international community and mobilise the support of the international community to help Sindhi people in their struggle for human rights”.

The conference was attended by Reham Khan, ex-wife of Pakistan’s cricketer-turned Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shahriar Kabir, a political analyst from Bangladesh and activists from Sindh in Pakistan, who highlighted the grim human rights situation in the province.

Rubina Sheikh, Chairperson of World Sindhi Congress, said, “We feel the construction of these projects is a threat to the survival of Sindhi people. Disappearances are also related to the people who are protesting against these dams. People are being harassed and kept quiet because they are raising voice against that violence”.

Dr. Hidayat Bhutto, a Sindhi political activist, added: “Enforced disappearances have increased in Sindh in recent months and we have genuine concerns about our political workers, our human rights activists, journalists as more than 1200 cases have been reported in recent years”.

“We will highlight this issue to the international community and we will tell the international community to help us and press upon Pakistan to stop this practice of enforced disappearances. Also, they have started building dams on Indus River and they have started a campaign on Pakistani media and we want to tell them that Sindhi people are against the construction of these mega-dams on Indus River as they have already destroyed our delta. The sea level is decreasing and they are encroaching our land, our livelihood, our agriculture, the fisheries, and everything is at stake because of these dams,” said Bhutto.

The panelists stressed on the protection of rights of Sindhi people, ending enforced disappearance, action against perpetrators and holding the Pakistani government accountable.

Photo courtesy of ANI