Sindh: Situation Brought to Attention at HRC
A senior figure of UNPO Members, the Sindhi, has spoken at the Human Rights Council to direct attention to the conditions under which the Sindhi live in
Below are extracts of the speech by Munawar Laghari of the World Sindhi Institute:
6th session of the Human Rights Council: 10 to 28 September 2007
ITEM 4:Human Rights Situations that Require the Council Attention ( 24TH September 2007)
Acting for a better tomorrow
Munawar Laghari (Executive Director, The World Sindhi Institute)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a great opportunity to be present before you all in this fine gathering, based on a noble cause: Human Rights.
I am here to bring to your attention and exhort this commission, to alleviate the suffering of the people of Sindh and Balochistan. My people have been suffering under the grips of military rule and a lack of rights since the establishment of
Sindh and Balochistan, the two southern provinces of
Both these extremely resource-rich, minimally populated and with large swats of pristine areas are strategically important locations, yet most under-developed, poor and most neglected provinces of Pakistan, whose tremendous natural & industrial resources are being exploited for the benefit, not of its people, but a large brutal military of Pakistan and to benefit corporate interest of Punjab.
Sindhis and Baloch are largely disenfranchised. The sheer size of population does not generate a great deal of global interest. The Government of Pakistan […] is sadly supported by a large number of western democracies. Consequently, the concerns pf [of] people in Sindh and Balochistan are brushed aside. Pakistani military & [and] its proxy Islamic fundamentalist groups have been unleashing with the impunity terror upon Sindhis and Baloch.
The Government of Pakistan has actively discouraged and has often ruthlessly suppressed & [and] persecuted any dissemination of information concerning issues of human rights, democracy, economic exploitation, control of resources and environmental in Sindh and Balochistan. Fearing persecution, active and vibrant civil society engagement has unfortunately not materialized and not many non-profit organizations have actively engaged in working for the concerns of Sindh and Balochistan, thus making it incumbent upon The World Sindhi Institute (W.S.I.) to focus its entire energy to struggle for challenges faced by the people in the two southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, now attaining international importance.
Through nonviolent means, The W.S.I. works relentlessly for universal human rights and humanitarian law for the people of Sindh and Balochistan and carries out advocacy on the following main themes:
Enforced disappearances have become a hushed part of a dictatorship for many decades in many countries. The people kidnapped are so harshly destroyed that there is no physical evidence that they even existed. Unfortunately, the kidnappers are also so very proficient in pressuring the families of the disappearances, that few know the true extent of this practice. Finally, in 2002, the International Criminal Court deemed “forced disappearances” as a crime against humanity.
About a year before this statute, in 2001, General Pervez Musharraf took over politically to become President of Pakistan. Since then, disappearances in
Focusing on Balochistan, a Pakistani newspaper reported that at least 3,000 persons are being illegally detained in camps run by the Army and Intelligence Agencies. Notice that these are people being detained, so that the number of 3,000 does not pertain to those captured and executed. These prisoners are mostly male Baloch nationalists, Sindhi activists, professors, labor leaders, journalists and political workers. Amnesty International reported that many others were arrested for allegedly being a part of banned political organizations.
It is impossible to confirm the number of arrests! It is largely because unlawful arrests including kidnapping, detention, torture, and even execution are carried out in secrecy. Moreover, there is a probability that the families of some of the disappeared are reluctant to publicize their cases because of fear of revenge.
According to data collected by the HRCP, of the 600 people that have 'disappeared' over the past five years most are "Baloch nationalists, Sindhi dissidents and even sectarian leaders", from the southern provinces.
Pakistani politicians, media and civil society need to take a stand and hold the government to account so the practice is ended and the fate and whereabouts of all victims clarified. The government of
The World Sindhi Institute works directly with survivors of torture to raise awareness of the global issue and work towards abolishing it. I am myself a survivor of torture in
We continue educational efforts and supports grassroots-level research and prevention work in Sindh.
We urge the Human Rights Council to take notice of all the above-mentioned violations currently happening in
(Source: The World Sindhi Institute)