Houston: SALO holds conference on “Then Bangladesh, Now Sindh, Balochistan and Pakhtunistan”

Houston, Texas: South Asia Libertarian Organization held a conference on “Then Bangladesh, Now Sindh, Balochistan and Pakhtunistan” to discuss the “Existence of national question in Pakistan, Independence of Bangladesh and post-1971 India-Pakistan War Politics” in the region.

Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun activists protest human rights violations

Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali activists staged a protest demonstration against the enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killings of Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun political and civil society activists, in front of Pakistani Consulate in Houston, Texas. The protestors condemned the enforced disappearances and demanded the release of missing persons abducted and detained by Pakistani LeAs. The protestors also condemned the forced conversions and marriages of Sindhi Hindu girls allegedly backed by Pakistani state institutions. Protestors were carrying the placards picturing Sindhi and Baloch missing activists and Sindhi Hindu girls forcedly converted and married to Muslim men. The protestors appealed the UN, US, EU and the international community to take serious notice of the Pakistani state atrocities against Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun political activists, journalists, publishers, human rights defenders and the forced conversions and marriages of Sindhi Hindu girls. “Pakistan is persecuting, enforced disappearing, killing and assassinating Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashtun political activists. Pakistani state is backing the persecution of religious minorities, forced conversions of Hindus, Ahmadis, and Christians and forced marriages of their girls. The international community must not acknowledge such a country as a state but if they do, they must force Pakistan to obey international laws and comply with the UN’s charter of Human Rights. We demand international community to assure the protection of Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun people and religious minorities” they stated.

“Then Bangladesh, Now Sindh, Balochistan and Pakhtunistan” Conference

South Asian Libertarian Organization held a conference titled “Then Bangladesh, Now Sindh, Balochistan and Pakhtunistan” on the independence day of Bangladesh at Houston University. Prominent Sindhi, Baloch, Bengali and Pashtun speakers discussed the “Existence of national question in Pakistan, Independence of Bangladesh and post-1971 India-Pakistan War Politics” in the region. They highlighted the identity crisis, the plight of oppressed nations and state-backed grave human rights violations of Pakistani state since its very birth that led to the massacre of 3m Bengalis in 1971 and post-1971 identity crisis in Pakistan.

Zafar Sahito, the organizer of JSMM US chapter read out the message of JSMM Chairman Shafi Burfat to the attendants of the conference. JSMM Chairman highlighted the crisis of federalism in Pakistan after it’s creation in 1947 and deemed it’s creation to be a “British plan to retain it’s control over Indian ocean”, in his message. He criticized the “Two nation theory”, an outcome of divide and rule policy, and it’s role the creation of Pakistan, which according to him was a blunt denial of the history, cultural diversity,  objective identities, and nations that existed before the colonization of India. “The unnatural state of Pakistan is an imperialist fascist military occupation, Punjabi hegemony, which is standing upon the continuous genocides, massacres, human rights violations and bloodshed of the historic natural nations and its existence is the death warrant for the existence of these nations. Islam, Urdu, Army, ISI, Engineered Democracy and Engineered Judiciary is the deceptive tactics of this theocratic state which are “the holy cows and criteria” defining dogmatic Pakistani patriotism and whoever dares enough to confront them is doomed to be slaughtered above any humanitarian law” he added. He appealed international community to formulate a resolute international front to emancipate the oppressed nations from the state of Pakistan for this is the only way to skip another massacre worse than that of Bengal in 1971.

Senior Sindhi Journalist Asad Chandio also spoke to the audience at the occasion. “We Sindhis are the pioneers of human civilization but today we are denied even basic rights of freedom of speech and expression by the Pakistani state. They abduct our Sindhi Hindu girls, convert them forcibly and sell them to the fanatic mullahs who marry them forcibly. Sindhis and Balochs are experiencing same persecution and atrocities today as were Bengalis in 1971” he said. He highlighted the recently forced conversions of 300 Sindhi Hindu families in Thatta district of Sindh and activities of ISI backed Jamat-ud-dawa in Sindh. “We have been plundered in the name of Islam since. But we rebel every sacred name either be it a religion or ideology that deprives Sindhi people of their identity, rights, and land” he added.

Swapn Bhattacharjee, a Bangladeshi Hindu Community leader, who was also a former resident of Pakistan presented a presentation regarding the atrocities of Pakistan in Bangladesh during 1971’s war of independence.

A Bengali Freedom Fighter Kamal Khan said that “In 1947, the colonial British Raj divided the subcontinent on unnatural grounds. Pakistani’s and Bengalis had nothing common other than religion. Bengalis had no other status than slaves in Pakistan. The beaurocracy was West Pakistani and Punjabi rulers and Urdu language were forcibly imposed upon Bengalis. Hundreds of Bengalis were slewed in language riots in 1952. Bengalis made 3m sacrifices in 1971 to get freedom from this fascism.”