By: Khalid Hashmani
|Sindhis of North America celebrate 25th Convention with gusto and an eye on future generation – By: Khalid Hashmani
St. Louis – July 6, 2009 – The 25th convention of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) was successfully ended in St. Louis , Missouri today. It was a historic event with more than 500 registered attendees. The programs included Adabi (Literary) session, SANA Vision Brainstorming session, several medical seminars, women programs, speaker’s forums, and General Body meeting of SANA members. One of the most important aspect of the convention was extra-ordinary musical, fashion, and plays organized and acted by Sindhi youth depicting conflicts and convergence of the cultures of their new country and their parents’ Sindhi heritage. Indeed it was like witnessing passing of baton from the grey hair generation to the young adult generation of North American Sindhis.
Dr. Mazhar Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor of Sindh University spoke in several sessions sharing his wisdom and candidness about the educational and economic challenges faced by Sindhis in Sindh. Mr. Nisar Ali Khuoro (Speaker of Sindh Assembly) impressed the audience with his forceful defense of the current government led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Mr. Nazir Essani, an irrigation specialist from Sindh with focus on social aspects explained intriguing details about about the long term impact of lack of water on Sindh. Seeing young medical doctors like Mehdi Qalbani, Mr. Shaikh, and Adnan Qalbani explaining complicated medical issues in a scholarly manner not only helped old generation audience but also inspired high school students to pursue excellence in their fields of choice.
The activities organized by the “Family Network” group introduced many families and creating many long lasting friendships. The two nights of Sindhi songs, music, and poetry brought much spiritual relief from day’s hectic activities. A session on Shah Abdul Latif became a spiritual journey in the messages of Shah Abdul Latif leading some one to say that Shah sahib was a Sindhi prophet with guidance and words of wisdom on all aspects of life.
Resolutions Passed at the 25th Sindhi Association of North America Convention St. Louis, Missouri
USA – July 4, 2009
WHERE AS, according to the 1973 constitution the concurrent list of subjects currently under the jurisdiction of Federal government would be abolished by 1983, the said provision still remains in the constitution thirty-three years after the inception of the constitution.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeals to all people of Pakistan including political parties and other components of he Pakistani society to work together to implement the following constitution changes:
2. Water Rights of Lower riparian people
WHERE AS, all provinces signed an accord in 1991 on the equitable distribution of water from the Indus River, Punjab continues to divert large portion of water from the river for its benefit at the cost of Sindh.
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeals to all people of Pakistan including political parties and other components of he Pakistani society to work together to implement a new agreement on the basis of 1945 Sindh-Punjab Water Agreement. We further demand that Sindh should receive due compensation for the reduced water share it has received in the last fifty years. We ask that any funding for expanding the Greater Thal canal is immediately stopped. We ask that the Federal government should assist and promote construction of hydroelectric projects in Sindh that will help to generate new water resources and should refrain from constructing any large or small dams that will or have potential to reduce water for Sindh.
3. Recognize and promote National identities and ensure their majority in their provinces
THEREFORE, this gathering demands that Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, and Sindhi be designated as the national languages of Pakistan. We also demand from the Sindh government to vigorously enforce the 1972 language law in the province and to enact laws that promote further use of Sindhi language in public and private sectors. We further demand that the federal and provincial governments take steps to discourage any mass migrations to Sindh from other provinces or foreign countries that threaten the majority of Sindhis in Sindh. Instead, the government should take steps to create temporary facilities near the affected areas so that any displaced persons can easily return to their homes when the peace and order is restored in those areas. We ask that steps be taken to encourage those have already migrated to Sindh to return to their home countries and home provinces.
4. Sufferings of Sindhis Continue under PPP regime
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis demand that from both PPP and MQM to achieve a balance by bringing an end to continued discriminatory practices and ensuring equitable share of Sindhis in educational and economic opportunities. We ask that both federal and Sindh provincial governments initiate affirmative action programs to alleviate degrading poverty among rural Sindhis and massively increase educational opportunities in rural areas. We further condemn recent killing of three Sindhi demonstrators in Karachi and demand a judicial inquiry and a financial compensation to the families of firing victims.
5. Earmark US Aid for Sindh and Balochistan
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis appeal to the government of the United States and other multilateral aid institutions to specifically earmark assistance to improve health and education in Sindh and Balochistan.
6. Appeal TO PPP and Sindh Nationalist Parties
THEREFORE, this gathering of North American Sindhis demands that PPP and Sindhi nationalist parties begin a dialogue on a joint strategy for alleviating problems faced by Sindhis and bring welfare to rural Sindhis.
7. Restoration of old Districts in Karachi and Hyderabad
THEREFORE, this assembly of North American Sindhis demands that old district structure in the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi cities be restored.
Silver Jubilee Celebreation of SANA
Daily Jang; July 11, 2009
Press Release – SANA: Sufferings of Sindhis continue under PPP regime
In the resolutions adopted at the 25th annual convention that just ended in Saint Louis, MO, SANA said the surrender of duly elected government to the black mail of MQM has worsened the situation as MQM’s domination of the provincial government continues and the development funds are either being diverted to large cities or withheld by the government. It said that Sindhis continue to feel helpless at the inability of the elected PPP government to fulfill the promises that the party made to their constituencies.
SANA demanded that the coalition government in Sindh should achieve a balance by bringing an end to continued discriminatory practices and ensuring equitable share of Sindhis in educational and economic opportunities. It urged that both federal and Sindh provincial governments should initiate affirmative action programs to alleviate degrading poverty among rural Sindhis and massively increase educational opportunities in rural areas.
SANA also condemned the recent killing of three Sindhi demonstrators and demanded a judicial inquiry and financial compensation to the families of the victims.
In another resolution SANA called upon the PPP and Sindhi nationalist parties to begin a dialogue on a joint strategy for alleviating problems faced by Sindhis and bring welfare to rural population.
As the amalgamation and bifurcation of old districts in the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi have failed to live to their promise of progress SANA demanded that old district structure in the cities of Hyderabad and Karachi be restored.
SANA called for autonomy and sovereignty for the provinces according to the 1940 Resolution with only the subjects of defense, telecommunications, currency, foreign affairs and inter-provincial coordination to stay with the federal government. It said the provinces should be given ownership of the oil, gas, mineral and other resources and the Senate should be made more powerful giving it authority to initiate money bills and approve key federal appointments including high court judges and chiefs of the armed forces. Senate should also be recomposed with each province having 25 members.
In a resolution SANA demanded a just water apportionment on the basis of the 1945 Sindh-Punjab agreement, compensation to Sindh for the reduced water share during last 50 years, stoppage of work on Greater Thal Canal and any dams upstream. It asked the federal government to assist and promote construction of hydroelectric projects in Sindh.
SANA demanded that Punjabi, Siraiki, Sindhi, Pushto and Balochi be declared as national languages in Pakistan and 1972 Language Act be implemented.
SANA called upon the federal and provincial governments to take steps to discourage any mass migrations to Sindh from other provinces or foreign countries that threaten the majority of Sindhis in Sindh. It asked for the steps to encourage those who have already migrated to Sindh to return to their home countries and home provinces.
A SANA resolution said that as the economic disparity between rural Sindh and Balochistan with respect to other areas have reached a crisis point particularly in health and education sectors, the USA, other countries and international aid institutions should specifically earmark assistance to improve health and education in Sindh and Balochistan.
A large number of people attended the four day SANA silver jubilee convention. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Sindh, Mazharul Haq Siddiqui and founder of the American Institute of Sindhulogy Dial V. Gidwani were the keynote speakers at the convention while Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khuhro was the main speaker at the convention’s speakers’ session. Other speakers included MNA Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, Dr Suleman Shaikh, head of Mehran TV Ghulam Nabi Morai, secretary Sindh Democratic Forum Zulfiqar Halepoto, Nazeer Essani and Sikander Baloch.
A number of sessions were held during the convention that included a session on hepatitis in Sindh, a Sindhi literary session, a medical seminar, a commemorative program on the occasion of the centennial birthday of Professor Abdul Ali Qalbani, ladies and youth programs and Sindhi music program. Local youth presented fashion show, a humorous skit, dances and other items. Sindhi singers included Ghansham Vaswani from India, Stephen Diwan from New Jersey and Versha and Kiran Manjiani from UK.
Dr Manzur Ejaz wrote on Convention 2009
Injustice to Sindhis