DIVISIVE tendencies in any society can only cause harm. With political parties having formed their own wings in various social segments, the national fabric seems to have been weakened to the extent that not struggle for economic rights may be launched … or so it seems.

Tracing the history of social divide, Karachi Bar Association President Naeem Qureshi said it all started after the assassination of Khan Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951. “And then came Zia’s regime and, subsequently the culture of corruption … We have lost our values as Muslims and as human beings. No trade unionist now lives in a small house or apartment as they are all doing politics in their own vested interest.”

Sindh Abadgar Board General Secretary Mohammad Nawaz said he had not seen any major synchronised struggle in Sindh for two decades, and he had no hope for the future as there was a leadership crisis.

Dr Shershah Syed, of Pakistan Medical Association, traced the roots of the problem in the Zia regime. “Since then vested interest has played its role, and today there are divisions along all possible lines,” he said.

Labour leader Kaneez Fatima said an unholy nexus had suppressed the labour movement and usurped their rights. “Imagine a democratic government, led by a capitalist, bans unions in KESC which is restored by a general,” she said. “Then came the NGOs which corrupted the labourers,” she concluded.

Karamat Ali, of Pakistan Institute of Labour Educa­tion and Research (Piler) said society stood divided and fragmented as planned by the vested interests. “The rulers are pursuing a policy of divide and rule as was done by the British in the subcontinent,” he said, adding that the social elite wanted to maintain the status quo.

Syed Uzair Ahmed Madni of Sindh Teachers Forum said that intellectually and psychologically “we are a nation besieged” where everyone wants the other to set things right. “Even NGOs and labour unions are pursuing their own interests,” he said.

Student leader Yasir complained that despite assurances by successive governments, the student unions had not been restored, leaving the students to look up to political parties for the solution of their problems. When leadership was not being produced from the grassroots level, how it can be effective, he wondered.

Published in Dawn March 22nd , 2015


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