Rally urges apex court to take notice of ‘move to occupy Sindh’s islands’

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THE protesters hold a sit-in outside Hyderabad Press Club on Friday.—Dawn
THE protesters hold a sit-in outside Hyderabad Press Club on Friday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Peasants, scholars, literati and activists of several Sindhi nationalist groups on Friday took out a rally under the aegis of the Porhiyat Mazahimat (Peasants’ Resistance) against establishment of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) by the federal government for development of islands located off Karachi’s coast.

The rally started from Shahbaz Building Chowk and culminated in front of the local press club, where the participants held a sit-in. They demanded withdrawal of the PIDA ordinance and urged the apex court to take suo motu notice of the matter.

Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party (STP) leader Hoat Khan Gadehi told the rally that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) must get a resolution adopted in the Sindh Assembly against the ordinance. “The federal government has attempted to occupy islands of Sindh and Balochistan,” he claimed, and said that no such move would be accepted. This peaceful protest would continue, he added.

Sindh United Party (SUP) leader Roshan Buriro said that this rally reflected conscience of the people of the province who, he remarked, “will not accept any attack on Sindh’s integrity”.

Mr Buriro claimed that construction activity on the twin islands had started before the ordinance was issued. He also claimed that local communities had been displaced while Bengalis and Burmese were busy fishing there.

“Although the PPP has the mandate to rule over Sindh, it will not be allowed to work against Sindh and its resources,” he said, adding that the people of Sindh would protect all its resources.

The SUP leader warned that if the lawmakers belonging to the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) “betrayed” Sindh, the masses would not forgive them. He said the GDA should also join the agitation.

Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leader Deedar Sham criticised all moves to usurp resources of Sindh and remarked that the province had been made “a colony of Punjab”.

He was of the view that stronger forces were occupying the islands due to weakness of the people of Sindh. “We, the people of Sindh will have to show unity to protect the resources and integrity of our province,” he stressed.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Sindh coordinator Imdad Chandio said the federal government must understand the reaction of Sindhi people, who could not tolerate any attack on its geography, heritage and resources.

He said if PPP did not stand up to support the people of Sindh, it would be forgotten in history.

Dr Akash Ansari said that those who were auctioning Sindh’s resources were sadly mistaken to believe that people of Sindh were sleeping. “They must understand that things and conditions have drastically changed from the past; today’s youth are well aware of their rights,” he said, adding that the federal government could not occupy these resources in collusion with the Sindh government.

Writer Jami Chandio said that the islands were property of Sindh and not a single inch of the province’s property would be handed over to the investors involved.

He noted that it was due to the pressure from the masses that forced the Sindh government to rescind its earlier decision.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020