KARACHI: Karachi may be an exception to the civilisations sustained and nurtured by the Indus, observed Sindh High Court Bar Association president Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed here on Sunday.

He was speaking at a programme titled ‘integrating Indus people’ organised by the Sindh Vaas Foundation at the Arts Council.

Barrister Ahmed said that the Malir and Lyari rivers had no ‘historical connections’ with the Indus. He referred to the Google map showing that almost 90 per cent cities of Pakistan were linked with the Indus or its tributaries, some parts comprising greenery while others belonging to deserts of Sindh and Balochistan.

He observed that Balochistan might be an exception to the Indus civilisation and another exception might be Karachi. But he hastened to add that he was not a political or history academic and was expressing his opinion based on what he had read about the Indus civilisation. He suggested that efforts were to be made to find some common bond.

Call to bring together people of diverse cultures living along the river and its tributaries

Referring to the famous book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, Mr Ahmed noted the book suggested that “human beings are unique as they have capability of forming complex and entertain large society based on shared belief”.

He said the shared belief might be different, as it may be religion, ethnicity, nationalism, political ideology, etc. He admitted that it was a difficult process to find shared values.

“We are bound to accept shared principles of humanity and common interests and organise the state on those principles,” he said.

Referring to the barrister’s talk as to whether Malir or Lyari rivers were linked with the Indus River, Prof Dr Riaz Ahmed Shaikh, the dean of social sciences faculty at SZABIST, said that Indus was enriching present day Pakistan. He pointed out that Indus had stretched to Pat Feeder canal in Balochistan, which was not irrigating lands in that province. Similarly, he added, the British colonial rulers had stretched the river and built the irrigation system in Punjab owing to which, the province turned green and rich.

He believed that Indus civilisation had an ‘urban culture’ like Moenjodaro. He said it also needed to be debated as to why Sindh was now called a ‘backward civilisation’.

Dr Riaz pointed out that after collapse of the USSR, scholar Francis Fukuyama wrote a book End of History which, he said, “changes and undergoes adjustments according to the requirements of the times”.

Organiser Jagdeesh Ahuja said that the major objective of the event was to unite and integrate people through discussion on social and political conflicts, accepting the differences and bringing together people of diverse cultures living along the Indus River and its tributaries by recognising Indus Valley Civilisations as a strong bond between them.

Anis Haroon, the Women Action Forum chairperson, Syed Zia Shah, the executive director of the G.M. Syed Foundation, Noor Akbar, Barrister Ravi Pinjani and others also spoke.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2021

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