KARACHI - As the people across the country celebrated Pakistan Day on Sunday, a large number of people under the banner of a nationalist cum separatist group participated in a ‘Freedom March” in Karachi, demanding a separate, independent status for Sindh province.
Led by Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mohaz (JSQM) leaders, people from across the province – wearing Sindhi caps and Ajrak and chanting ‘Sindh Ghuray thee Azadi’ (Sindh wants freedom) – thronged MA Jinnah Road and rallied from Numaish Chorangi to Tibet Centre.
The two lanes of the MA Jinnah Road from Tibet Centre to Taj Complex were filled with people holding party flags and chanting slogans for freedom of the Sindh from the Pakistan. Though exact number of the participants could not be fairly estimated, JSQM leaders claimed that over 0.2 million people participated in the rally.
Before the speech of JSQM’s chairman Sunan Qureshi, who led the march, the anthem of Jeay Sindh was also sung by the participants. Qureshi in his speech blamed security and intelligence agencies for killing his uncle Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho, declaring them as “Martyrs of Freedom March”. The separatist leader appealed to the UN and world powers to help Sindhis get independence from Pakistan.
Following JSQM chief’s speech, funeral prayer Maqsood and Wadho were offered by the marchers. Their bodies were placed in an ambulance parked in front of the bridge at Tibet Centre, which was used as stage for delivering the speeches by nationalist party’s leaders. The two leaders were found dead with their bodies burnt up two days ago at Bhirya Town in Naushahro Firoze district of Sindh.
Representatives of other Sindhi nationalist parties including Syed Zain Shah of Sindh United Party (SUP), Sindh National Party (SNP) Chairman Amir Bhanbhro, Chairmen of their own faction of Jeay Sindh Mohaz (JSM) Abdul Khaliq Junejo and Riaz Chandio, Sindh Tarqi Passand Party (STPP) leader Gulzar Soomro, Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) leader Mazhar Rahojo, Sindh Qaumparast Party Chairman Qamar Bhattti and others participated in the funeral prayer and freedom march of the JSQM.
An MQM delegation led by its coordination committee member and MPA Asfaq Mangi earlier in the morning went to the residence of JSQM’s chairman and expressed their solidarity and condolences. Earlier, the people coming from across the province gathered at Gulshan-e-Hadeed, from where they in caravans of vehicles and led by of JSQM chairman Sunan Qureshi, vice chairman Dr Niaz Kalani and Asif Baladi reached at the venue of the march at MA Jinnah Road. Besides men, a large number of women and children also participated in the freedom march.
JSQM chairman in his brief speech alleged that murder of Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho was continuation of the killing spree started by the state with his father Shaheed Bashir Khan Qureshi’s killing over organising the freedom rally at the same venue on March 23. He termed the Urdu-speaking people “our equal brothers” and part of Sindhi nation. Referring to MQM, he warned against policy of divide and rule saying that Sindh was there indivisible motherland.
Maqsood Qureshi also criticised establishment’s policy of supporting the extremist religious groups, saying that Sindh is land of the sufis and secular people where religious extremism does not exist nor there was any ‘Sindhi Taliban’ present in the province. He also referred the influx of illegal immigrants and people from other areas of the country in Sindh, demanding sending them back.
The nationalist leader presented a brief history of “injustices with Sindh and plundering of its resources by the Centre”. He said the people of Thar were dying of hunger and malnutrition, while 28 percent of Sindh population had fallen victim to the Hepatitis B and C because of lack of clean drinking water. He announced that his party will continue following the ideology of GM Syed, who spread message of freedom of Sindh and struggled to secure an independent status for the province through nonviolent means.
SMIU TO ORGANISE SEMINAR
APP adds: Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) will organise a three-day 2nd International Seminar `Sindh through the Centuries', at a local hotel from March 24, at 9.00 am.
According to statement issued here on Sunday, around 60 scholars, researchers and historians from Pakistan and abroad will read papers during ten sessions of the mega event.
The inaugural session will be chaired by Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, leader of opposition in National Assembly while Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, will be the chief guest. Renowned intellectual, historian and former education minister of Sindh Dr Hamida Khuhro will present keynote paper. Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor, SMIU will deliver the welcome address.