Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jehad and ethnic oppression

Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement alleges
By R.C. Ganjoo

Interview with Abdul Majed Kanjoo, Seraiki National Party Chief

Under the aegis of Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM), Seraikis, Sindhis, Baluchs and Pashtoons have been struggling for a new constitution of Pakistan according to 1940 resolution so that they get their fundamental rights, deprived to them since the Constituent Assembly was held in 1970.

The simple reason being that the South Punjab region has been totally ignored by successive regimes. Now, the people of Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Kot Adu, Khanewal, Kabirwala, Jhang, Sargodha and Rajanpur, speaking a distinct language called Saraiki, are also agitating for a separate state called Seraikistan.

Multan, the Mool Sthan

Multan stands on the junction of Punjab and Sindh and represents a confluence of different cultures and civilisations. A local historian has described Multan as the mool sthan—meaning original place where, in the ages gone by, the Babylonian and Dravidian cultures had intermingled. Later on, Arabs contributed to the evolution of this region’s culture.

In an exclusive interview Seraiki National Party (SNP) chief Abdul Majed Kanjoo said: “Pakistan is being run without any constitution and negates democratic and human values. Pakistan is a jail for the oppressed Seraiki, Sindhi, Baluch and Pashtoon people.” Excerpts:

What is the status of Pakistan in the present context of a global war against terrorism?

In the light of the changing global scenario, Pakistan stands exposed before the world. Pakistan has a multinational character but is being run by a unilateral form of government. Since Pakistan came into existence regions and communities have been negated. Just one class of rulers including the elite in connivance with the Army has been in command. Pakistan’s position was got dented after the 9/11 incident when the US pointed an accusing finger towards it. It is an open secret that on US directive Pakistan had to cut its relationship with the Talibans, Afghanistan and with mullahs instantly. But it is not so easy to snap the age-old relationship at one go. Pakistan has a covert pact with the Taliban and the 7/7 attack in London is the evidence before the world. Training camps are very much intact. Osama bin Laden is very much alive and active in the Wazaristan district of Pakistan. Osama bin Laden has purchased Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Do you think that US forces failed in keeping check on terrorist activities in Pakistan?

US has been able to muster the support from a section of the Pakistan Army whereas the nexus between Army and the Punjabis is quite formidable. Pro-US faction in the Army is hand in glove with anti-US lobby.

Pakistan has not learnt any lesson from the fall of Afghanistan. The mullahs are taking Pakistan on to the path of Iran and are moving towards Talibanisation. What I foresee is that behind this whole thing is the invisible hands of the anti-US lobby. Pakistan is heading towards disintegration, which is a dangerous trend.

Historically, Punjabis always supported the powerful rulers or invaders and have always been beneficiaries. When the British were powerful enough to hold the colonies, the Punjabis extended full support to them for recapturing Delhi in 1857. From then on, up to the creation of Pakistan, Punjabis were more close to the British than even Jinnah. First the British and than Americans have interests in this part of the world since the 18th century. Since then Punjab has been performing the role of a caretaker to safeguard that interest.

The target of the Punjabi lobby is to bring Kashmir into their fold, their interference in Kashmir means nothing but expansion of Punjab. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad has placed selected Kashmiri parties on the list of ISI according to the Prime Minister’s directive of 1975. They are shareholders of the benefits of conspiracies. Many Kashmiris are settled in UK and the US and whatsoever influence they have there is utilised by the Punjabis to muster public opinion in their favour.

In this process what role has Pakistan’s secret agency ISI been playing?

In Pakistan, religious organisations instigated by ISI have been chanting anti-American slogans so that the Americans should know that the controversy has not ended. Under these circumstances, the 9/11 act of terrorism occurred. So America declared a war against terrorism and decided to stay on in the area. Punjabi Army establishment is now a part of American coalition warring against terrorism.

The ISI has also established fundamentalist religious organisations in Seraikis areas making it a centre for terrorist acts in and around Pakistan. Purpose being to promote camouflaged state terrorism against Seraikis struggle for their national rights.

So much so the MMA (Muthidia Majlis Amal), the conglomeration of 67 religious parties in the National Assembly of Pakistan, is playing the role of opposition according to doctrines of camouflage. Noticeably they won the elections from Pakhtoon and Baluch areas bordering Afghanistan with the backing of ISI. But the real forces in Pakistan are the genuine leaders of respective political parties who are kept at bay.

What do you say about peace process between India and Pakistan?

The peace process will also certainly benefit the oppressed community of Pakistan particularly Seraikis. About 50 millions Seraikis in Pakistan who are the most oppressed nation, excluding 30 million in India who migrated from their homeland at the time of partition, are cut off from their roots. If they come closer to each other, they will become the dominating community and will raise their voice against Pakistan’s Army rule.

We have also demanded the revival of the centuries-old, Multan-Delhi route to boost the ongoing peace process between the two countries and enable the divided families of this region to get united. The Multan-Delhi road passes through Pakpattan to Bathinda from where it can lead to Patialia (Punjab) and Panipat (Haryana) besides a famous railway line from Samasatta junction to Bahawalnagar and then Ganganagar and Bathinda up to Delhi should also be opened up.


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