Book on Pakistan’s politics launched
KARACHI: “There is a dearth of books that would generate thinking among individuals. Usually we get narratives of politicians or generals, who use this medium to glorify themselves,” said Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed at the launch of Abdul Khalique Junejo’s book Politics of change: bitter realities, hard choices organised by the Sindh Progressive Publishers at the Arts Council here on Wednesday.
He also pointed out that no particular group of people dominates the corridors of power in Pakistan. “Some say the Punjabis control everything but the truth of the matter is when Pakhtuns, Balochs or Sindhis enter those corridors of power they, too, become a part of the same set-up. They no longer have the desire to change the character of the state,” he said.
Dr Ahmed who is the director of Pakistan Study Centre at University of Karachi also said he was glad to find a book that not just provides the answers to many burning questions but also raises some important questions.
Human rights activist and civil society specialist Naseer Memon said that in the name of one nation and one religion, there is an alternative history discourse given in our course books but Junejo’s book paints the real picture. He appreciated that the compilation is penned in English as it is the language that reaches international circles. He also pointed out that the Sindhi people somehow seem depressed and hopeless about their situation. “But I want to dispel this belief that we are not doing well. We are, in fact, doing quite well and are seeing the best of times. Challenges are everywhere. All nations have faced challenges at different times and have overcome them, too. Sindhis may not be in numerical majority but that doesn’t mean we become hollow. We can be small but solid,” he said.
Appreciating the writer’s simple way of expressing complicated issues, Baloch leader Yousuf Masti Khan said that Sindhi folk would be better off joining hands with their society rather than with the feudal. Giving the example of the Baloch people, he said while the so-called democratic parties have turned into opportunists, the Baloch are searching for an identity. “According to Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan, a province’s resources are for that province first and only what is extra can be used by the federal government but amendments have been made to take 50 per cent of our resources. What’s more all taxation is going to the federal government as is all our money,” he said.
Advocate Amanullah Shaikh said that Pakistan is made up of a bunch of ethnicities and it is important to understand the problems of each people.
Educationist Waheeda Mahesar said that in general Sindhi people are so oppressed and ignorant about their issues and problems that if a widow is presented with a sewing machine or a sick person easily gets a bed at a hospital, they are happy and satisfied with things. “They need to read the book to understand the issues they face. The establishment sees Sindhi people with open minds or free thought as traitors. Why else would all the Khayabans in DHA be named after anyone but a famous Sindhi? Why don’t I find a Khayaban-i-Latif or a Khayaban-i-Sachchal or Marvi?”
Prof Dr Tauseef Ahmed of the Mass Communications Department of the Federal Urdu University said that usually in our society, the real issues hardly emerge from the surface. “But it is great to find Abdul Khalique Junejo tackling genuine issues in his book,” he said.
Finally, the author, Abdul Khalique Junejo, came to the podium and said that one doesn’t cure illnesses by just remedying their symptoms. “You need to treat the main illness by finding the root of the problem. Throughout our 68-year history, there has been this tug-of-war between the federal government and the provinces. And all nationalist movements here agree that Punjab wants to suck them dry. Now they are taking the help of neighbouring China to help them do that. I just wanted to wake up the people to some of these realities,” he said.