Sufi Munawar Laghari is the Executive Director of Sindhi Foundation based in Washington, D.C., U.S. He is a humble follower of Sindh’s great Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752). An ardent proponent of Sindh and Balochistan’s unity, Mr. Laghari has tirelessly worked for the two oppressed peoples’ freedom from Pakistan.
Sufi Laghari was invited to speak at the SAATH FORUM’s ‘Future of Pakistan Conference 2016’ in London, UK. Aside from his speech, he also presented in writing, a clear message for the Pakistani establishment that reflects the ground realities of the two nations of Sindh and Balochistan today.
We present here Sufi Laghari’s brief speech and the written message for our readers.
The future of Pakistan will be decided by the attitude of the ruling establishment towards the people living within its frontiers, either by force or by its own choosing, and its attitude towards its neighbors. These two parts are where Pakistan has failed miserably; from day one, it has taken away the rights of the Baloch, Bengali, Sindhi, and Pashtun people. They have done so through using Islam, “national sovereignty,” and other mottos that strengthen the ruling elite and nationalities. Tensions between other neighboring countries have helped keeping the army the most powerful group within Pakistan, and, naturally, the Punjabis that have the most soldiers within the army.
The Baloch were denied independence, the government representing the Pashtuns was illegally dismissed, and the Bengalis have been persecuted against: their culture, language, and history being considered inferior. The Bengalis have been forced to accept the ruling nationalities as superior and more worthy of ruling over them. The Sindhis have gotten the worst of both worlds as they have become second-class citizens in their own land; migrants have usurped the Sindhi’s language, culture, and land. Violent persecution against the Sindhis has not been as brutal as the persecution against the Baloch, but it has been just as effective.
With this in mind, asking a Sindhi or a Baloch to take part in a conference that hopes to secure a future for Pakistan, thus consolidating the power of the ruling elite, is unbelievable, especially believing that the Sindhi and Baloch have forgotten these injustices that have occurred to them since the Partition of 1947. Any fair-minded Sindhi or Baloch cannot simply forget this history just because he or she has been invited to a “brainstorming” session where a group of Pakistani intellectuals have been invited to attend; however, I am attending with several reservations.
My views are very clear on Pakistan; Pakistan, as a state, is an extension of colonial power in South Asia. To add on to that, it is a military state and has become an epicenter for global terrorism. In addition, it has always been a “prison” for the oppressed and the illegally occupied nations of the Sindhis and Baloch. Pakistan does not have a future in today’s world.
Such is our tragedy: as long as Pakistan exists, Sindh and Balochistan do not have a future.
Munawar Laghari (Sufi)
Washington, District of Columbia