Excerpts from SANA —Dr Manzur Ejaz
I visited Thar a few years back and have seen Thardeep's innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep
The Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) maintained its unique distinction of being the only secular organisation of expatriates by inviting the most prominent Sindhi from India, Mr Ram Jethmalani, member of Rajya Sabha and president of the Indian Supreme Court Bar, to its annual convention, held on July 2-5, 2010 in Houston. At 87, Mr Jethmalani, vibrant and kicking, delivered one of the most enticing speeches I have heard in the last few years. In addition to Mr Jethmalani, development star from Thar, Dr Sono Khangharani, nationalist leader Dr Qadir Magsi, notable analysts Mr Zulfiqar Halepota and Jami Chandio made very enlightening presentations in various seminars.
Mr Jethmalani was prophetic when he said, "Democracy without education is hypocrisy without limitations," and that politicians have a direct conflict with education because they do not want well-informed constituents who can question them. He may have added some spice to his speech if he had seen the circus of the Punjab Assembly passing a resolution against the media for exposing their fake degrees.
Mr Jethmalani, a successful lawyer and partner of A K Brohi before partition in Karachi, had to restart his life from immigrant camps in India. "I never thought of revenge while going through the miseries of partition and I am still the best friend Pakistan has in India," he asserted. He was very disappointed with the political lot in India as well as in Pakistan. In a light-hearted mood he commented, "Politicians should be changed like diapers and for the same reason."
Speaking on religion he said, "I am not a religious person because so much blood has been shed in the name of religion that navies of the entire world can easily swim in it. Mohammad (PBUH) was the greatest prophet of all times because he assigned more strength to the ink of a pen as compared to the sword. Consequently, Muslim cities became centres of scholarship and Muslims pulled Europe out from the Dark Ages. However, when Muslims became book burners and destroyers of civilisations they were enslaved."
In addition to Mr Jethmalani, another Hindu from Thar, Sindh, Dr Sono Khangharani, shared the development ideas he is implementing to provide housing, water, electricity and education. I visited Thar a few years back and have seen their organisation's — Thardeep — innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep. Dr Khangharani was very modest in presenting his achievements. I wish he had talked more about the innovations he has made in changing conditions in Thar.
Dr Khangharani avoided making any political comments but that was taken care of by one of his companions, Mr Zulifqar Halepota. By thoroughly analysing the 18th Amendment, Mr Halepota showed how this piece of legislation was gender blind by not touching anti-women clauses added to the constitution from Ziaul Haq to Nawaz Sharif. "This amendment does not do much for the constitutional issues facing the common citizens of Pakistan," he concluded
A N G Abbasi, an authority on water issues, asserted that despite the Sindh government's consent, the water agreements with India and between Pakistani provinces were not fair enough. In addition, he argued that these agreements were not adhered to in distribution of water and that Sindh suffered the most because of a shortage of water. He suggested that future plans should be made on the actual availability of water and not on rosy assumptions. During the question and answer session, he took to task the ruling elite for being totally insensitive to the mammoth problems being faced by the common people. He added that constitutional changes were not going to do anything for the people unless the entire ruling elite is replaced. Representing the abadgars, Mr Aslam Baloch also emphasised the role of water shortage in increasing impoverishment in Sindh.
Contrary to expectations, Dr Qadir Magsi focused on the issue of Sindhi nationalism rather than the water issue. Highlighting the role of language and culture, Dr Magsi claimed that Sindhis were secular humanists and peace loving people. However, Sindhis were not passive and could stand up for their own rights. Shedding light on the evolution of Sindh, Dr Magsi said that if the middle classes of Sindhi Hindus had not left, alien people would not have taken over the industry and trade in the province: Sindh would have survived as an independent nation today.
Dr Jan Mohammad Memon and Mr Adnan Kehar, made presentations on education and technology respectively in the seminar on the economic and social issues of Sindh. Coordinated by Muhammad Ali Mehar, SANA's ex-president, Mr Aziz Narejo, presided over the seminar on the socio-political issues of Sindh. It was this seminar in which Dr Qadir Magsi, Mr Halepota and the special guest and keynote speaker, Mr Ram Jethmalani shared their ideas with the audience who had travelled from all around the North American continent.
Earlier in the day, a seminar on medical issues was coordinated by Dr Hafeez Abbasi. Dr Aijaz Turk presented research on colon cancer and Dr Sattar A Shaikh spoke on diseases of the heart. In Sindhi Adabi Sangat, Dr Turk, Jamil Daudi, Munawar Leghari, Jami Chandio and Aziz Narejo recited the poetry of famous Sindhi poets. Mr Mumtaz Chang and Mr Muhammad Ali Mehar recited their own poetry. I missed the thunderous performance of Dr Aijaz Turk this year because of arriving one day late to the convention.
SANA was very innovative in creating programmes for children of different age groups. SANA's website, maintained by Mr Masood Baloch, was inaugurated in the opening ceremonies of the convention. SANA's successful convention was, of course, the result of the hard work of many individuals like its President Valeed Shaikh, Secretary Shabbir Shaikh, Treasurer Dr Maqbool Halepota and other members of the leadership such as Aijaz Memon, Zafar Agha, Jamil Daudi and Sarfraz Abbasi. To SANA's credit, its annual conventions are purposeful and carry a serious tone while better-funded organisations of Pakistani expatriates just end up socialising and wasting money.
The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo. com
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The Sindhi association of North America (SANA) held its 26th annual convention in Houston Texas, USA, from 2-to 5th July, 2010. Theme of the convention was “Sindhi Youth and Future of SANA”.
Sindhi families and individuals from all over from USA, Caribbean, Sindh and other places attended the convention. More than four hundred gathered at the convention and showed their love for Sindh.
Chairman local organizing committee Zafar Agha welcomed present Executive council of SANA in Houston to conduct this memorable convention.
Welcome speech delivered by present general secretary of SANA Dr. Shabir Shaikh. President SANA Valeed Shaikh declared the convention open.
Former General Secretary of SANA, Irshad Kazi talked about the journey of 26 years of SANA and its role to bring together Sindhi community living in USA and Canada.
Information Secretary Aijaz Memon presented a report that SANA is planning to launch educational TV channel in Sindh to spread education in remote areas of Sindh. And discuss the progress of this project that SANA is planning to buy a TV channel already working in Pakistan.
New web site of SANA was launched and inaugurated by SANA EC and invited guests. Masood Baloch, the man behind the website, explained various features of the new website. He said it is more interactive and includes more options. It also has links to websites to listen Sindhi music and Sindhi videos.
This year Convention has significance that involved Sindhi youth living in different states of America and conducted half-day session involving youth’s presentations and different entertainment activities. Youth groups were divided in three categories having sessions according to their interests. A quiz competition was conducted for children under 12 years age group to refresh their memories about family relations names in Sindhi, where large number of children joyfully participated and participants enjoyed cute American English style Sindhi pronunciation of relations in Sindhi by those children.
Under seventeen age youth group included Marui Shaikh, Rehman Memon, Shayan Shaikh, Paras Imdad Sehar, Anshal Brohi, Mashal Brohi talked about Geography, culture, and famous personalities of Sindh and Importance of Sindh in their PowerPoint presentations. This session moderated by Dr. Ali Shaikh.
For above 17 years age group a separate session was moderated by Amal Agha and Omad Jani. Six young panelists included Saagar Shaikh, Marvi Turk, Bakhtawar Hafiz, Shumaila Panhwar, FaryalShaikh, Amal Agha and Omad Jani. All panelist delivered very energetic and emotional speeches and presented their vision of SANA and their role to make SANA attractive for Sindhi youth living in America.
They presented practical and feasible suggestion such as they said that Sindhi families living in USA speak English with their children while this can be reverse. So the young generation will be able to peak Sindhi more fluently which lead their more involvement towards Sindh and Sindhi culture.
They said huge number of Sindhi youth living here is ready to get involved in practical projects for the economic and social development of Sindh and they are eager to lead those projects which can coordinate youth living in Sindh and here in USA.
They suggested SANA leadership to involve more youth in SANA decision making level such as having vice president youth in executive council of SANA.
Litrary session Sindhi Adbi Sangat moderated by Irshad Qazi. Aijaz Turk, Jamil Daudi, Munawar Laghari, Jami Chandio and Aziz Narejo read the poetry of different poets. Sardar Ali Shah visiting from Sindh shared his own poetry. Mumtaz Chang and Mohammad Ali Mahar also recited their poetry.
Medical Seminar was moderated by Hafeez Abbasi where he talked about heart diseases. Dr. Aijaz Turk talked about Colone Cancer and Dr. Sattar Shaikh talked about diabetes.
General Body meeting started by GS Dr. Shabir shaikh and presented last year progress report. Treasurer and information secretary presented their repots.
Fame fund progress presented by Mr Zafar Agha.
Aziz Narejo presented resolutions those were approved by general body. This session concluded by president SANA DR. Valeed shaikh.
General body discussed that how to improve working of SANA, expansion of its membership, donation and contributions and to start charity work in Sindh.
General Body also focused on the Involvement of youth in SANA.
Guest speaker session: Present Day Sindh-water issue and Economy of Sindh moderated by Mohammad Ali Mahar. Speakers included ANG Abbasi, Sono khangharani, Dr Jan Mohammad Memon, Adnan Kehar and Aslam Balouh.
Senior member of Sindh Abadgar Board Aslam Balouch talked about the present Agricultural situation in Sindh and how water scarcity has lead to poverty in Sindh. He said lack of sincere efforts by government has worsened the situation.
Dr. Sono Khangharani cheif executive of Thardeep and Sindh Rural Support organization discussed the progress and importance of Sindh rural support based programs in joint venture with government of Pakistan where he said at this stage they were working in six districts of Sindh. Next year they will expand to more districts. He said this project aims to reduce poverty in Sindh through integrated development.
Adnan Kehar talked about the efforts to establish and sustain IBA sukkur. He said in future they wanted to uplift this institution to university level. Purpose of the institution is to provide international quality education to students belonging to rural areas of Sindh.
ANG Abbasi in his keynote address said that before construction of any dam anywhere in Pakistan assessment should be made to see the availability of water in that area. He said there is a need to make strategy to use surplus water. He said 1991 water accord should be implemented. He said even though Sindhis accepted this accord, justice was not being done to Sindh.
Second part of Guest speaker session moderated by ex president of SANA Aziz Narejo. Topic of this session was present day sindh- Socio political conditions in Sindh. Invited guests for this session included Jami Chandio, Zulifqar Halepoto, Dr Qader Magsi and Ram Jethmalani.
A sindhi writer and journalist Jami Chandio focused on the need to establish institutions that can create leadership for future. He said in urban Sindh, Sindhi middle class has started emerging but facing challenge to continue Sindhi language to next generation because children are taught in Urdu or English.
He said we had galaxy of role model in every field but now we are not preparing role model for future generation. He emphasized on the importance of collective work for national cause and for that we need to change our behavior from individualism to collectivism.
Zulifqar Halepoto talked on 18th amendment and situation of Pakistan. He said that it was a gender blind amendment. He said presently Sindhi writers feeling themselves directionless he said it is important to change ourselves before talking about the changing society.
Dr Qadir Magsi emphasized on the importance of language and culture. He said weakening language means weakening roots of a people. He said Sindh is moving in wrong direction. We are creating more corrupt and broker class. He said we have to progress with new vision, we wanted our integrity back. Sindhi are peaceful and secular nation. He said I wanted to suggest every American Sindhi family to speak Sindhi in their home so their children can come closer to Sindh and Sindhi culture
Chief Guest Ram Jethmalani, former Indian Union minister, member Rajya Sabha and president of the Supreme Court of India said that I am representative of scattered Sindhi people living around the globe. He said I was forcefully separated from my land during partition of subcontinent. I have experienced a living of refugee but I never thought about revenge. In the refugee camp, I decided that if India and Pakistan will not become friends they both will be destroyed, and with that belief I have lived in India. He said I wanted to claim that Pakistan doesn’t have any better friend then me in India. He said I respect all religions and every person has to live his life according to his religious believes.
He said I think it would be not great exaggeration if I say all ships and all the navies of world can swim comfortably in the ocean of innocent blood, which has been shade in the name of religion.
He said corrupt politician and education has a conflict of interest. Once a voter becomes educated then he asks why I am poor and you are rich so corrupt politician always wanted people uneducated.
He said I have thought to share with youth that please have a courage to speak the truth. We are going through very delicate situation today if our youngster do not learn and pickup the courage to speak the truth democracy will never survive, freedom will disappear from your hand and future will remain in the dark.
His emphasis was on the need and importance of education. He said no society can survive without education. Democracy with out education is hypocrisy without limits.
He said there are two signs of Sindhi sabhita (culture). One is internal which is to serve the people and the other one is language. He said essence of sindhyat is secularism.
SANA Convention ended with Banquet Dinner with musical night where Sindhi artists from Pakistan Humaira Channa and Arshad Mehmood performed Sindhi songs.
Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) held its general body session on July 4th, 2010 during its 26th annual convention in Houston, TX. The following resolutions were passed at the general body session:
1. Benazir Bhutto murder case:
Sindhi Association of North America expresses its profound disappointment at the delay in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. It has been more than two years that PPP has been in power but it has miserably failed to pursue the most tragic assassination of its leader.
SANA calls upon the government to take immediate steps to bring the murderers of the late PPP leader to the courts of law and also register cases against the murderers of slain Baloch leader Akber Bugti.
SANA also calls upon the government to pursue the cases of the murder of Murtaza Bhutto, the 12th May, 2007 Karachi massacre, 18th October, 2007 attack on Benazir Bhutto’s caravan and other heinous crimes committed against democracy and the human rights of the people.
2. Global terrorism:
SANA general body expresses its concern over the ongoing terrorism in various parts of the world by terrorist organizations, states and individuals. The SANA general body condemns all forms of terrorism and use of force and violence to further political and other causes and also various states' terrorism against minority populations and also the oppression and violence on the basis of gender and ethnicity. It calls upon the world organizations, civil society organizations, United Nations and world states to increase their efforts to resolve all the issues peacefully.
3. Terrorism in Pakistan:
SANA general body expresses grave concern over the terrorism and violence in various parts of Pakistan. It feels that the growth in the number of terrorist activities in Pakistan emanating from the tribal areas in the Northwest Pakistan and certain areas in the Punjab indicates the complete inefficiency of the security apparatus of the country. The recent spate of attacks in the Punjab province, which targeted the lives and properties of innocent civilians, especially the religious minorities, Ahmedis in this case, indicates an alarming situation, which, if not controlled, may turn the whole country into the killing field for the saboteurs and terrorists.
SANA is also concerned at the organized targeted assassinations of Shia physicians in Karachi and demands of the government of Sindh to immediately redress this grave religious persecution.
The acts of violence and target killings in Karachi are a matter of grave concern. It is feared that they may lead to great strife and bloodshed, as various groups seem to have amassed arms and ammunition to dangerous proportions.
SANA demands of the government of Pakistan to eradicate the safe heavens of terrorists in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and Punjab and obliterate and uproot the terrorists from the country in order to ensure the safety and security of the life and the property of its citizens regardless of their religious, sectarian and ethnic beliefs. It also calls upon the government to take emergency measures to recover all illegal arms and ammunition from Karachi and end all "no go areas".
4. Lawlessness in Sindh:
SANA members feel that the Sindh administration has failed to provide safety and security to the people of Sindh. It is a matter of grave concern that the people feel helpless and at the mercy of the dacoits, lawless elements, feudal lords, land grabbers and numerous Mafias active in the province. The violence and land grabbing in Karachi and lawlessness outside the urban centers have become alarming. The cases in point are recent killings in Karachi and reign of terror in a once peaceful village of Boriri in District Dadu and other villages in the area.
SANA draws attention of the provincial government of Sindh to the complete breakdown of law and order especially in Boriri and other neighboring villages in Dadu district, where, reportedly under the tutelage of a powerful minister, an armed gang of bandits has made the lives of peaceful citizens of the area miserable. Situation has come to such a head that, despite announcement of bounty on the heads of the goons, law enforcement agencies are completely unable to control the situation as a result of which the area portrays the picture of war zone forcing the people to flee from the village abandoning their homes and property worth millions.
SANA calls upon the Sindh administration to take strong action against the dacoits, terrorists, lawless elements and the influential people who provide support and protection to dacoits and terrorists.
SANA feels that it is the prime responsibility of the government to protect the life and the property of the citizens and provide safety and security to the people. The government should immediately act and take strong action to fulfill its responsibilities.
5. Rights of Sindh and the role of the Pakistan and Sindh governments:
SANA general body is of the view that the governments of Pakistan and Sindh have utterly failed to protect and preserve the rights of the people of Sindh in economic, federal, social, cultural and political fields. It viewed with grave concern the inability of both the governments to implement water accord and provide Sindh with its due share in water, their failure to abide by the findings of the Technical Committee on Water Resources and the federal government's decision to build mega dams on Indus River System, the federal government’s unconstitutional tactics to impose Value Added Tax in violation of the principle of federalism, unjust distribution and the ownership of financial and other resources and the lopsided economic development ignoring majority of districts in Sindh.
SANA members feel that the Sindh government has not ably pleaded the case of Sindh at the federal level, and has caused the province incalculable losses. It seems more interested in the so-called reconciliation and toeing the line from Islamabad at the cost of the province. The federal and provincial governments have disappointed the people so much that they are now seriously thinking if the province will ever get its due in the present setup. The people are increasingly losing faith in the federation.
SANA calls upon the Sindh government to change its priorities and give precedence to safeguarding the rights of the province and serving the people diligently instead of appeasement of various interest groups, compromises at the cost of the province, unstoppable corruption, greed and its policies based on political opportunism and expediencies.
6. Undue Punjab pressure on IRSA:
Sindhi Association of North America looks at the unabated pressure tactics by the Government of Punjab on the IRSA to allow water for the Thal canal from the Indus River with great concern. Such activities by the provincial government of Punjab and its adamant demands to construct the controversial Kalabagh and other dams have given rise to disharmony and cacophony within the provinces of the country.
The association demands of the federal government of Pakistan not to give in to the unreasonable demands of the Punjab, keep the constitution of IRSA unchanged and desist from initiating the controversial water related policies as demanded by one province against the wishes of the other provinces.
7. Justice and the judiciary:
Sindhi Association of North America believes in strong and independent judiciary. The organization had supported the reinstatement of the Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2007 when military dictator Musharraf had illegally deposed him. SANA had also opposed dictator Musharraf’s November 3, 2007 coup against higher judiciary and fully supported the lawyers‘ movement.
SANA still believes in strong and independent judiciary but it is puzzled at certain actions of the higher judiciary, which are not seen even-handed to say the least. SANA is of the view that all the Constitutional institutions should work within their domains and should not encroach upon others. Judiciary should not take up person-specific cases only while ignoring similar other cases. It should provide justice to all without any discrimination. Talking of NRO cases, SANA is amazed why higher judiciary is silent on thousands of the cases of criminal nature against a particular group while it is pursuing only a few cases relentlessly.
SANA expects that the independent judiciary should urgently take up Asghar Khan's petition dubbed as “Mehrangate case” lying with the Supreme Court since many years and adjudicate on it, as it is the only major case that has directly challenged the power of the Pakistani military through its notorious wing, the ISI, to manipulate and rig elections, and thereby pollute the whole semblance of a democratic polity in Pakistan
SANA also expresses grave concern at the fact that currently only 7 out of 27 Judges (including CJ) in Sindh High Court and only 2 out of 18 Judges (including CJP) in the Supreme Court are Sindhi-speaking. We believe that under this setup Sindhis have no chance of getting any justice. Therefore SANA demands that Sindhi-speaking Judges should be given their rightful share in Sindh High Court and the Supreme Court.
8. Strong arm tactics by the government against teachers, others:
SANA expresses concern over the strong arm tactics by the Sindh government to tackle the participants of protests and demonstrations. Sindh government has engaged in such acts against various organizations and groups including its highhandedness against Lyari people and recently against teachers. Sindh Government had conducted examinations for teachers and other vacant positions sometime back. It is a matter of great concern that the offer orders were being withheld for no apparent reason. The media carried reports of some of the positions being sold by unscrupulous elements occupying positions of responsibility within the government. Stories also abound of distribution of those jobs to the powerful political elements as bribe in a complete disregard to merit. When teachers held a rally for their rights, the government unleashed police power against them injuring many of them.
Sindhi Association of North America demands of the government to listen to the people protesting for their rights and try to solve their problems peacefully and amicably instead of using force against them. SANA also calls upon the government to ensure transparency in the selection process for all the job vacancies.
9. Equal employment opportunities for Sindhi youth:
The current statistics produced in the houses of Parliament in Pakistan expose the myth of equal opportunity in the country where more than 90% of federal government jobs have been distributed between the Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa – the lion’s share going to the big brother. The trend of employment also shows how the people from other two provinces, Sindh and Balochistan are discriminated against.
Within the province itself, the majority of jobs have been going to the Urdu-speaking people since the dictatorial regime of Musharraf. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed much since the inception of the democratic government where even today almost all the jobs are going to either the Urdu speaking people recommended by MQM, or the close relatives of the ministers and parliamentarians. The stories of jobs being sold in the province for money by the ministers are also being published on daily basis by the media.
Sindhi Association of North America demands that a system be devised where all the citizens of the province have equal opportunities to compete for a government job, with a special quota reserved for the backward areas in the province.
10. Control over provincial institutions:
It is unfortunate that while all the other elected provincial governments in Pakistan enjoy complete control over their provincial institutions, such as, the building control authorities, and water boards, etc., Sindh has been granted the unique distinctions where some of the major provincial institutions are handed over to the city district government of Karachi, in which, due to the highly discriminating policies of the prejudiced city leadership, all the development activities are limited to the areas inhabited by the voters of the minority coalition partner with no development in other areas, such as Lyari, Malir and several villages in Karachi. It is due to this policy of the local group that all the development and employment opportunities are restricted to the people belonging to one linguistic group.
Sindhi Association of North America demands that the control over all the provincial institutions and assets be returned to the provincial government so that equitable development and employment opportunities are made available to the people of the province.
11. Admission policies of Karachi educational institutions:
Sindhi Association of North America is concerned at the discriminative admission policies devised by the previous provincial government and the biased administrations of the institutions of higher learning in Karachi against the youth from other districts of Sindh.
Sindhi Association of North America demands an open admissions policy for the whole province, with a special quota for the backward areas of Sindh.
12. Development schemes in Sindh:
Ever since the PML-N government in 1996, the development activity in Sindh is at standstill resulting in growing unemployment and diminishing revenue generation in the province. While the current inefficient government of Sindh has doled out the 50% revenue of the vast treasures of Thar coal to the federal government, the trillion dollars worth reserves remain unexploited as yet. The work on the schemes such as, Ketty Bandar, Gorakh Hill and other such mega projects remains on hold even during the so-called government of Sindhis.
Sindhi Association of North America demands of the government to resume the work on the development schemes immediately to jump start the economy of the province and create job opportunities for the youth.
SANA also demands that the people from the local area should be trained beforehand to fill the positions when they become available as the work on the mega projects on Thar Coal and others commences.
13. Capacity building:
It is a matter of grave concern that while Sindhis are fighting for just distribution of financial resources and scramble for every rupee from the federal government, inefficient Sindh government is not able to spend even the paltry sum it gets from Islamabad and at the end of financial year, returns billions of rupees to federal coffers. SANA calls upon the government to implement an emergency program to train its staff in all the departments. It should have competent staff to undertake all the development projects in time to utilize all the finances at its hand.
14. Reinstatement of Hyderabad and Karachi districts to previous position:
Sindhi Association of North America is concerned at the PPP government’s abrupt U-turn on the Prime Minister’s remarks to reinstate the Hyderabad district to Pre-Musharraf boundaries under the blackmailing of the minority ethnic group swaying the democratically elected government of Sindh to act against the wishes of the majority of the province. Ironically, the same group that is demanding the continued merger of five large districts of Karachi into one city district government is against the reinstatement of three smaller districts carved out of Hyderabad back into one district.
Sindhi Association of North America is against the re-organization of districts on political basis and demands of the government to reinstate the districts of Hyderabad as well as Karachi to the pre-Musharraf boundaries.
15. Military operation in Balochistan:
SANA is concerned at the continuation of military operation in Balochistan even after the coming to power of elected governments at the center and the province. SANA calls upon the government to immediately stop the military operation in Balochistan and solve all the issues in a peaceful manner.
It also calls upon the government to immediately act in the cases of the forced disappearances and recover all the people illegally arrested by law enforcement and other government agencies.
16. National languages issue:
SANA general body is of the view that Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Siraiki, & Balochi are the languages of the people of Pakistan. These languages should have natuarally been recognized as national languages of Pakistan but unfortunately it has not happened till now.
It is resolved that the languages of the people of Pakistan, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Siraiki and Balochi be immediately recognized as national languages of Pakistan.
|I am just back from Houston, TX after attending 26th annual SANA convention. I just want to thank all the friends involved in the work to hold another memorable convention. SANA EC as well as the local organizing committee did a great job to make it a success. As always there were many things that were managed very well while some needed improvement in the future conventions.
Participants started arriving on Thursday and Friday. Registration desk was open on Friday evening and almost all day on Saturday. We can't imagine this work without Talat Talpur and his wife Nicoletta Talpur. Both are so gracious and hard-working and have done so much for SANA and the community. Youth had their own desk and were busy interacting with each other. EC and AC meeting was held in the evening of Friday and some decions were made about the convention as well as about some future programs and activities.
Head of the local organizing committee Agha Zaffar graciously welcomed all the participants and invited the EC to the stage on Saturday morning. SANA GS thanked the COC, LOC and all the participants. SANA president declared the convention open. It was so good to see our friend Irshad Kazi at the convention after so many years. (Last convention he attended was the one in Washington, DC in 2005). He was assigned to make formal welcome speech at this convention. That he did - with unmatchable flair. It is always good to hear him with his talk interspersed with beautiful Sindhi poetry.
SANA Information Secretary Aijazul Haque Memon made a presentation on the possibilities of launching a SANA educational channel in Sindh. Masood Baloch introduced the new SANA website and invited SANA EC and some guests to formally launch the new website.
SANA youth took the stage after the lunch break. Sindhi youth and future of SANA was the focus at this convention. There were two programs by the youth although the audience was not limited to the youngsters only. In the first program young panelists made presentations and then opened the forum to all the participants. It was an interactive and very interesting session. Many suggestions were discussed. The second program was conducted by Dr Ali Shaikh and Suhail Soomro. Kids made very informative and very impressive presentations.
Details of both the sessions and actually all the sessions would be shared later. This is just the first impressions report.
Sindhi Adabi Sangat was the last session of the day and who could conduct is better than Irshad Kazi. He is superb with rendition of Sindhi poetry. Jami Chandio read some poetry from Shah with explanation. A writer and poet from Sindh, Sardar Ali Shah recited his own beautiful poetry. Mumtaz Chang and Mohammad Ali Mahar - both our own (in-house) poets, Mumtaz from Houston and Mohammad Ali from Austin, TX - recited their poetry and this scribe recited some of Shah's and Shaikh Ayaz'z poetry.
We had medical seminar in the morning on Sunday. Dr Hafeez Abbasi, Dr Aijaz Turk and Dr Sattar Shaikh made very informative presentations. The participants as usual put quite a few questions to the panel that made the session even more beneficial for the audience.
In the general body session, General Secretary Dr Shabbir Shaikh, Joint Secretary Sarfraz Abbasi, Information Secretary Aijuzul Haque Memon and Treasurer Dr Maqbool Halepota presented their reports. After their reports the session was opened to the membership that asked some questions and presented some proposals and suggestions. There was discussion on some points. At the end president Dr Valeed Shaikh made an impassioned speech calling upon the SANA membership to come forward and make the difference. He said that all the members should own the organization, participate in the organizational work, make the suggestions and make them work.
Resolutions were passed at the session and some announcements were made to form some committees. SANA GS will make the announcement about them.
Two very important sessions were held after the lunch break. The first session was titled 'Present Day Sindh: water issue and economy of Sindh'. Mohammad Ali Mahar moderated the session. Former minister of state of Pakistan and provincial minister of Sindh and chairman of the Technical Committee on Water Resources Engineer A.N.G. Abbasi delivered the keynote address. It was an scholarly and very informative and educative speech. We are fortunate to have experts like Engr. A.N.G. Abbasi on the water issue in Pakistan.
His speech was followed by the presentations and speeches from member Sindh Abadgar Board Aslam Baloch, A former SANA member and a CPA Adnan Kehar who is also associated with IBA Sukkur, an NGO 'super man' from Sindh Sono Khangharani and former Vice Chancellor of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Dr Jan Mohammad Memon. It was very well conducted and and very informative session. The participants answered some questions from the audience too.
The next session was titled 'Present Day Sindh: Socio-political conditions in Sindh'. This scribe moderated the session. A Master's student at University of Texas at Austin Natasha Raheja, an activist from Sindh Zulfiqar Halepoto, journalist, columnist, writer and political thinker Jami Chandio, head of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party Dr Qadir Magsi and former Indian union minister, member of Indian Rajya Sabha and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of India Ram Jethmalani spoke in the session.
Honorable Ram Jethmalani's participation and his speech as a chief guest at the convention were the highlight and the defining moment of the 26th annual SANA convention. He is as I said at the session 'one of the most prominent living Sindhi in the world'. He has a very humble, down to earth and a very lively personality. Notwithstanding his age (in a couple of months he would be 87), he attended SANA sessions both the days. He made an spell-binding speech as the chief guest at the convention and received standing applause at the beginning and at the end of his speech.
All the participants were touched by his scholarly speech which was punctuated with his customary humor. He was interviewed by various media channels and you might have already seen him on Geo and other channels. We will try to upload his entire speech for the benefit of the people who couldn't attend the convention.
We had our annual banquet on Sunday. It was very orderly and organized with plenty of delicious food. Lunch boxes were provided on Saturday and Sunday. We also had two nights of great Sindhi music. Humaira Channa and Arshad Mehmood had come from Sindh to perform at the convention. There were some local artists too. Noornisa Ghanghro and Ghulam Mohiuddin conducted the music program.
During the music programs awards were presented to talented children and the organizers of the convention. SANA presented 'life time achievement award' to Dr Mehmood Qalbani for his outstanding services to SANA. Mementos and plaques were presented to all the guest speakers. Traditional gift Sindhi topi and ajrak and special plaque were presented to honorable Ram Jethmalani.
There were special programs for children and youth too.
It is always a nice and rejuvenating experience to attend SANA conventions. I try not to miss any of them. One meets many friends from North America, Sindh and elsewhere and connects with them and with our language and culture. We see children participating in various programs and enjoying and dancing on Sindhi music. That is a sight no one in our community should miss. We missed some friends at the convention this year. Hopefully they will make it next year.