VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN SINDH INCLUDING DEATH IN CUSTODY OF SAIN GM SYED
His Excellency GM Syed, 92 years old Father of the Sindhi nation, passed away in Karachi, Sindh on 25th April 1995. Ghulam Murtza Syed, commonly known as GM Syed was born in Sann in the district of Dadu, Sindh on 17th January 1904 and was the descendant of the famous Saint of Sindh Syed Haider Shah Kazmi. He began his political career at the age of 14 and in 1919 he became the President of the local board of his own Teshil. In 1937 he was first elected as a member of the Sindh Legislative Assembly and became the Minister of Education of the Sindh Government in 1940. He had obtained mastery over Sindhi and English languages and was in full command of Urdu, he was also conversant with Arabic and Persian languages. His reputation as a very enlightened scholar is known far beyond the borders of Sindh. GM Syed wrote more than 65 books on numerous subjects, ranging from literature to politics, religion, culture and philosophy. GM Syed proposed the Pakistan Resolution, 1940 in the Sindh Assembly, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan. However, he became the first political prisoner of Pakistan because of his differences with the leadership of the country, as he believed that they had deceived the Sindhis. In 1971, disappointed with national politics, GM Syed found no option but to demand the Right of Self Determination for the people of Sindh. His immense contribution to the rich culture of his Motherland and the boldness of his political views condemned GM Syed to spend more than 31 years in prison since the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
On 19th January 1992, GM Syed was put under house arrest and his house was declared a sub-jail. He has been detained without trial until his death and has been adopted "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International (ASA 33/WU02/94) and by Human Rights International (HRI/GA/04/95). Mid-March this year, GM Syed was admitted in Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre in a critical state. Inspite of appeals from Amnesty International, Human Rights International, various NGOs, Parliamentarians and personalities throughout the world, the Government of Pakistan refused to try him in any Court of Law and provide the necessary facilities for his medical treatment abroad. The Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rdt. Gen. Nasirullah Babar in a statement in the National Assembly said: "... we will not try GM Syed in a Court of Law, as we do not want to make a martyr of him, but we want him to die a natural death".
Human Rights International strongly feels that the deliberate delay by the authorities of implementing the adhoc procedures for him to be transferred and treated abroad obstructed any possibility of saving his life. Furthermore, HRI fears that the death of His Excellenncy GM Syed may occasion more tension in the region and that the decision by the Federal Government, reflected in a statement made by the Prime Minister today, to crack down on "terrorists" in Karachi may offer the ideal opportunity for the authorities to cover up more repressive operations on the Sindhi democratic and secular movements.
I am deeply sorry to hear about the death of H.E. GM Syed. I had tabled two motions at the last Parliament which were supported by a large number of MPs, asking for the release of GM Syed to allow him to receive medical care either in the USA or in England. I made this special request because of the age of GM Syed and I am extremely disappointed that the Pakistan Government did not accede to our request.
Peace to His soul.
Thank you Mr Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for your presence in this very sad occasion of the passing away of His Excellency GM Syed. It is in homage to His Excellency that this Press Conference is being held, I take this opportunity in the name of Human Rights International to respectfully present our condolences to his family, his friends and his faithful followers. Those who know about the history of the Indian sub-continent are well aware that Ghulam Murtza Syed is one of the great man of this century who contributed to the historical changes of the region. He fought for the liberation of British India from the colonial rule, he proposed the Pakistan Resolution, 1940 which laid down the foundations of Pakistan and later continued to be an active politician in Sindh and a renown writer who sacrificed his life for the rights and dignity of his people. Human Rights International expresses its deep disappointment that despite numerous appeals to the Government of Pakistan, GM Syed was denied the fundamental right to free and fair trial and that in his last days he was denied the necessary facilities for proper medical treatment. His Excellency GM Syed had been adopted "Prisoner of Conscience" by Human Rights International (HRI/GA/04/95).
HRI has been studying the issue of Sindh for the last 9 months. According to historical records, Press articles and local reliable sources gross violations of Human Rights against the original Sindhi population are taking place both in rural and urban Sindh. In the present context of violence and social disorder in Sindh nothing protects the Sindhi population against the continuous denial of its cultural, social, economic, civil and political rights, resulting in physical human rights abuses. According to reports, the regular military operations conducted by the national army carry the responsibility for the killings of hundreds of innocent Sindhi civilians while the local authorities and police, on the basis of ideological discrimination, are responsible for numerous rapes, torture, death in custody and extra-judicial executions of innocent civilians and political workers.
HRI has established a list exposing the cases of 65 victims of death in custody and extra-judicial executions which took place between October 1993 and December 1994. We are particularly concerned with the cases of Mr. Bashir Qureshi, Dr. Dodo Maheri and Mr. Sattar Morio, who have been tortured in custody and denied medical care. HRI is also concerned by the continued arrest and detention of political workers, students and intellectuals who stand for their ideology and the rights of the Sindhi population and we appeal to the government of Pakistan for their immediate release or free and fair trial as per national law and international human rights standards. Regarding the social and economic rights of the indigenous people of Sindh, a strongly centralised national economic policy, endemic corruption in the whole country and a defence budget largely exceeding the country's need (depriving the social sectors of their due share) with an expected increase this year, highly contribute to the social and economic depravation of the population and have a direct impact on the lackof education,lack of medical facilities, no access to drinking water and lay down the foundations for the deep discontent of the Sindhi population who tries to find other avenues for the progressand development of its society. HRI also expresses its deep concern at the increase of violence and acts of terrorism targetted at the local Sindhi population and perpetrated by several armed factions, among which, Islamic rival groups and the Mohajir Qami Movement (MQM), representing the migrant community settled in Sindh since 1947, responsible for widespread acts of terrorism with the design of capturing power in Sindh, where they hardly represent 20 % of the population. The danger is perceived of continuous rise of violence due to ressented cultural dillution occasioned by continuous transfer of population and the demand of the MQM for a "separated homeland" in Sindh.
HRI particularly dedicates its efforts to peace throughout the world. We are looking to the future and hope the the government of Pakistan will realise the urgency of the situation with full commitment to the implementation of Human Rights principles. We stress the need for the government of Pakistan to establish with no delay a constructive dialogue with the Sindhi people who carry the heritage of democracy, peace and secularism of a centuries' old civilisation.
His Excellency GM Syed, 92 years old Father of the Sindhi nation, and Chairman of World Sindhi Congress, passed away in Karachi, Sindh, on 25th April 1995 at 4.00 am, local time. May GOD rest his soul in peace in heavens. Ghulam Murtza Syed was born in Sann in the district of Dadu in Sindh on 17th January 1904. He began his political career at the age of 14. In 1937 he was elected as a member of the Sindh Legislative Assembly and became the Minister of Education of the Sindh Government in 1940. G M Syed proposed the Pakistan Resolution of 1940, in the Sindh Assembly, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan. However, he became the first political prisoner of Pakistan in 1948 when he opposed the separation of Karachi from Sindh. Because of his differences with the leadership of the country he spent most of his life in prison as he believed that the Sindhis had been deceived. In 1971, disappointed with national politics, GM Syed found no option but to demand the Right of Self Determination for the people of Sindh. His Excellency GM Syed always believed in a non violent, democratic, peaceful struggle. He loved and respected even those who looked at things from different angles or who had political differences with him. For decades, Sindh had been the centre where the whole of his love and energy were concentrated. His life ambition was to secure a rightful place for Sindh. On 19th January 1992, GM Syed was once more put under house arrest and his house was declared a sub-jail, and was detained without trial until his death. He was adopted "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International (ASA 33/WU02/94).