Abdullah Khan Maehashi, Abdul Fattah Memon, Abdul Majid Khan Jatoi, Qazi Abdul Memon, Jam Bashir Ahmed, Dahar, Mir Ahmed Khan Talpur, Ahmed Khan Rajpar, Ahmed Khan Bhutto, Mir Ahmed Khan Pathan, Thakur Aidana Singh, Begum Aisha Aziz, Ali Asghar Shah Shirazi, Mir Ali Ahmed Khan Talpur, Ali Bilal Khan Domki, Sardar Ali Gohar Khan, Ali Gohar Khuhro, Ali Hassan Mangi, Ali Mohammad Rashdi, Ali Nawaz Khan Dharejo, Mir Ali Nawaz Talpur, Pir Aali Shah, Mir Allah Bachayo Khan, Khan Allan khan Leghari, Amir Bux Mehr, Jam Amir Ali Khan, Agha Badruddin Durrani, Mir Bande Ali Talpur, Dharam Das Motu Mal, Dost Mohammad Hakro, Faiz Mohammad Sandal, Faqir Mohammad Unar, Haji Fazal Mohammad Khan Leghari, Haji Ghulam Ali Memon, Haji Khan Mohammad, Syed Ghulam Hyder Shah, Haji Pit Shah, Syed Ghulam Haider Shah s/o Nawab Shah, Ghulam Qadir Narejo, Ghulam Nabi Daharaj, Ghulam Rasool Jatoi, Pir Ghulam Rasul Shah Gilani, Ghulam Rasul Kehar, Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, Haji Gul Mohammad Khero, Gullji Mehngwar, Hamid Hussain Farooqi, Mir Allah Bux Talpur, Mir Jafar Khan Jamali, Jan Mohammad Bhai Khan, Qadir Bux Tunyo, Syed Kararo Shah, Syed Khair Shah, Khan Mohammad Bozdar, Mehbub Shah, Pir Rasool Bux Shah, Mamun Khan Malkani, Syed Mehr Ali Shah, Haji Maula Bux, Syed Mubarak Ali Shah, Qazi Mohammad Akbar, Sardar Mohammad Qamar Ali Shah, Mohammad Ashfaq Siddique, Mir Mohammad Box Talpur, Mohammad Box Khan Sarki, Haji Mohammad Hassan Bux, Syed Mohammad Hassan Shah, Haji Mohammad Hayat .Junejo, Sardar Jafar Khan, Syed Mehdi Shah Jhandeywaro, Mohammad Yusuf Chandio, Makhdum Mohammad Zaman Talibul Maula, Syed Qamar Zaman Shah, Baqadar Shah, Hall Najmuddin Leghari, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Sardar Nor Mohammad Khan Bajarani, Nor Mohammad Rahmunr, Syed Nur Mohammad Shah, Rahim Bux Soomro, Rasool Bakhsh Junejo, Roop chand Chelaram Luhano, Haji Sadiq Ali Memon, Dr. Saeeduddin Saleh, Saifullah Khan Magsi, Pir Saleh Shah, Sobhomal Lahano, Sawai Singh Sodho, Shahnawaz Pirzado, Nazar Hussain Shah, Shahid Khan Khoso, Malik Squander Khan Halani, Mirumal Kirpal Das, Sultan Ahmed Khan Chandio, Sardar Mir Sunder Khan Sundrani, Begurn Tahira Agha, Mr. Tenumal Togahi, Nor Mohammad Nohri, Usman Khan Malkani and Nawab Zahid Ali.
I have already shown how the One Unit settlement was violated. Here on Point I on the issue of land distribution and inheritance, instead of saying anything on my own, I present an excerpt here from the Punjabi intellectual Prof. Azizuddin's book, Kaya Hum Ikatthey Reh Saktey Hein? Barrage Zaminen Aur Ghair Abadkari. The text is in Urdu and the excerpt is front Pages 347 to 350.
Azizuddin gives the following account of the barrage lands and their plunder by non-Sindhi settlers in his book.
"After the Sukkur, two more barrages were constructed, Kotri (Ghulam Mohammad) and Guddu- Both these barrages came up after the creation of Pakistan and the invasion of land-hungry non-Sindhis. This time, the number of civil and military officials was larger than ever before. These official s were either Punjabis, Mohajirs or Pakhtuns. There was hardly any General who did not obtain barrage land. These officials included Gen. Ayub Khan, Gen. Musa Khan, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, and Gen. Tikkah Khan et al. political and non-political settlers were all among the land-grabbers. The facts and figures that we have are incomplete and several years old. Some future writer may perhaps paint the true picture with close access to the relevant record.
The Sukkur Barrage irrigated 2,868,562 acres. This made it the largest barrage in Sindh. The allotment of the land commanded by this barrage had started before the creation of Pakistan. When, One Unit came into being towards the end of 1954, only 642,460 acres remained, We do not know who were the people who got the 2.2 million acres of land before One Unit came into being. Most of the land allotted after One Unit went to the non-Sindhis. During 1955 58, non-Sindhis got 1 53,620 acres while the Sindhis got 123,586 acres. The civil and military officials headed the list of the allottees. The teal plunder came after the imposition of Martial Law. From October 1958 to March 1963 75 out of every 100 allottees were non-Sindhis (54,789 acres for the Sindhis and 21 3,679 acres for non-Sindhis). This was only natural because the military government was not as accountable as the civilian one. During the years of dictatorship, the bureaucracy had a free hand and they plundered land with both hands. 1963 had allotted most of the Sukkur Barrage land. Of the total land, non-Sindhis got 367,000 acres while the Sindhis got 1 78,000 acres (which is to say less than half).
"Six years before the creation of Pakistan, the Huts of Sindh rose in revolt against the British under the leadership of Pir Pagara's father, Pir Sibghatullah. They caused extensive damage to government property, especially the railway line. This earned them the wrath of the British. Sibghatullah was hanged for treason and the land around the Makhi Lake, which the Hurs cultivated, was confiscated.
"After independence in 1947, not only this land should have been restored to the Hur Mujahideen but they should also have been even otherwise rewarded, Nothing of the sort happened and the Hot lands were reserved for allotment to ex-servicemen. They were the same military men who had fought to serve the British imperial interests during World War 11. Consequently, 150,000 acres of land was allotted to these ex-servicemen virtually for a song. The terms under which these allotments were made show as if they had been made in recognition of the great services they had rendered during the war. These terms were:
"In the meanwhile, the Hurs demanded that their lands Should be returned to them. At last in 1957, the government decided to settle the Hurs. However, they were given C class land while their original holdings were A- class On January 28, 1957, Ghulam Mustafa Bhurgri asked in the West Pakistan Assembly whether the government was willing to develop the C class land. Finance Minister Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Khan Mamdot replied that land development was not the task of the government, He was asked whether the land allotted to the servicemen had been developed with foreign aid or not. He was told that this indeed was the case. Foreign aid and equipment had been given to the servicemen but the issue had nothing to do with the administration.
"So was this fertile tract of land developed by the provincial government with the help of the taxes paid by the Sindhi together with a foreign loan which had to be re-paid with interest. The land was allotted to military officials and others while the Hurs were pushed into uninhabited land.
The Punjabis have always dominated the armed forces. The Makhi Lake and the barrage lands were given to these very Punjabi servicemen. Land was snatched from the deserving locals while influential people who were members of the power drunk bureaucracy in the Punjab settled on this land. The manner which these people treated ordinary folk in the Punjab itself can will give one an idea how they must have treated the people of Sindh. They not only secured land through unfair means but had it developed at government expenses.
The Kotri Barrage is the second largest in Sindh. After completion in 1956 the barrage and its canals commanded 1,653,281 acres in Hyderabad and Thatta. In June 1958 the Land Utilization Committee was formed to gobble Lip the barrage, land Represented on it were the Federal Government and the armed forces. Locals were kept out of it. The formal sale of land began the same year but the generals had been allotted tracts two years earlier. Questions were asked in the West Pakistan Assembly about the allotment of land to the Haris fill about a year after the formation of One Unit because the previous government had set aside 300,000' acres for the Purpose. However no policy could be formulated to allot land to the Haris for a long time. The issue was raised in the Assembly time and again. For instance, on January 29, 1957, the questions raised in the Assembly were like this:
"Begum Tahira Ejaz Hussain Agha (MPA) : Will the Minister for Irrigation kindly answer:
(a) When will the Ghulam Mohammad Barrage irrigation scheme become fully operational?
1. Gen. Mohammad Ayub Khan 247
2. Maj. Gen. Mohammad Musa 250
3. Maj. Gen. Mohammad Umrao Khan 246
4. Brig, Said Ahawas 242
5. Col. Muzaffar Khan 153
6. Col. Hyder 130
"The Minister also revealed that the land had been sold at Rs, 250 per acre to the army men and that although the previous provincial government had set aside 300,000 acres for the Haris, the West Pakistan Government had yet to evolve a policy in this regard. He added, however, it would be framed soon and presented to the Cabinet. The other questions in regard to the land allotted to the armed forces personnel would not be out of interest here. They were:
G.M. Syed: I would like to ask the Honorable Minister whether it has been brought to his notice that these army officers have started to harass the locals so that they are forced to leave these areas. Qazi Fazlullah: I have no knowledge of this. If any of my friends has substantive proof in this regard, I'll certainly have the matter investigated.
G.M. Syed: Is it not a fact that a delegation of these (harassed) people has already called on the Honorable Minister?
Qazi Fazlullah: It my friend is referring to the delegation led by Ghulam Haider Bhurgri. my answer would be in the affirmative. It has made a representation to me but I have not been able to investigate the matter.
G.M. Syed: Can I ask the Minister whether even an acre of land has been allotted to anyone except the servicemen?
Qazi Fazlullah: No, Sir.
G.M. Syed: What is the reason for allotting land only to the servicemen and riot to the locals? Qazi Fazlullah: Khuhro Sahib who is sitting on the other side of the House can answer this well.
Mohammad Ayub Khuhro: Is this not a fact that the Sindh Government had reserved land for the servicemen but it has been allotted after the creation of West Pakistan?
Qazi Fazlullah: No, Sir. This is not so.
G.M. Syed: Can I ask the Minister why land has not been allotted to the locals so far?
Qazi Fazlullah: I have already answered this question. A scheme is under consideration in this regard.
G.M. Syed: How long will it take to materialize?
Speaker: He (the minister) has already told us that the matter will come up before the Cabinet soon.
Mohammad Ayub Khuhro: Is it not a fact that 300,000 acres of land were reserved for the Haris. Why has it not been distributed so far?
Qazi Fazlullah: Sir, I have already stated that the Cabinet will take a final decision in this regard at its next meeting.
Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan: Will you tell us when was the decision to give land to the Haris taken?
Qazi Fazlullah: the former Sindh Government also took this decision before Mr. Khuhro brought it down.
Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan: May I ask the Honorable Minister what are the insurmountable difficulties which have prevented the Government from taking a decision in this regard even after 15 months?'
The excerpts given above throw light on the following facts:
Land distributed: 1, 124,2 50
Locals (mechanized farms) 128,000
In other words the locals got less than 475,000 acres out of 1,1 24,250 acres.
Kotri land was allotted to people belonging to all provinces. Apart from the Mohajirs, the Punjabis, the Bengalis, the Pathans and the Balochis all got their share. A small number of Bengalis were settled in Sindh to give the people impression that the entire Country had shared the land.
"Around 150,000 acres of land in Kotri Barrage was reserved for a number of categories of people, These categories were:
Affectees of water logging and salinity.
People of mountainous areas.
People living in barani (rain fed) areas.
People with small holdings.
People belonging to the lower classes.
The Pushtuns were the second most numerous allottees of land thus distributed after the Punjabis.
Land reserved (acres)
"Land was also distributed in the Kotri Barrage under the Tractor Scheme. Vast tracts of it went to civil and military officers. The justification was that these people had the financial resources to develop land. Around 275,000 acres were allotted under this scheme. Government officials benefited from this scheme with gay abandon. They included top army, navy and police officers, Session Judges, engineers and railway officials, They got land not only in their own names but also in the names of their kith and kin. We give here names only of those officers together with their ranks who received more than 350 acres (12 squares) till 1963. Looking wistfully at this list of loot by the civil and military bureaucracy, one member of the (West Pakistani Assembly said: 'Why is the (Revenue) Minister embroiling himself in this land dispute. We have so much land in Sindh that if You don't allot it to civil and military officials, we can give it to every cultivator in West Pakistan.'
"There is no moral justification for allotting land to outsiders in a province in which hundreds of thousands of landless Haris get kicked from one place to another with no-one to help them. To allot land to members of the civil and military bureaucracy is to be condemned even more. As a member of the West Pakistan Assembly once asked: 'As being a general and being a farmer are two whole time jobs, how will the farmer perform these two jobs at once? The generals and other officers get salaries when they are serving and they are put on the pension list after retirement, where is the justification in rewarding them with tracts of land?'
"In fact, the pillage of the country by the civil and military bureaucrats which began right after its creation included land grab in Sindh, The manner in which this land was secured and the way in which the settlers treated the locals, sowed the seeds of hatred. The crop of this hatred is now ripe. The civil and military officers blinded by their unprecedented lust for land are responsible for the feelings of agony and anger, which exist against the Punjab in Sindh today.
"After granting the best land in Kotri Barrage to the servicemen, some land was given to the Haris in 1959 after much bad blood had been created. The land given was lower in acreage than that previously decided. More or less given towards the end, the land that the Haris got was of inferior quality, was uneven and had small hillocks and depressions, Situated at the tail-end of the canal it received inadequate water and last of all. The echo of the problems of the Haris who were allotted this land was heard till 1986. That year, steps were taken to cancel the allotments of 1 50,000 Haris. Non Sindhi settlers transferred the burden of the credit they had received under the bulldozer scheme to the Haris. Nonpayment meant cancellation of their land allotments. However, this plan could not be implemented because of the efforts made by the Sindhi Hari Tehrik.
"In the Kotri Barrage, 24,000 acres were set apart for sale through auction. The poor local ban or farmer was in no Position to buy this land. In many districts of the Punjab, an acre had more units than in Sindh. Therefore, several people in the Punjab sold their holdings and bought much larger ones in land auction in Sindh. People from village after village in the Punjab settled in Sindh. So most land went to the civil and military officers of the Punjab through allotment. Land sold by auction also went mostly to the Punjabis. Those who bought land also imported tenants from the Punjab. As a result, Punjabi and to an extent Pushtun population in Sindh began to grow by leaps and bounds.
Under these circumstances, we tried somehow to get Sindh out of this One Unit stranglehold and save its resources from plunder and use them for the good of the people of the province, so that they could benefit .from modern science and technology. For this purpose, we decided to launch the movement against One Unit in the Assembly rather than take it to the streets. At the time, the republican Party was in power in West Pakistan and the Muslim League was in opposition, while we held the balance of power. My colleagues and I decided to use our position to dismantle One Unit and to serve Sindhi interests. We made overtures to the Muslim League and proposed that if it helped us pass a resolution against One Unit, we would help it topple the Republican Government. The League group agreed and consequently an accord was reached. Party leader Sardar Bahadur Khan, Mian Mumtaz Daultana, Khan Abdul Qayum Khan and Ayub Khuhro represented the League, while myself, Rais Ghulam Mustafa Bhurgri, represented us. We all signed the agreement. Accordingly, a resolution demanding the dissolution of One Unit was moved in the House However, the Republicans, instead of agreeing to a vote on it, conspired with the Speaker to have it talked out We and the Muslim League retaliated by deciding to block the passage of the supplementary grants. Fearing defeat, the Republican Ministry resigned and the province was for some time put under the Governor's rule. Having been out of power for a while, the Republicans were getting more and more restive to get back into the saddle. When they approached us, we offered them the same terms we had given to the League but with the proviso that whatever agreement was hammered out, it would be presented to the National Awami Party for their approval, If the NAP approved the accord, we would help the Republicans. Sardar Abdur Rashid, Col. Abid Hussain Shah and Sir Feroze Khan Noon, the leader of the party in the National Assembly, signed the accord on behalf of the Republican Party. (Appendix 8).
The accord was arrived at with the knowledge and approval of lskander Mirza. It brought back the Republicans into power in West Pakistan and a resolution demanding the dissolution of One Unit was passed on September 17, 1957. Rais Ghulam Mustafa Bhurgri moved it. Mr. Suhrawardy was then the Prime Minister. It may be recalled that Mr. Suhrawardy and his party colleagues had opposed the creation of One Unit in the National Assembly. But now the Punjabi civil and military bureaucracy put such pressure on the two that lskander Mirza and Mr. Suhrawardy issued a joint statement that they would not allow One Unit to be undone. It is also necessary to recall here that the then Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Army, Gen. Ayub Khan, had played a key role in the creation of One Unit. In fact, he claimed the authorship of the scheme. He wrote in his autobiography, Friends, not Masters (p. 1931 that he was in London when relations between Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Boqra and governor-general Ghulam Mohammad became tense and he had felt that the latter was about to take some important steps and put him into politics about which he was not very keen. Ayub Khan goes on to say that one night he could not go to sleep While he was thinking about Pakistan and its problems, an idea struck him and he wrote it down on a piece of paper. The idea was that the provinces of West Pakistan should be merged, This was his program and he had to implement it.
Ayub Khan realized that the West Pakistan Assembly had passed the anti One Unit resolution by a comfortable margin and that when the resolution was put before the National Assembly, it would be endorsed with the help of Bengali MNAS. This would have jeopardized Punjabi and military interests. Therefore, he decided to block the constitutional process. He consulted with lskander Mirza and imposed Martial Law and dissolved the assemblies. I was arrested on October 10, the same year.
Political activity was also then banned by the Martial Law regime. Political parties too were sent home. Politicians were disqualified under black laws like EBDO. The Punjabis and the Pathans were allowed to plunder Sindhi lands, jobs, factories and other resources as they pleased. No protest was allowed against all this because the freedom of speech, expression and association had been-suppressed. As in the rest of the country, there was complete lull in Sindh, which continued to be exploited. Sindhi lost its compulsory status in educational institutions. The vernacular final examination in Sindhi was discontinued. This Martial Law was withdrawn after four years and a limited political activity was allowed to resume. Then the assemblies were restored under Ayub's basic democracies system. However, he himself remained all-powerful.
Quite a major portion of Sindhi legislators, true to their salt, excelled themselves in sycophancy to protect their own interests. They were traditional time-servers. One of them went to the extent of saying that Ayub Khan's status was higher than that of Salahuddin Ayubi and Abraham Lincoln. He said that had Shah Latif been alive, he would have supported One Unit and garlanded Ayub Khan for it. These were the words of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then the Foreign Minister, and they were meant for the worst dictator-patron of his time at the Urs of Bhit Shah.
These words were used for a man who had not only imposed military rule on the country in order to preserve One Unit but had also done everything in his power to colonize Sindh During the One Unit days, there was no-one to raise his voice for Sindh. Members front the province were busy licking Ayub's toes and polishing shoes of the bureaucrats. Sindh continued to burn and the people continued to suffer. Land grabbing by non-Sindhis continued, cities were occupied while the pirs, the mirs and the waderas continued to bow before the powerful The following Sindhi lines describe the to an apt nicety of the times:
Poem of Abdul Hakeem Arshad
Even in such days of dark depression and dispossession, I and my colleagues did not lose hope and did whatever we could to achieve independence for Sindh, The weapon we used was the pen. We conveyed our observations and opinions to the people in the shape of books. However, the Government did not tolerate even this. Books were banned, printing presses were put under surveillance, the Press was gagged by censorship, an effective weapon in the hands of the Government, beside. the one-sided propaganda that all the time remained on top gear for its political opponents. As Saadi says,
In such an atmosphere, I and my friends decided that, leaving the thorny field of politics alone, we should create awareness among the people through literature, culture and language promotion. We did so because on numerous occasions, nations had been defeated politically and economically but their intellectuals, working from the fastness of civilization, literature and culture, not only converted political and economic defeat into victory but also overcame their victors. For this struggle, we chose three fronts on the cultural front, there was the Bazm-i-Sufia-i-Sindh; on the literary front, there was the Sindhi Adabi Sangat; and on the social front, we attempted to arouse political and social awareness among the students.
During all this while (October 10, 1958 to March I 1, 1966), 1 was in prison or detention (for seven-and-a-half years). After my release in March, 1966, 1 founded the Bazmi-Sufia-i Sindh on April 1 8 and went on a four of the province during which I kept away from all political turmoil I started a series of addresses on the basic social problems of man, social growth, the rise and fall of societies, independence and slavery of nations, and similar other philosophical issues of a fundamental nature, at the mausoleums of venerable Sufis on the occasion of their annual Urs. The first such conference was held on June 23, 1966, during the annual URS of Syed Aali Sheerazi. Part of the speech I made on the occasion is being presented here to prove that our struggle was entirely peaceful:
"History has numerous examples which correspond to our travail and for the resolution of which there are three ways:
The March 4, 1966, incident is chronicled in my book on the politics of the sub-continent, Jadid Siasat ja Nava Ratan.
Here I would like to reproduce the letter of ml/ detention, to exculpate
itself, if it may.
WHEREAS credible and reliable information has been placed before the Governor of West Pakistan that Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Shah son of Muhammad Shah Sayed (known as G.M. Syed) resident of village Sann Taluka Kotri District Dadu has indulged in prejudicial activities by writings, speeches and by other means, inciting one group of persons against the other leading to the disturbances particularly the students riots in the Districts of Dadu and Hyderabad and thereby disturbed the public order and invaded the public safety and interest.
WHEREAS credible and reliable information has been placed before the Governor of West Pakistan that the said Mr. G.M. Syed is likely to indulge in the same aforesaid prejudicial activities, disturbing the public safety, maintenance of public order and public interest.
WHEREAS the Governor of West Pakistan is satisfied from the said reports and all other attending circumstances that the said Mr. G.M. Syed did indulge in the above mentioned prejudicial activities and is likely to Continue to indulge in the said prejudicial activities.
AND WHEREAS, with a view to preventing the said Mr. G.M. Syed from acting in the aforesaid manner, it is necessary and desirable to control his activities.
(b) That he will abstain and refrain directly or indirectly from associating himself with the activities of Bazam-e- Sofian-e-Sindh and Sindhi Adabi Sangat and also shall refrain and abstain from delivering speeches at any gathering, writing and publishing any article which are calculated to prejudice the public safety or disturb the public order or threaten the public interest.
This order shall remain in force for a period of three months from the date of service on the said Mr. G.M. Sayed.
Camp Kotri dated: 23-6-1967
Whereas credible information has been received by me in this behalf.
And whereas I have considered the same in all its aspects and am satisfied that it is desirable to control the activities of Ghulam Murtaza Shah s/0 Muhammad Shah Sayed (popularly known as G-M Sayed) resident of village SANN Taluka Kotri, District Dadu with a view to preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the Public Safety and the maintenance of public order.
Now therefore in exercise of the powers vested in me under section 5(1) of the West Pakistan maintenance of public order ordinance 1960, I Mazhar Rafi C.S.P. District Magistrate Dadu, do hereby issue the following directions to the said Ghulam Murtaza Shah s/o, Muhammad Shah Sayed:
1. That he shall reside within the limits of village SANN, Taluka Kotri.
2. That he shall abstain directly or indirectly from associating himself with the activities of Bazm-e-Sofia-e-Sindh and Sindhi Adabi Sangat and such other pseudo literary or political organizations and also shall refrain from delivering speeches at any gathering or writing and publishing any article.
This order shall remain in force for a period of two months commencing from the date of service of this order on him. Given under my hand and seal of the Court this 23rd day of June 1967.
In this oppressive atmosphere when constitutional redress had been denied, young men, writers and poets in whose hearts the torch of truth was burning gave the lead to a massive protest against One Unit and hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets. Jails began to fill up. Young people started to go on hunger strike and the anti One Unit strike launched by the Sindhis assumed all Pakistan proportions.
In the meantime, in face of rising opposition, the rulers arrested Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in the Agartala Conspiracy Case. He and his colleagues were put in torture cells, and as a result of brutal torture, one of Mujib's colleagues, Capt. Mansur, died. This inflamed the people of East Pakistan. They violated curfew regulations and came out in the open in protest.
This was the time when one of Ayub Khan's darlings who called him 'daddy', Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a Sindhi politician left the Federal Cabinet ostensibly in protest against the Tashkent Agreement. Using blackmail and the Punjabi bureaucracy, he tried to convert the movement for national self-determination into a public campaign against Ayub Khan. The truth is that Bhutto had incited Ayub Khan into war against India in 1965 and had assured the President that in view of the world situation, India would not retaliate on a large scale and Pakistan would be able to capture Kashmir. With this intention, the Pakistani rulers sent commandos to Kashmir to wage a guerrilla war against India. Bhutto's assurances notwithstanding, India internationalized the Kashmir war by opening a huge front from Sialkot to the Rann of Kutch and captured considerable territory in the Punjab.
During the war, the entire Pakistan Army devoted all its energies to save the Punjab and did nothing to defend East Pakistan. This provided an opportunity to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman to present his Six Point Formula. One of these six points was that every province, would have the right to maintain a part military militia for its defense. The Sheikh's Six Points guaranteed total autonomy to every province, which was not acceptable to the Punjabi rulers, and they arrested Sheikh Mujib for conspiring against the country Except for a brief period, I was under house arrest all this while. The movement against One Unit gathered momentum in Smith and there was great pressure on Ayub Khan to resign and release political detainees.
Ayub Khan released several politicians and started to prepare for a round table conference. However, I was not released At that point, people in Sindh unanimously demanded that if the round table conference had no Sindhi representation, its decisions would not be acceptable to them. Speaking at Gari Khata Chowk in Hyderabad, Sheikh Ayes told a milling crowd that Smith would reject any round-table conference at which G.M. Syed was not present. In the face of mounting public pressure, the Government released me on February 26, 1969.
After my release, I called a meeting in Hyderabad on March 9, 1969, to resurrect and reactivate the Sindh Muttahida Mahaz, The meeting was presided over by that intrepid Sindhi nationalist leader, Sheikh Abdul Majid Sindhi. In his inaugural address he said that after conquering Sindh in 1843, the British merged it with Bombay for administrative Purposes in 1847. "Sindh was freed from Bombay after a protracted Struggle in the wake of the Government of India Act, 1935," he continued.
"Sindh had its separate Legislative Assembly and Ministry in 1937. This lasted till 1954 when One Unit was foisted on the province. The role played by Sindhi members for various selfish motives was known to everyone, One Unit was the creation of mutual differences and the self-interest of Assembly members. But now the students and the people in general had brought about a change in the situation, and big changes were afoot in the central Assembly. Local politics was about to embark on a new phase. We had committed many blunders in the Past and efforts should be made to avoid them in the future. So far, Our upper classes had had but one goal self-interest and quest for power, This would have to be replaced by public service. The following goals had yet to he achieved:
The meeting elected me President of the Mutahida Mahaz to plead the Sindh Case at the Round Table Conference called by Ayub Khan. But before we could begin our political struggle, the round-table conference failed as a result of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Maulana Bhashani's boycott and jalao-gherao tactics.
Although I did not attend the round-table conference, my point of view was fully explained by the Awami League leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and Khan Abdul Wali Khan and Ataur Rehman of the National Awami Party. After the failure of the round-table conference, Ayub Khan resigned and was replaced by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Gen. Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan who became the President and the Chief Martial Law Administrator, However, political activities were not banned and we were able to continue our struggle. Our objective was not only the dissolution of One Unit but also the attainment of the maximum autonomy for the province under which the center could not interfere in provincial matters. My efforts in this regard were two pronged. First, I brought Baluchistan and Pakhtunkhawa round to support the Sindh Muttahida Mahaz's anti-One Unit demand and two, I tried to come to a settlement with the Awami League which was demanding greater authority for the provinces. In this regard, when Sheikh Mujibur Rehman came !o Sindh, I organized a grand reception for him on behalf of the Sindh Muttahida Mahaz and held a function in his honor at the Hotel Metropol, Karachi, on August 10, 1967. I reproduce here parts of my welcome speech:
"We want to bring it to your notice that One Unit is a callous, impracticable but well thought-out constitutional fraud which is evident from the objectives of its authors and which were expressed in the notorious document X. We are opposed to this 13-year-old scourge for several reasons, some of which are:
An agreement to this effect was signed between the Awami League and the Sindh Muttahida Mahaz on the occasion. On October 5, 1969, we assisted in the creation of the Baluchistan Muttahida Mahaz in Quetta. Our thinking was that if united, the people of the smaller provinces could succeed in having the One Unit dissolved. They could also help evolve a constitutional framework, which would make similar follies impossible in the future and eliminate tension among the people of different parts of the country.
While we wanted unity to solve constitutional issues, the rulers tried through their lackeys to divert public attention from substantive constitutional and political issues to petty squabbles. )n this regard, they used two powers with consummate skill, In West Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was made the hero of the Ayub Khan debacle and paraded as the conqueror through wide publicity and propaganda. Maulana Bhashani was selected to play a similar role against the Awami League in East Pakistan. However, Bengali nationalism had the better of the Maulana and he surrendered to the increasing popularity of the Awami League. But here in West Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto played the role with the help of the army and the bureaucracy with great dexterity. He adopted an aggressive posture against the Sindhi nationalist forces. Unfortunately, this strategy worked on the young workers of the Sindh Muttahida Mahaz and they started to work against it. Yahya Khan cleared the field for Bhutto by breaking up the One Unit, which was the sole election-winning weapon then in the hands of the oppressed provinces of West Pakistan. With the help of one Presidential Ordinance, he dissipated our struggle and legalized the 14-year-old plunder of Sindhi land and other resources by the Punjabis and called for snap elections. As a result, Sindhi nationalists could not get a single seat in spite of my last ditch efforts to break free of the new bondage. I held meetings, I wrote to the newspapers and I used the single opportunity given to me to address the people on radio and television to exhort them to use their critical faculties but all in vain. Once again, we lost a battle we had won. Even so, I hoped that with the Awami League winning absolute majority in the National Assembly and with the nationalists meeting with considerable success in Pakhtunkhawa and Baluchistan, I would be able to play some role in securing provincial autonomy and national integrity. For this purpose, I made contacts with the Awami League and Baloch and Pakhtun leaders. But the Punjabi rulers had decided to get rid of East Bengal in order to maintain their control over Sindh.
They started work on this project in 1970 through Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. I have said just now that the Punjabis were looking for an opportunity to get rid of the Bengalis from the very start. I am not saying this on my own. I present here corroborative evidence from a Punjabi intellectual, poet and CSP officer, Fazal Ahmed Karim Fazli, who served in East Pakistan in various capacities for 20 years. How did the feeling grow in East Pakistan that it was being treated as a conquered territory? To explain this would require a separate volume. But to cut a long story short, the responsibility for the disillusionment with Pakistan lay with successive central governments. Fazli says he had personal knowledge of all this. Just two or three years after the creation of Pakistan, some West Pakistani officers who were later to play important roles in making and breaking governments, started to say that one day or the other, the Bengali majority would get itself recognized and they would, as a result, lose power. To forestall such an eventuality, steps should be taken to stoke the embers (if Bengali separatism into a roaring fire. As Fazli was regarded one of the most influential officers at the time in East Pakistan, his advice was sought in the matter. He bitterly criticized the Punjabi officer who had sought his views, and told him that would be an open rebellion against Pakistan and that such thinking had in it the seeds of the country's destruction.
But who listens to the dervish? The plans for Bengali separation moved ahead. The One Unit in West Pakistan was created for this very purpose. (weekly Zindagi, Lahore, February 11-17, 1971, quoted in Jadid Sindh Ka Masail Ka Hal by Mohammad Musa Bhutto, pp. 154-55).
The role played by the Sindhi politician Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for the success of the fell plan was that of a small mind hankering for power and, I think, the ignobly of it was without parallel in our history. It led to the loss of three million lives. A massacre of this magnitude takes place only during major international wars but such a terrible loss of Muslim lives within the space of a few months was shameless in the extreme and a blot on the fair name of Islam.
It was during the civil war in Bengal that I came to know that while on a shooting trip on the Drigh Lake in Larkana, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and some army generals decided never to allow the Bengalis to rule in a united Pakistan. For this purpose, Bhutto was given a specific task. It was also foreseen that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed in East Pakistan, but the Awami League was never to be given power. When I came to know of this plan, I met the NAP President, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, in Peshawar and told him that we should assist the Bengalis and reconstitute Pakistan on the basis of the Awami League's Six Points in order to save the national rights of other provinces from Punjabi majority rule and the Army depredations for ever. At this, Wali Khan told me that he could not help the Awami League because one of its Six Points proposed that each province should have a currency of its own. This would require a reserve bank in every province to stem the flow of one Province's currency to another. This would, Wali Khan said, be detrimental to Pashtun interests because a million Pathans lived in Sindh, If each one of them was earning five rupees, it came to Rs. 5 million. The families of these Pathans lived in the NWFP and they would starve. How could then he support the Awami League? he asked.
Wali Khan's response disappointed and saddened me because I saw it was against the truth on the ground and amounted to supporting the Punjabi majority interests. It also smacked of Punjabi-Pakhtun collusion in try Plunder of Sindh. Having despaired of Wait Khan, I went to Dhaka on February 6, 1971, and called on Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and told him of the generals' plan I was of the view that if the Awami League came into Power, we could have constitutional arrangement which could safeguard the interests of the oppressed Sindhi Baloch and Pakhtun nations and they could live with honor in a multi-national union.
The Sheikh told me that he was aware of the generals' plan and that he would try everything Possible to remain with his people and turn Pakistan into a true union of independent nations with the help of peoples' power. He felt that if he left his people at this stage, they (the army would take to murdering them and setting every house on fire. But Sindh was different from Bengal. The Sindhis spurned the nationalists and tried to live under the self-serving Punjabi pimp, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
The Sheikh advised me to leave Sindh for a while because the military action in Bengal would have its repercussions on me. It was necessary, therefore, that I should leave the country, I accepted the Sheikh's advice and went to Saudi Arabia to pay homage at the mausoleum of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and visit the Khana-i-Ka'aba. From there, I tried to get in touch with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan by post in Kabul where he was staying in those days, but, unfortunately, we could not change the course of events. We could not prevent the largest massacre in South Asian history, the migration of 10 million people and the rape of thousands of women.
I returned to Sindh after a brief stay abroad and the moment I set foot on the Sofi of my homeland, Yahya Khan's men arrested me. During my absence, several of my colleagues such as Shaikh Ayes, Qazi Faiz Mohammad and Ghulam Mohammad Leghari had already been arrested. The country was once again in the grip of terror and repression. In this atmosphere , the generals and the bureaucrats declared war on India on the advice of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, at the end of which Gen. Niazi of the Eastern Command surrendered to Gen. Arora of India by laying the Pakistan flag and his cap at his feet on December 16, 1971. This put the seal of approval on the Punjabi's desire to seek the separation of the Bengalis. Earlier, an attempt was however made by Yahya Khan to hoodwink world public opinion by restoring a so called civilian government in which Mr. Nurul Amin was made the' Prime Minister and Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister without calling any assembly to session. In this capacity, Bhutto went to the United Nations to prove that the program in East Pakistan and the arrest of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman were just both from the moral and Islamic points of view! Bhutto tore up the last attempt to keep Pakistan one - the Polish resolution and made a Pakistani defeat in Bengal certain. He did so because he wanted to come into power as the leader of the majority party in West Pakistan with the help of the Army Chief, Gen. Gul Hassan, and other military top brass. In this, he was entirely successful and on December 20, 197 1, he took over as the world's first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. Thus did the Sindhis, the Balochis and the Pashtuns lose a strong friend, Bengal.
Sindh fell once again under Punjabi domination. Bhutto, realizing that his international image had suffered, took some steps to rectify the situation. These included the lifting of the ban on the NAP, the release of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and the removal of restrictions on all political workers except myself.
Early in 1972, I celebrated my birthday, which was attended by hundreds of workers and thousands of other people from all over Sindh. Speaking on the occasion, I made certain proposals to the Chief , Martial Law Administrator and President of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, to save what remained of the country and on its constitutional structure. During my speech, I recounted the events, which led to the loss of East Pakistan.
During the course of my speech I also outlined the causes for the break-up of Pakistan and the myriad Problems facing the new country. It was time, I said, that keeping in view our experiences of the past 24 years, we should introduce basic changes in our polity.
Dear Mr. G.M. Syed,
It has been brought to the notice of Government that on the occasion of your birthday celebrations on 17th January 72, at Sann, District Dadu, you delivered a speech in the course of which you said the following:-
i. That the two-nation theory was of a temporary nature and you disapproved of it;
ii. that it should be accepted that the peoples of 5 provinces of Pakistan constitute 5 different nations and that they should be brought together in the form of a Confederation of 5 states;
iii. that in order to achieve your objectives you would start a movement through an organization to be called Khudam-I-Sindh, which would serve a two-fold purpose, namely, to prepare public opinion and to train personnel for guerrilla warfare.
2. Government have also been informed that some other speakers at your instance and under your patronage made speeches calling upon the people to declare the independence of Sindh and launch a guerrilla warfare for the same. The Government was warned that any interference on their part would be resisted with force of arms and that the water in the Indus river would be reddened with the blood of those who resisted the movement.
3. Your attention is drawn to the fact that there are laws existing in Pakistan carrying severe punishment for activities designed to promote secession or disintegration of the State and particularly by resort to violence.
4. I must now ask you to inform me whether the report, as mentioned above, is correct and whether you had associated yourself on that occasion with speakers who made such speeches.
(J.A. Rahim) 22872
Mr. G.M. Syed,
Sann, Distt: Dadu,
S I N D.
It is said of me that I indulge in opposition for the sake of opposition. Nothing could be farther from truth, However, as a Sindhi, I owe a debt of gratitude to my motherland and it is my lifeís mission to safeguard its culture, its language and its people. Despite everything, I have been offering suggestions to the Pakistani rulers from time to time. In this regard me and my political colleague Abdul Majid Sindhi wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. (Appendix 9)