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Posts tagged with: Sindh

Khashkelis Feudalism Issue at a standstill

Have been silent about the many developments that have been taking place with regard to the regularization and restoration of the village to the Khaskelis as they were so confident of “winning” this final round — because one of their own representatives whom they trust implicitly (and who has since become a minister without portfolio) had promised it would happen, and we were not supposed to ‘rock the boat’. We have repeatedly warned them not to bank on promises too much because even if their rep was trustworthy, it didn’t automatically follow that others whose agreement and help he needed would be the same, and we would ultimately have to resort to legal means again. As it turned out, he failed; not for lack of trying.

It has been over a month and half since Vali Dad died after a heart attack in front of the press club, and the same day several Sindh ministers including the Chief Minister promised in writing they would get their village back. It hasn’t happened and it won’t because a series of delay tactics and dirty tricks were used all this time — which details I’ll give in my next e-mail as it’s a long story; also because I’m supposed to wait until a final report (explained below) come out. The new minister recently had a thundering row with the CM’s secretary who finally blurted out the same story Varyam Faqir claimed when the issue first came up — that the village never existed and was created unauthroisedly only recently.This after having submitted all the verified inquiries and reports starting from decades ago ! He also stated that the Khaskelis would have to legally prove that they and their descendants were the original inhabitants !
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Varyaam Faqeer on the Run – A victory for Essa Mohd Khaskheli

Another report on the Feudal LandGrabbing issue in the village of Essa Mohd Khaskheli – written by Deneb Sadeque

essa-mohd-khaskheli-villagersThere was certainly a lot of excitement Thursday in the City Court specially for the Khaskhelis. Some of what I’m narrating was joyously described by them when I went to see them this evening. Despite the escape of Varyam Fakir twice over, they were ecstatic that the Wadera who had harassed them for decades was brought to this point. As usual he came with his entourage of goons and they were spread around the court in groups. When he arrived at around 11:00 they converged around him. As soon as his bail-before-arrest was refused, he came out of the court room with his goons surrounding him to prevent the police from arresting him. There was a fierce struggle between the goons and the police who did a lot of clubbing as well. The police managed to snap handcuffs on three of the others named in the FIR.

Waryam Fakir was grabbed and escorted by around 5 policemen and taken down the stairs, yet strangely enough, let go amidst all the (staged?) confusion and “hatta-pai”. Waryam Fakir fled the scene and managed to squeeze into a rickshaw to escape (God Almighty knows how with his enormous girth). He couldn’t reach his car. However more police arrived and tried to pry him out when more of his goons arrived and another clash ensued. This time his henchmen didn’t hesitate to injure three ASIs and a couple of policemen, tearing their uniforms and drawing blood as well. Miraculously, he escaped yet again. Now he’s a bonafide fugitive.
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Court hearing of the Kashkheli Case – Varyaam Faqeer escapes

Posted by Adaner Usmani on the Peoples’ Resistance network

If 16th March 2009 marks the victory of Pakistan’s two-year movement to restore a free judiciary (and depose a dictatorship, of course), posterity might very well regard yesterday, the 7th of May, as a day that some of Pakistan’s poorest first reaped the direct rewards of that struggle.

Varyaam Faqeer, the by-now infamous ex-MPA from Sanghar, turned up in court for his bail hearing in connection with the murder case lodged against him and four others by the villagers from Muhammad Issa Khaskheli. With him came his entire retinue of retainers, hangers-on, gangsters, etc.–possibly as many as a hundred men, all carrying themselves with the palpable arrogance of unapologetic power.

Their very visible presence around the City Court premises was, no doubt, intended to intimidate the Khaskheli farmers, the judge, and the media into cowering in the face of Varyaam’s obvious clout. Nonetheless, by roughly 8:30 in the morning, about a dozen supporters (Labour Party activists, members of PR, a comrade from the National Workers’ Party, among others) had gathered in solidarity. Geo News and KTN set up cameras outside the courtroom.
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Protest Demo Against the Feudalism in Khaskheli

Today 28 April a protest demonstration was held against Sanghars influential feudal lord Waryam Faqeer by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Karachi. JAC is a compilations of many civil society organizations, LPP, AP, PILER, HRCP. Shirkat Gah, Aurat Foundation, Takleeq Foundation, etc. The protesters demonstrated for arrest of feudal Waryam Faqeer and appealed to the government to return the land to the native villagers of Goth Mohammed Essa Khaskheli.

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The Arithmetics of 6760 documented Ghost Schools in Sindh

Mr. Naeem Sadiq a very active member of the Peoples Resistance had only recently stumbled across a very extensive study carried out by the Sindh Education and Literacy Department under the School Rehabilitation Program 2008-2009 with the backing of a number of international donor agencies. To produce a report for the thousands of ghost schools and shelter-less schools scattered all across the province of Sindh.

The ghost schools phenomenon is probably the biggest crime to the future generations of Pakistan, millions get sanctioned on an yearly basis for the construction and the maintenance of these educational centers and in reality they never exist and are merely paper based ghost schools with a fully employed staff and a regular budget extracting millions from the provincial budget whilst our children continue to remain uneducated.

The PDF document initially provided to Mr. Naeem Sadiq {[download id=”8″]} listed approximately 6479 ghost schools but more recently the Reform Support Unit updated its website to list around 6760 Closed Schools while a whopping 7490 Shelter less Schools. if one were to even extrapolate the financial corruption leading from these ~7000 ghost schools its bound to reach astronomical proportions Read Mr. Naeem Sadiq’s oped in todays Dawn titled Ghost Schools Arithmetic Continue Reading

Another update on the peasants Land-Grabbing case & Hunger Strike

From the Peoples Resistance Mailing List

Child Protester along with the Peasants on hunger strike against feudalismAbout the peasants from Sanghar outside the Karachi Press Club for whom I had requested food, we have a temporary respite. The politicians and police made their appearance only after the damage was done — when the elder died and the Labour Party came en masse on the peasants behalf and created an uproar. But it was thanks to Karamat Ali of PILER and Justice (retd) Rasheed Rizvi who took up their case and stayed their for hours and advised them, that they refused to allow the dead body to be lifted until the case was registered to their satisfaction and the government conceded to some clearcut demands in writing.

It took 5 hours of negotiations — including the politicians and government making wild, verbal promises, and trying to convince the peasants to leave quietly without any written assurance (Shazia Marri’s lackey was actually captured on Dunya Channel saying that since the government had made a promise, there was no necessity of putting anything in writing. Since when have government promises meant much?) But one of the peasant reps stood his ground (also on camera) and said although they appreciated the government’s good intentions, they would not budge until they got everything in writing. You should have seen the expression on Shazia Marri’s face. It’s a rare occasion when a peasant can answer back without backing down. They then took two of the reps to the Chief Minister’s house to get this done with their new-found adviser in tow.
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Protest for the villagers from Muhammad Essa Khaskeli | Pictures

Shared via the Peoples Resistance Mailing List

Agreement with the villagers from Muhammad Essa KhaskeliAs some of you likely know already, today proved a very dramatic day in the case of the farmers from Muhammad Essa Khaskeli, who had been protesting for three long weeks in front of the Karachi Press Club.

Labor Party Pakistan, in conjunction with the villagers, had announced a protest for today at 3pm, the announcement for which had run on this list and others. Many others had helped, politically and otherwise–most notably activists from Shirkat Gah, who had been providing food and water to the villagers for the past several days. In this sense, at least, the struggle seemed to be escalating in a steady, planned manner.

Last evening, however, the protesters received three or four people outside the Press Club, who spoke to them about how unwise their cause was. From what I understand, these men told the villagers that they had deeply offended Varyaam Faqeer, “who is a very big man,”–they added that the writ of feudals ought not to be challenged in Sindh, etc., etc. The protesters, of course, interpreted this as a warning straight from the mouth of Varyaam. Then, last night, one of their elders, Wali Dad, received a phone call that scared him terribly, according to those around him at the time. After the phone call, he was telling others that he feared for all of their lives–that Varyaam Faqeer would “kill them all” in Karachi. As a result of all this, he wasn’t able to sleep, and was reportedly pacing up and down the pavement that surrounds the Press Club, for much of the night. This morning, during Fajr, he had a heart attack while praying. Despite being rushed to the Cardio Center at Jinnah Hospital, he tragically passed away a few hours later.
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Victims of Feudalism on Hungerstrike – 18-days [and counting]

Posted via the Peoples Resistance Network

press-release-aDay and night for the past eighteen days, anywhere from a dozen to two dozen farmers from a village in Sanghar have been gathered outside the Karachi Press Club, protesting the violent excesses of a neighboring feudal who has been eyeing their land–his name is Varyaam Faqeer, an ex-MPA (PML-F) and khaleefa of the infamous Pir Pagara.

According to the protesters, they had been living, without incident, on the same plot of land for the past many decades. Though it was once the property of the Sindh Irrigation Department, it had lain unpopulated and unused. Roughly 60 years ago, these villagers moved in, occupied it, and built on the land (their goth, Mohammad Issa Khaskheli, now stands at about thirty to forty houses). They have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the irrigation authorities, indicating that the department has no objection to their living there. Their ID cards name this village as their address; moreover, they have a school, electricity, a mosque, a graveyard, etc. (all of this was verified by the local DCO in a report I have seen with my own eyes). In other words, they argue that their residence has been effectively formalized.
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Fake Housing Scheme revealed “Shaheed Pinky Housing Society”

Yesterday the Sindh Assembly erupted with a very unique controversy when a PPP MPA from Nawabshah Tariq Masood Arain accused one ‘Bahawal Zardari’ for occupying over 100 acres of land and launching a housing society in the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto “Shaheed Pinky Housing Society” ‘pinky’ was a nick name used for BB’s by her father Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the family.

Tariq Masood Amin presented to the Sindh Assembly a handbill in which details of the housing scheme were outlined and was later furious at his party members for not supporting his case in the assembly and soon walked off in protest.

Speaking boldly on the matter, Mr. Amin had informed the house that land was located near Qauid-e-Awam Engineering College Nawabshah and had been occupied through forged documents. Senior PPP Minister Pir Mazharul Haq and even the speaker Nisar Khuhro rose to pacify the legislator advising the furious member to take his seat but Mr. Arain refused, protesting that his matter was not being given any importance, and ultimately walked out the house with a resolve to sit on a hunger strike to highlight his issue.
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Sassui Palijo after Sindh’s archaeological sites?

If people may recall that about a month back in late September we had on this blog highlighted the land grabbing mafia after the Makli Necropolis in Thatta. The new incoming ministers were conveniently digging around the archaeological site apparently claiming to innocently dig a water channel to their land, but credible reports emerging from the area suggested that it was more of a land grabbing attempt by Ghulam Qadir Palijo, who has a few pieces of land in the surrounding area

The people orchestrating the fiasco was the ex-MPA Ghulam Qadir Palijo who also happens to be the father of the Sassui Palijo a Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism. Ironically a news report appeared in The Nation yesterday where Sassui Palijo while speaking in the Sindh Assembly urged the President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to fulfill his promise and hand-over the control of archaeological sites to their respective provinces. She went on to claim that the paperwork was being done to give control of the historical sites to provinces very soon.
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Geo News Blocked in Sindh

Its just being reported that Geo News transmission has been blocked in certain areas of Karachi – I personally can verify that the Geo News feed on Worldcall is dead, while the GeoTv website has this to report

KARACHI: Geo Network’s transmission has been stopped in most parts of Karachi. Cable operators blocked the transmission of Geo Network in a number of areas across the city on Monday, without assigning any reason for the stoppage.

People are making phone calls to the Geo’s Headquarter, asking for the reason as to why Geo News and other channels of Geo Network have been blocked.

If this blockage is limited to Karachi then might we suspect a fumbled catch between Shakil ur Rehman and MQM PPP? Deja Vu anyone?

UPDATE @1327: Geo TV website reports that this blockage is spread across the entire province of Sindh – and PEMRA has no knowledge of this blockage – Geo.tv story

[MiniLinks] Cowasjee responds to Zardari’s God/Gaad Blooper

Ardeshir Cowasjee responds to the spelling mistake controversy – September 12 when I went to the Mazar and asked the keepers to let me have photocopies of what had been written by the September 11 visiting ‘dignitaries’ in the visitors’ book. I was given copies of remarks recorded by the president, the Sindh governor and the Sindh chief minister. – continuing “The spooks sprang into action. They removed from the 100-page book the double-page on which Zardari’s message and that of the Karachi station commander were recorded, leaving 98 pages in the book in which visitors will now record their views, and on a fresh page rewrote Zardari’s message correcting the two misspelled words.”

Makli Necropolis being Bulldozed?

Makli an archeological conservatory located about 2 hours drive from Karachi near Thatta is reportedly being destroyed by ex-MPA Ghulam Qadir Palijo who is the father of the Sassui Palijo a Sindh Minister

Makli Necropolis is one of the largest necropolises in the world, with a diameter of approximately 8 kilometers, Makli Hill is supposed to be the burial place of some 125,000 Sufi saints. It is located on the outskirts of Thatta. Legends abound about its inception, but it is generally believed that the cemetery grew around the shrine of the fourteenth-century Sufi, Hamad Jamali. The tombs and gravestones spread over the cemetery are material documents marking the social and political history of Sind.

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