Monday, April 25, 2011
The PML-N government and Punjabi nationalists seem to be under considerable pressure as the demand for a separate Siraiki province is gathering momentum in southern Punjab but this was most crooked and uncalled for response that could ever come from anyone with even the slightest political wisdom. PML-N leader was obviously trying to get back with the PPP. It may be noted that PM Gilani has suggested the creation of a new province in southern Punjab and PPP manifesto committee is deliberating to make it a part of the PPP manifesto for next elections.
No Sindhi would have any objections if Shahbaz Sharif, other PML-N leaders and Punjabis as a whole turn into nationalists but all the Punjabis and others should understand that Sindh and PPP are not ONE and the same. They are two separate entities. PML-N can’t and shouldn’t get back with the PPP by hurting Sindh. It must agree or disagree with the Siraiki people’s demand for a separate province with the force of arguments and not by playing tit for tat, conspiratorial and ugly politics.
PML-N should also realize that with this kind of politics they will be completely routed out from Sindh and their aspirations to become a “national” party or to form next government will die for ever.
Do they understand that this is exactly what PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari wants the PML-N to do? Are they willingly falling into the trap set by Zardari’s PPP? Do they realize that with this kind of politics, they will forever become a Central Punjab party? Are there any sane elements in PML-N who would rein in Shahbaz Sharif and the likes of him in their party? Guess not. Good luck to them on their journey to doom.
In 2002, the Saraiki nationalists claimed that there are over 30 million Saraiki speakers in Pakistan, mostly in southern Punjab, and also in the adjacent parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, mainly based in the former princely state of Bahawalpur (princely state).
Beginning in the 1960s, Saraiki nationalists have sought to gain language rights and lessen,what the nationalists propagated as, "Punjabi control over the natural resources of 'Saraiki' lands". This has led to a proposed separate province Saraikistan, a region being drawn up by activists in the 1970.The 1977 coup by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, a centralist ruler, caused the movement to go underground. After his death in 1988 allowed the Saraiki movement to re-emerge openly with the goals to have a Saraiki nationality recognised, to have official documents printed in Saraiki, a Saraiki regiment in the Pakistan Army, employment quotas and more Saraiki language radio and television.