Let us, welcome and applaud for the brave sons and daughters of Sindh, who fearlessly marched for our future
I have borrowed and amended the caption of my write-up. I have taken it from the South African writer Alan Paton’s novel ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’. It was set in South Africa. The novel exposes the structures that played an instrumental role in creating the apartheid. In our Sindh, Pakistan People’s Party’s intended bad governance has created beneficiaries’ circles, which are active at all levels of the societal structures. The beneficiaries’-web of the PPP’s modus operandi falls into three categories: tame the people through corruption, socio-culturally isolate them, and lodging terrorist FIRs if someone is not trapped in their tempting tricks. The last tool is to inculcate fear among the people who have serious resentment against the PPP’s poor performance during the 2022 flood, and badly managed local governance.
Honestly, the present government’s regularity and even frequency in lodging the terrorist FIRs reminds us days of General Zia’s dictatorship. At individual and societal level, outcome of terrorist-FIRs and enforced disappeared is the same, as both create fear. Nowadays, under the present government, people of opinion are under fear. The fear, which was vindicated in Paton’s novel:
“…the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all…”
The re-produced paragraph is a true picture of PPP’s present governance. In fact, what I have reproduced is the portrayal of the PPP’s fearful world. In such a situation, there was none to raise the finger and pinpoint the culprit. Again, credit goes to the Sindh United Party, and its leadership that they decided to launch a long march from Sukkur to Karachi. The march is being led by Syed Zain Shah, Roshan Buriro, Jagdesh Ahuja, divisional and district leaders of the party. The march is mainly against corruption, high inflation, injustice, the influx of foreigners in Sindh, enforced disappearance, terrorist cases against citizens, crime against women and minorities, unemployment and poverty. Today, at the time of the writing of this paragraph, the march must have reached Hyderabad. I think, considering the commentary-inclined culture of Hyderabad, there must be some discussion, questions, and comments about the long march. Someone would argue in favor of the march, and others would totally reject it, and a good number of them would change the sides. However, the history of long marches tells that indicators of long marches are neither predetermined nor assured. The march’s dynamics operates at the various dimensions, it pinches above-the-ground political corridors, it touches the lives of common people; it influences people/groups who are confused. However, I am of the view that the SUP’s long march until now is succeeded, because it has shown ‘inclusivity’ and ‘social-media-popularity’.
Their boldly held banners and placards exposed the corruption of the Sindh Government and demonstrated that what has caused them to take a long march
Allow me to elaborate on it: the march in practice has created a sense of equality and invited participation – it has shown that all are equal – all are walking on the same path, same direction – emotionally and physically – sameness of solidity and oneness of vision in practice. Thus, an immediate outcome was Syed Zain Shah’s emergence as a people’s leader, with an image that he practices equality, and he is easily accessible. If the body language of the people, who have welcomed the marchers is unpacked, then we notice that peoples’ faces were radiant with trust and hope. Interestingly, women, children, young, middle-aged and old people participated in welcome-processions. This collective-activity has melted various barriers, which were unnecessary hurdles in their local struggles – at village or town levels.
Thus, objectively, ‘unity’ emerged as a symbol. At another level of social dimensions, the march has successfully created an option that another platform exists for political engagement. On the other hand, the route of the march has practically invited the villages and towns, which existed over the shoulders of the route-map of the long march. Therefore, at various entry points, crosses; junctions and at the entrance of towns people welcomed it, joined the march, and walked along with it for a considerable distance. However, before me one of the successes of the march is that it has ended the fear, which was inculcated into Sindhi society through fake terrorist-FIRs.
Apart from it, the success of the march is continuous publicity over social-media. The continuous publicity as well as warm-up campaigns has connected local, regional and international Sindhi community around the world. It is the first time that Sindh agenda for more than two weeks is under discussion in the cyber-world’s mediums and forums. The presence of Sindh’s agenda through the march’s regular movement/ walk has created social discourse at the public scale. However, the present long march of the SUP has highlighted that ‘action’ over empty discussions and repeated arguments may help us to find a way. It also proved that physical presence creates more meaningful and true discourse rather than being a keyboard warrior.
If you ask me to list only one encouraging aspect of this long march, then I would utter only this single word: Participants. I mean participants, who marched from Sukkur, and the people, who welcomed the marchers. The encouraging aspect is that none of them in either way is associated with the power. They are neither beneficiary of the ‘system’ nor they are tout of landlords, and nor aspiration-volunteers of a corrupt system. They are the ones who trust in transparency, rule of law, in the constitution, and dream for Sindh’s salvation and sovereignty. They are true heroes who have broken Zardari’s fear tool, and forcefully kicked temptation of power and money.
Proudly, over the long stretched of the march, they were participants, speakers, audience and observant of the struggle. Their boldly held banners and placards exposed the corruption of the Sindh Government and demonstrated that what has caused them to take a long march. So, let us, welcome and applaud for the brave sons and daughters of Sindh, who fearlessly marched for our future – Viva (Long Live) the SUP, and its comrades!
Dr. Zaffar Junejo is Research Scholar, Department of History University of Malaya, Malaysia. Mr. Junejo apart from scholarly contribution also writes for popular media. He could be accessed at: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell/WhatsApp +92 334 045 5333 Skype Zaffar.Junejo Facebook facebook.com/zaffar.junejo