Insurgency in Sindh
Date1972 – Present
(49 years)
Location
Sindh, Pakistan
Status Ongoing (low-level insurgency)[2][3][4]
Belligerents

 Pakistan

Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army
Sindhudesh Liberation Army
Supported by
Balochistan Liberation Army[1]
Balochistan Republican Army[1]
Baluch Liberation Front[1]
Commanders and leaders
Maj. Gen. Iftikhar Hassan Chaudhry
Inspector-General Mushtaq Ahmad Mahar
Unknown
Strength
50,000 100
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Insurgency in Sindh is an ongoing insurgency waged by the Sindhi Nationalists and Militants groups against the government of Pakistan. Sindhi Nationalist wanted to create an independent state called Sindhudesh. In 2020 alone, 18 terrorist attacks took place in Sindh which left 20 people dead and 66 others injured.[5] Sindhi separatists groups took responsibility for 10 of those attacks which includes 2 failed assassinations on Chinese engineers working in Pakistan under CPEC.[5]

Background

Main article: History of Sindh

Administrative Map of Sindh 1608~1700 A.D
Administrative Map of Sindh 1608~1700 A.D

The book Chach Nama chronicles the Chacha Dynasty's period, following the demise of the Rai Dynasty and the ascent of Chach of Alor to the throne, down to the Arab conquest by Muhammad bin Qasim in the early 8th century CE, by defeating the last Hindu monarch of Sindh, Raja Dahir.

Conquered by Syrian Arabs led by Muhammad bin Qasim, Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. The Arab province of Sindh is modern Pakistan. While the lands of modern India further east were known to the Arabs as Hind. The defeat of the Brahmin ruler Dahir was made easier due to the tension between the Buddhist majority and the ruling Brahmins' fragile base of control. The Arabs redefined the region and adopted the term budd to refer to the numerous Buddhist idols they encountered, a word that remains in use today. The city of Mansura was established as a regional capital and Arab rule lasted for nearly 3 centuries and a fusion of cultures produced much of what is today modern Sindhi society. Arab geographers, historians and travellers also sometimes called the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush, Sindh. The meaning of the word Sindhu being water (or ocean) appears to refer to the Indus river. In addition, there is a mythological belief among Muslims that four rivers had sprung from Heaven: Neel (Nile), Furat (Euphrates), Jehoon (Jaxartes) and Sehoon (Sind or in modern times the Indus).

Arab rule ended with the ascension of the indigenous Parmar Rajput Soomro dynasty. Later, in the mid-13th century the Soomros were replaced by the Muslim Rajput Samma dynasty.[6]

Turkic invaders sent expeditions to the area from the 9th century, and part of the region loosely became part of the Ghaznavid Empire and then the Delhi Sultanate which lasted until 1524. The Mughals seized the region and their rule lasted for another two centuries, while the local Sindhi Muslim Rajput tribe, the Samma, challenged Mughal rule from their base at Thatta. The Muslim Sufi played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam. Sindh, though part of larger empires, continued to enjoy certain autonomy as a loyal Muslim domain and came under the rule of the Arghun Dynasty and Turkhan or Tarkhan dynasty from 1519 to 1625. Sind became a vassal-state of the Afghan Durrani Empire by 1747. It was then ruled by Kalhora rulers and later the Baluchi Talpurs [7] from 1783.

The British conquered Sindh in 1843. General Charles Napier is said to have reported victory to the Governor General with a one-word telegram, namely "Peccavi" – or "I have sinned" (Latin). In fact, this pun first appeared as a cartoon in Punch magazine.

The first Aga Khan helped the British in the conquest of Sindh and was granted a pension as a result. Sind was made part of British India's Bombay Presidency, and became a separate province in 1936.[8] The British ruled the area for a century and Sindh was home to many prominent Muslim leaders including Muhammad Ali Jinnah who agitated for greater Muslim autonomy.

Following World War II, Britain withdrew from British India and Sindh voted to join Pakistan in 1947 during partition as the largely Hindu educated elites were replaced by Muslim immigrants from India. Later local Sindhis have resented the influx of Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants to Karachi. Nonetheless, traditional Sindhi families remain prominent in Pakistani politics, especially the Bhutto dynasty. In recent years Sindhi dissatisfaction has grown over issues such as the construction of large dams, perceived discrimination in military/government jobs, provincial autonomy, and overall revenue shares.

All India Muslim League branch in Sindh was established by Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgari in 1918. All India Muslim League and Congress party of Sindh held their annual sessions at the same place simultaneously and passed a similar resolution. Abdullah Haroon, who joined it in 1918 was elected the president of the province at Muslim League in 1920.

Timeline

In 1972, G. M. Syed proposed the formation of an independent nation for the Sindhis under the name Sindhudesh. He was the first nationalist politician in Pakistan to call for the independence of Sindh in a Pakistan divided by the liberation of Bangladesh.[9] The movement for Sindhi language and identity led by Syed drew inspiration from the Bengali language movement.[10] In post independence Pakistan, the machinations of the Pakistani state convinced Syed that Sindhis would be marginalised in the set up.[9] The concept of Sindhudesh as propounded by Syed calls for the liberation and freedom of Sindhis from an alleged Punjabi-Mohajir imperialism.[9]

With his political base largely weakened after election, Syed later advanced his position towards openly demanding separation from Pakistan and the build-up of an independent Sindhudesh in his books.[11]

The concept of Sindhudesh is also supported by some Sindhi diaspora[citation needed] including Sindhis in India,[12] most of whom had to be relocated out of Sindh after Partition, leaving behind their property as evacuee trusts under reciprocal government supervision. Pre-partition, Sindh was a relative peaceful province, with communal violence only erupting sporadically and during partition.[citation needed] This peace stopped after partition, with post-partition migrants to Sindh angry at the "non-co-operation" in the killing of Hindus; and communal hatred multiplied post partition.[13][14]

After the death of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, the Sindhudesh movement was believed to have seen an increase in popularity. Sindhi nationalists judge that Sindh has been used to the advantage of people from non-Sindhi ethnic groups, citing the dominance of Muhajir people in key areas of Sindh including Karachi, large scale migration to Sindh from other regions of Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, alleged Punjabi dominance in the defence sector, and an increase in Taliban migrants moving to Sindh; as well as terrorist related attacks on the region.[15] and believe this to be the cause of recent troubles in Sindh (see Sindhi nationalism).

However, neither the separatist party nor the nationalist party have ever been able to take centre stage in Sindh. Local Sindhis strongly support Pakistan People Party (PPP). The unparalleled and unhindered success of the PPP in Sindh shows the preference of Sindhis for a constitutional political process over a separatist agenda to resolve their grievances. Similarly public opinion is also not heavily in favour of these parties either. In other words, neither the Sindhi separatists nor the nationalists have significant popular support — certainly not the kind that will make them capable of fuelling a full-scale insurgency. Almost all of the Sindhis have a strong Pakistani identity and prefer to remain part of Pakistan.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Pakistani militants shift focus to cities in targeting of Chinese". Nikkei Asia. 27 December 2020.
  2. ^ "'Sindhi separatists carried out 10 terror attacks across province in 2020'". The News. 4 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Missing political approaches". Dawn News. 12 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b Aakash Tolani (16 April 2014). "Sindh is not East Pakistan". Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
  5. ^ a b "'Sindhi separatists carried out 10 terror attacks across province in 2020'". The News. 4 January 2021.
  6. ^ Siddiqui, Habibullah. "The Soomras of Sindh: their origin, main characteristics and rule – an overview (general survey) (1025 – 1351 AD)" (PDF). Literary Conference on Soomra Period in Sindh.
  7. ^ Unofficial website on the Talpurs Archived 2006-05-24 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2006-03-04
  8. ^ Sindh Government history page, retrieved 2006-12-02
  9. ^ a b c Farhan Hanif Hanif Siddiqi (4 May 2012). The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir Ethnic Movements. Routledge. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-136-33696-6. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  10. ^ Goulbourne, Harry (2001). Race and Ethnicity: Solidarities and communities. Taylor & Francis. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-415-22501-4.
  11. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (1995). "Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining". International Journal of Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press. 27 (1): 73–89. doi:10.1017/S0020743800061596. ISSN 1471-6380. JSTOR 176188.
  12. ^ Suranjan Das (2001). Kashmir and Sindh: Nation-building, Ethnicity and Regional Politics in South Asia. Anthem Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-898855-87-3.
  13. ^ M.G. Chitkara Mohajir's Pakistan ISBN 81-7024-746-2
  14. ^ F. Ahmed. Pakistan's Problems p.130
  15. ^ Guerin, Orla (2010-06-22). "BBC News — Karachi faces growing Taliban menace". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-05.