TORONTO: World Sindhi Congress (WSC) organized a seminar titled “National Self Determination of Oppressed Nations in Pakistan” in Toronto, Canada, on June 25, 2022. Panelists and participants from Sindh, Balochistan, Pakhtunkhwa, Siraiki Waseb, AJK and West Balochistan attended the event. Speakers presented their cases for national self-determination, highlighted their issues, and shed light on the historical background of their sovereign nations.
Organizer of WSC Canada, Asif Panhwar, moderated the seminar. He welcomed the distinguished speakers and guests and provided an overview of the plight of Sindhis and their struggle for the National Self-Determination.
The learned speakers of the event included Baseer Naveed, Executive Director of the International Human Rights Council-Hong Kong (IHRC-HK). Tarek Fateh, a columnist, writer, and HR activist, Hajan Kalhoro, Senior Vice Chairperson of WSC, Siraj Khan Moomand, President, Pashtun Council Canada, Sami Jan Mengal, Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada, Javed Tariq, President Siraiki Sangat Toronto, Mumtaz Khan Kashmiri, President, International Center for Peace and Democracy, Nader Baloch from West Balochistan, Najeeb Qiwani, and Fiza Kalhoro. Poetry recitals sessions by Salman Haider and Roohi Kalhoro were also part of the event.
Three videos on the recent advocacy work of WSC were shown in the seminar. A piece from Sain Baseer’s recent article on Shari Baloch and Nazim Jokhio was also read.
The speakers said that Pakistan’s military is the military of occupation. The military in the name of security and integrity of the country have grabbed millions of acres of lands and made cantonment and residential areas to occupy the centuries old villages and settlements of oppressed nations in effort to usurp and loot the natural resources and rights of the oppressed nations.
“We are the nations not the nationalities, we do not believe that there exists any Pakistani nation as Pakistan was created just 75 years ago whereas every Nation including Sindhis, Baloch, Pashtuns, Saraiki nations are existing since centuries, we are from the oldest civilized of the world”, emphasized the speakers. The speakers pointed out that, even, in the presence of constitution, a parliament, a so-called independent judiciary, the military and its spy agencies are busy in abduction and enforced disappearances of dissidents and activists. Mostly, the students, women and children from oppressed nations are the victims of enforced disappearances, torture, and extra judicial killings.
Speakers from Sindh highlighted national self-determination as defined by the UN and in the Canada’s perspective of Indigenous people. Sindhi speakers emphasised their great concerns on demographic situation and converting Sindhis in minority in their own province. They asked the representatives from other nations to jointly fight against efforts of converting Sindhi indigenous population in minority by violating all the norms legal rights of Sindhi masses. Also discussed plights of Sindhis, called for other oppressed nations’ friends to stop calling muhajir a nation, and showed concerned when workers from other provinces in Sindh portrays Karachi as their controlled area which is not acceptable at any cost.
It was resolved that an initiative must be taken for developing understanding among different Nations to work jointly on the issue of right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR), which has been ratified by Pakistan and continue struggle till the achievement of sacred goal of sovereign states.
Followed by the speeches a question-answer session was held.
It was pledged to continue the joint struggle against the ongoing rampant gross violations of human rights of the oppressed nations in Pakistan including the menace of enforced disappearances, custodial torture, and extra judicial killings. It was resolved to work and struggle jointly against the loot of resources and occupation of lands of the oppressed nations and to regain their right-to-self-determination and sovereignty.
At the end of the seminar, Hajan Kalhoro, Senior Vice Chairperson of WSC, thanked all the speakers and guests for their participation and contributions.