A Talk from the heart - An Interview with Dr. Qadir Magsi
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AS: What were the conditions that lead you to the Sindhi nationalist politics?
QM: I was a common student interested in sports. I had no idea of politics. When I joined LMC in 1981, I came across the victimization of Sindhi students especially at the hands of the state-backed NSSO. I became aware of the bitter political realities and was initiated into political life. I met the leaders of JSSF, and formally joined the Federation.
Fighting against the Sindhi students by NSSO ghundas was an everyday scene. We resisted them violently, and ultimately wiped them out. I became popular, because of the strength of my character and courageous and continued my struggle for the freedom of Sindh under the leadership of G M Syed from the platform of JSSF.
AS: There were student wings of many political parties at that time, but what made you join JSSF?
QM: JSSF had the strongest ideological base. Another one was Peoples Party which, too, didn’t, have any clear ideology, there were some religious organizations but they didn’t have any role in the politics of Sindh, especially in the students’ politics. So, for me JSSF was the only choice.
AS: You started your political career under the guidance of G.M Syed’s ideological leadership. Then why did you part your ways with G.M. Syed?
QM: We have never parted our ways with G.M. Sayed. We still consider ourselves the continuity of his thoughts. We have never rejected the ideology of G.M Sayed. But one must bring some change in a thing that doesn’t bring out positive results. We found that G.M. Syed’s movement going on for 15-20 years along with the loss of many precious lives and the sacrifices and his imprisonment of many years couldn’t bring out any results, because Mr. Syed was encircled by the leaders that were not working seriously and sincerely, and were not allowing any serious and sincere person to come forward. Therefore, we thought it fit to part our way with Jeay Sindh Movement, and achieve the freedom of Sindh with our own strategy, and translate into reality the dreams of G.M Syed. I spent 3 years in jail, 6 years underground, thus wasted 11 precious of my life in that party, but Mr. Syed had no clearly defined program or strategy.
He used to say that he was not a practical politician, but a statesman and a political thinker. Although, no change could be brought out without practical politics. Those were the times when Sindh was suffering under the excesses and cruelties of the Punjab; on the other hand, the Punjab backed establishment imposed MQM upon Sindh, a purely anti-Sindhi clique. They also created Pathans and such other ethnic groups in Sindh. The representation of Sindhis was reduced at every level. Sindh was deprived of its political, social, economic, and cultural rights. In such a scenario, we decided that practical politics was the only way out to achieve the freedom of Sindh. We expressed our differences with Saeen even in his lifetime. Instead of making a Pir (saint) out of him, we thought to equate him with great revolutionaries of the world like Ho Chi Minh, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the likes. All these things were not palatable to the leadership of the day. So we selected our own way and founded Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party.
AS: How do you find G.M. Syed’s philosophy of the freedom of Sindh? Can Sindh achieve freedom? How do you view the role of the Sindhi bureaucrat?
QM: Sindh is virtually a colony; politically, economically, geographically, and culturally. Sindh is the homeland of 50 million Sindhis. It must appear on the world map as an independent state. We are freedom lovers and slavery is not acceptable to us in any shape. We have become worse slaves in the present day Pakistan after independence of Bangladesh. We must have our own free, independent homeland at any cost. If Pakistan disintegrates, and all the federating units become independent states, it would be agreeable to us. But if all the suppressed nationalities of Pakistan viz. Sindhis, Seraikis, Balochs, and Pakhtoons together restructure Pakistan, in such a way the Federation gets minimum authority and all the nationalities enjoy the right of self determination, they have total ownership of their total resources, and enjoy equal, respectable status, that, too, would be acceptable to us. At present we are slaves to the feudal lords and ethnic groups.
When we will be free from this slavery, then we can get freedom from the domination of the Punjab also. All the constitutions of Pakistan, written so far have proved against our fundamental objectives. The constitution of 1973 has ruthlessly denied the authority of Sindhis. The role of the Sindhi bureaucrat has never remained Sindh friendly or people friendly. The Sindhi bureaucrat is a fascist and corrupt. He arranges the gatherings of wine and women for his masters. Under the pressure of the dictators he acts as enemy to Sindh, as an enemy of Sindh. We are facing an acute dearth of technical personnel. Only thieves and dacoits have been planted in the interior of Sindh. Sindh is being destroyed against heavy gratifications. The bureaucrats spend thousands of rupees on prostitutes but are not ready to spend a hundred rupees in charity. The quota system has played havoc with Sindh. Merit bas been smothered. No poor man’s son can come forward. All the roads to his progressed have been blocked. STPP rejects such discriminatory treatment. We will bring forward the poor and the meritorious by ending the present system. . .
AS: Should politics be completely ousted from the educational institutions?
QM: We were and still are in the favor of the proposition that the negative politics must end in the educational institutions; and positive changes must be brought into student politics; because great political leaders and national leaders are produced in educational institutions. Unfortunately, the student politics in Sindh has gone negative. Under a deep conspiracy, the Sindhi student politics has been sabotaged. The student leaders have not exhibited a positive character. The VCs and teachers of the universities have gone corrupt. They are destroying the educational institutions of Sindh by promoting their hand-made student leaders. There are some political parties and leaders in Sindh whose whole political career depends on student politics. They grind their axes by providing narcotics to some addicts present in the educational institutions. We have brought drastic changes in our political strategies. We are now working in the countryside at the grass roots level.
We, therefore, rely no more on the student politics. A few years back, two students were murdered in the Mehran University. We therefore wound up our student wing. It brought a great loss to our student politics and the loss hasn’t been made up as yet. We suffered
this loss but did not allow the negative trends in our political system. We are now doing peoples’ politics and will take full part in the next elections and get the sons of the poor elected.
AS: In your opinion, what are the most crushing problems of Sindh at the present time that require immediate attention?
QM: The survival of Sindh is the top priority of the day. We have to save Sindh’s unity. Because anti Sindh elements and the ethnic groups like MQM are conspiring day and night to disintegrate Sindh. If our homeland is disintegrated and distributed, we will finish as a nation. In 1948, Palestine was divided on ethnic basis. The Zionists occupied Palestine and the Palestinians had to leave their country. They were exiled throughout the world. They started an armed struggle and are launching suicide attacks but cannot get their homeland freed. They have now agreed to have their country spread over two or three districts. In order to save Sindh from such a situation we have, first of all, to start a struggle.
AS: In case two provinces are carved out of Sindh, how can Sindh be saved?
QM: We will not allow anyone to divide Sindh, Whatever price we might have to pay, we will offer all the sacrifices that are needed. We might sacrifice unlimited number of youth, but not allow the disintegration of Sindh. At present we are struggling for restoration of the original status of Hyderabad and Karachi. We will resist every step that is carried towards disintegration of Sindh.
AS: What program do you have to stop the bifurcation of Sindh?
QM: Currently we are struggling for the restoration of Karachi’s old districts, and Hyderabad to its original status. We will resist with full force if someone tried to divide Sindh.
At present", he said, "the balance of public strength and force is in our favor. If we, the 50 million Sindhis, rise in unison, nothing in the world could break up or harm Sindh". "Anybody who will try to break up Sindh, will be broken into pieces himself". "But, on the contrary, if the nation did not wake up, and the national awareness is not created, if feudal and lords continued to lead us, then nothing will happen, nothing will save us from annihilation".
We have helped settle more than 10 Sindhi villages in Karachi, and continue settling more Sindhis around Karachi. We will resist any such divide of Sindh with full force". "But, the present government and the bureaucracy are strengthening MQM all over the Sindh. The PPP government has given 300,000 Benazir Income Support Cards to MQM, which they are distributing among poor throughout Sindh, and gaining their sympathies. They will use this strategy of winning public sympathy to try to divide Sindh in the future, and the coward Sindhi feudal/bureaucrat is busy saving his job by enrolling his relatives and tribes into MQM. We will foil all tactics of MQM and its likes
AS: Can the problems of Sindh be solved while staying in Pakistan under the current set up?
QM: If nationalist thought enters the Parliament of Sindh, many problems of Sindh can be solved. The entry of the aliens can be stopped; the fake cards can be cancelled. The unemployed youth of Sindh can be given jobs, the life of the poor can be changed, and the villages can be supplied with potable water. The waderas’ otaqs opened in the schools can be closed. The country side of Sindh can be developed. Corruption can be eliminated. The standard of education in the universities can be improved. A lot of change can be brought through parliamentary politics. Technology could be popularized. The curses like the 1973 (constitution) can be ended through legislation. The reverting forests can be saved. A lot can be done (through parliamentary politics).
AS: You are speaking of a big change. Two important elements are required to bring the change; mobilizing the masses, and organizing the masses for the change. Have you done such an organization to effect the change?
QM: People used to look down upon the nationalistic politics. We have to restore the people’s trust through moral character and sacrifices. We have started working in the villages since last 14 months. The nationalist politics was limited within a small circle.
But we have popularized it. During this movement, we have lost four of our workers. We have contacted 25 to 30 lac people. We have won 80,000 workers who will increase into two lac, hopefully, within the span of one year. We are working in a very organized way. Highly qualified and experienced people like Zafar Ujjan and Dr.Rajab Ali Memon have joined us with whose help we are reorganizing ourselves on scientific basis
AS: Some people say that PPP has jeopardized its success in the next elections by turning its back to the promises it made to its voters, on one hand, and forming an alliance with MQM on the other. Do you agree with that opinion?
QM: PPP had made two dealings: an obvious one and an under-the-table one. They bargained against Benazir’s blood and sought power. Sindhis can never forget Benazir’s blood. The day Asif Ali Zardari visited “nine zero”, decorated the MQM’s Farooq Sattar, and compared Altaf Hussain with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; PPP had died in the hearts of Sindhis. They took it as an insult to them. Musharraf’s policies continue in Sindh. Musharraf’s Governor still rules Sindh. Pathans have been given ministries in Sindh. Thus their hold is tightening. PP has committed great blunders. Sindh earning 2000bn Rs gets only 200bn under the NFC Award. Indus water has been given away to The Punjab. Musharraf tried to construct 5 dams, now Zardari is trying to construct 22 dams. Pathans from Sawat, Malakand, Bajaur and Waziristan are being settled in Sindh. The present government has set new records of corruption, and public insult and degradation. With the help of public we will end the malignant politics of PPP and MQM.
AS: If the elections were held today, were you ready to contest?
QM: We are very much ready. If elections take place right tomorrow, we might not get the desired results. But if we get a respite of, say, one year, we might grab 20 to 30 % seats. In Sindh, we will place candidates for every seat.
AS: What historical loss has the present government afflicted to Sindh?
QM: Musharraf government had divided Hyderabad district on ethnic basis. PPP had promised in its election campaign that they would restore Hyderabad district to its original position but they have failed to do so up until this time.
PPP was with us in the campaign against The Greater Thal Canal. But after coming into power they have completed the scheme. They did not think a bit for the honor and interests of the people of Sindh. They sent the murderer of BB to UK and USA. It is therefore futile to keep any hope in PP.
AS: Why do you call MQM a terrorist organization?
QM: Since the day MQM was founded, terrorist activities are rampant in Hyderabad and Karachi. More often than not they have been spilling the blood of innocent people on roads of Karachi and Hyderabad, in order to black mail government of the day and get their illegal demands accepted. Frequent appearance of the dead bodies in the sacks, drilling human bodies, cutting the female breasts and burning them with MQM marks. No one can ever forget the massacre of Sindhis in 87-88. More than 200 Sindhi engineers and students were killed. Even today, no Sindhi student can get admission in the educational institutions of Karachi. No unemployed Sindhi can get any job in Karachi. If a Sindhi intends to settle down in Karachi, his dead body is sent to his home. MQM has illegally occupied 5 lac acres of land in Karachi. In Hyderabad, in the name of Gulistan-e-Sarmast old Sindhi villages have been demolished and 13000 acres of land have been occupied. How else can we perceive MQM, if not a terrorist organization?
AS: What is the ultimate solution to the terrorism against Sindhis?
QM: Terrorism can be delt with collective force and nationalistic awareness. Sindhis must unite to get their entity recognized. 5 lac Sindhis gathered in ‘KARACHI IS SINDH’ rally, marched over the roads of Karachi. Sindhis should play their role in the elections in Karachi. If the constituencies are properly demarcated, Sindhis can win up to 30% seats there.
AS: Should some legal action be taken for securing admissions of Sindhis students in the educational institutions of Karachi?
QM: It is the government’s job. But at present the Governor of MQM is the Chancellor of the university. When there is a weakling like Qaim Ali Shah the Chief Minister of Sindh, nothing better can be hoped.
AS: According to the local socio-economic conditions in most of the countries around the world, people migrate from other states, and countries to have a better life. Why is there a hue and cry over entry of the people from other provinces into Sindh for better economic opportunities?
QM: Prior to 1947, the population of Sindh was around 5 million. Now it is around 60 million. This unnatural increase in the population has disturbed the balance of Sindh’s resources. Any Tom, Dick and Harry from anywhere in Pakistan or abroad seek to settle down in Sindh as if it were an international orphanage. As a result, Sindhis are turning into minority within their own Motherland. Wheresoever’s the natives turn into minority, they lose their natural rights. Therefore the inflow of the people from outside must be stopped forthwith.
AS: Political and social organizations play a vital role in progress of their nation. For example; creating awareness among people by starting up a cleaning campaign in neighborhoods, or around the city; motivating students by arranging seminars, and workshops; training local businessmen by arranging business seminars. What does your party do in that regard?
QM: We are doing everything within our capacity. The developed countries have their own working methodology. They have the institutions of social work that are doing their work there. In the countries like India and Bangladesh, the task is being performed by the civil society. We are still in the slavery phase. Slavery is the root cause of all evils and degradations. Therefore first of all it is important to put an end to slavery. When we free our society from slavery, we will play our role for its development and reconstruction. In spite of that we are quite ahead in this regard. We arrange free medication for the poor patients, organize free medical camps, donate free books to the needy students, run coaching centers, help people during natural disasters, etc.
AS: It is said that today’s youth is disgusted not only with PPP alone, but he is disappointed with the nationalist parties too, and has lost his trust in them. Therefore, he is now longing for a new leadership. Do you see yourself into the mirror of that new leadership?
QM: The parliamentary parties have failed already. The nationalists have never been given any chance. It is the negative propaganda against the nationalist leashed at the behest of the establishment in order to prevent ay positive social change in the Sindhi society. What type of leadership is being demanded in Sindh, Qadir Magsi and STPP are fully aware of it.
AS: Doctor, to what extent have you succeeded in your struggle so far?
QM: Great successes have been achieved. Society has accorded us love and respect. People have started understanding the nationalist politics. Massive participation in the ‘KARACHI IS SINDH’ rally and in the ‘YAUM-E-MADAR-E-WATAN’ substantiates this claim. Even in our gatherings held in smaller towns, people attend those to the tune of some 40,000, People are responding us positively. We’ll convert this popular sympathy into our vote bank and begin the construction and development of New Sindh.
AS: Why aren’t Sindhis united?
QM: Sindhis were very much united. They together voted for PPP. They were united on the platform of PPP. But they were not regarded. PPP is a failure party today, Sindhis will certainly unite on the platform of a new leadership; and that new leadership will certainly be that of PTPP.
AS: They say that Doctor Qadir Magsi is a man of the “agencies”. What do you have to say about it?
QM: I don’t care for that. I’m working for the emancipation of my country and my land. That is the struggle of the men of honor. My path is that of truth and righteousness. People who tread this path are always blamed. My character in the freedom movement is in front of Sindhis. I have remained underground and in jails for years. Every part of my body was tortured. I have reached this stage after risking my life and having crossed the pools of blood. I haven’t become a leader ‘overnight’. If, in return to my services to my motherland I am blamed or accused I will willingly accept it.