IN THIS ISSUE
-The Physical, Spiritual, And Artistic Journey of Mahirwan Mamtani
Volume 6 Issue 1 March 2019
Sindh Guardian Sindhi American Political Action Committee
-Extrajudicial Killings: Another Sindhi Murdered
-Letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo calling for justice for Irshad Ranjhani
-Media Manipulation: How fake is the news?
-CPEC: The New Cost of Infrastructure
-The Destruction of Sindhi Cultural Heritage Sites
Researched/Designed/Written/Edited by: Kalie Garwood
Contents 9-10 Media Manipulation: How fake is the news?
3 About This Issue -
Find out about the work of SAPAC and what went into the creation of this issue
4-5 The Physical, Spiritual, And Artistic Journey of Mahirwan Mamtani -
A look into the life of Sindhi Artist Mamtani as written in his autobiography
Information on the forced conversions of the sisters, as well as what SAPAC and Congressman Brad Sherman have done
12-14 CPEC: The New Cost of Infrastructure
The date behind these murders with facts on the recent killing of Irshad Ranjhani and what the U.S. Congress is doing about it
What does CPEC really mean for Sindh?
15-17 Insights into the politics of Heritage in Sindh: Crony monopolies, corruption and disregard of preservation
8 Letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo for justice or Irshad Ranjhani -
of Reena and Raveena
Quantum Physicist (1)
6-7 Extrajudicial Killings: Another Sindhi Murdered -
How and why do news sources change the story in order to create false sympathy or hatred towards Sindhi activists 11 The Recent Case
Finalized letter as well as signatures included
How does the treatment of heritage sites relate to corruption and preservation of a culture?
About this Issue This issue contains not only written pieces about the culture of Sindh, arts and struggles but, also the accomplishments of the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) in 2019 as of the release of this volume. One of the biggest accomplishments during this time has been the Dear Colleague letter regarding the brutal murder of Irshad Ranjhani. We are thankful to Congressman Brad Shermanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office for quickly beginning work on the letter. Since January, SAPAC has met with roughly 30 offices on the hill, and with the completion of this letter we reached out to the offices to make them aware of it. We are grateful to Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congressman Paul Gosar, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for signing the letter and call for justice for Ranjhani and all other victims of extrajudicial killings in Sindh. The letter can be found in this issue. We would also like to thank President Maqbool A. Halepota and Executive Director Fatima Gul for their input, all members of SAPAC for the work they have not only done this year, but all past years as well. The progress achieved by SAPAC on human rights violations would have been impossible without the help of everyone, including Sindhi Community. We would also like to individually thank Congressman Brad Sherman. Throughout his involvement with Sindh issues, Congressman Sherman has been a strong ally, as have all other members of the Sindh Caucus. Congressman Sherman often raises awareness for human rights violations through social media platforms.
The Physical, Spiritual and Artistic Journey of Mahirwan Mamtani Kalie Garwood Mahirwan Mamtani is a Sindhi artist living in Germany most known for his work with mandalas. His autobiography Indus to Isar focuses on the changes in Mamtani’s life as well as how connected it is. Even the title references his move from the Indus river to the Isar river. Mamtani’s first transition can be found in the 1947 Partition of India. To give some background on the partition, before 1947 India was governed by the British but they wished to oversee themselves. But, in India there was also tension between Hindus and Muslims. Thus, when the state received independence in 1947 India was split into two states, Pakistan and India. Pakistan was designated for Muslims and India for Hindus. This led to the biggest migration in history as both Photo of Mahirwan groups moved to their respective states, effectively disrupting Mamtani (2) the lives of many people. Mamtani was born in Sindh before the partition to a Sindhi Hindu family. Before the partition Mamtani lived a peaceful life that focused on family, harmony, and acceptance; values that can be found in Sindhi people throughout the world today as a result of its importance to the culture. He does not describe the time as being perfect however, this time in Mamtani’s life can be described as peaceful. But this all changed after the Partition of India. Forced conversions and enforced killings of the Sindhi people by the people who came to Sindh from elsewhere began. These people began threatening Sindhis, including Mamtani and his family. This caused them to decide to flee Pakistan for India instead of converting to Islam. However, they could not take a train as trains where being stopped during their journey by police and all the fleeing Sindhis on the train were killed. Therefore, they took a boat into India. In India, Mamtani and his family had a difficult transition to life in Delhi, his Mother and one of his brothers fell sick on the journey, his Father had difficulty finding work, they did not understand the language, and there was no education system set up for refugees. However, his family did regain their health, his Father did find a job, and Mamtani passed the Matriculation examination in order to complete his education and begin working. While working Mamtani took art classes at night. He also received a scholarship at the age of 30 to go to Germany to attend an art school. Mamtani describes his transition to Germany as being just as difficult as his transition to India. However, while living there Mamtani discovered his art style which he calls Centrovision. Centrovision uses the design of a mandala, Centrovision 168 (3) which represents the shape of the human psyche, in a square. The square is equal to matter and the circle is equal to spirit. The mandala is a focus point throughout all of Mamtani’s work
regardless of the medium or concept. The focus of Mamtani’s work is on self-knowlesge which is in relation to his belief in sufism. Sufism believes in acting as if God is always watching, and thus focusing on positive practices. These practices often include chanting and introspection. Something that Mamtani’s work is intimately involved in. This is especially true when Mamtani was teaching art. During this time, he began creating group pieces with his students. They would work together to create a mandala while listening to a mantra as a way of meditation and therapy. In his book, Mamtani writes about feeling as if he Bavarian Puff (4) had lost faith in his religion at one point before this and feeling as though he was lost. These group works began helping Mamtani with introspection and gaining self-knowledge, resulting in a coming back to his faith. This new self-knowledge led to Mamtani’s masks and faces installation. Mamtani considers these pieces to reflect himself and his inner emotions. Something that Mamtani and Sufism consider to be a common and important element in life. Inner emotions further connecting and unifying people much like Mumtani’s art. These masks also used the eye of contemplation, which focuses on the spirit and meditation, something that Mamtani did often while creating pieces. He continued these faces and masks into artworks containing full bodies. Centrovision 65 (5) Mamtani soon began crossing traditional boundaries in the art world. He did this through connecting different disciplines such as paint, film, music, dance and more. This connecting of differences goes further than Mamtanis mediums. Mamtani’s artwork reflects the coming together of the east and west. The harmonious coming together of different aspects reflects the beliefs of Sufism: acceptance, tolerance and harmony. It is impossible to view Mamtani’s work without seeing this relationship or the inner and spiritual journey that Mamtani believes he is still on to this day.
Various Centorvisions (6)
Extrajudicial Killings: Another Sindhi Murdered Kalie Garwood
An extrajudicial killing is defined as the killing of a person by a government or governmental authorities without judicial process. Extrajudicial killings are also referred to as fake encounter killings. These encounters have been plaguing nationalities such as Sindhis Balochis and Paktuuns since the creation of Pakistan. As time has gone on these encounters have continued to escalate causing a large number of killings. According to a report from The News International from January 2014 to May 2018 3,345 people were killed in Pakistan as a result of police encounters (7). This report breaks down these killings by province. Out of the provinces during this time period, Sindh has the most people killed in these encounters with 1,592 people killed (7). This is a devastatingly high number. However, it is likely that this number is incorrect and the actual number is in fact much larger. The News International conducted their report through the monitoring of newspapers and news reports throughout Pakistan in order to have these numbers. In 2016 the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported that the Inspector General of Police in Sindh claimed that there were 1,800 people killed in police encounters, but only 500 cases were reported in the media (8). This means that out of the extrajudicial killings reported less than half of them have been exposed by the media. The HRCP believes this means that there are Photo of Irshad Ranjhani (10) â&#x20AC;&#x153;invisible handsâ&#x20AC;? tampering with data involved with extrajudicial killings (8). All of these efforts showcase the fact that those participating in these killings understand they are breaking international law. In fact, extrajudicial killings break the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (9). While this is not a new issue it has continued to grow in the public eye, and it has become harder for those committing these murders to cover them up. A recent example of this change can be seen in the murder of 30year-old Irshad Ranjhani. On February 6th, 2019 Ranjhani, a Sindhi activist and President of the Sindhi nationalist group Karachi Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST), was killed by Union Council Chairman Rhahim Shah. Ranjhani was visiting family in Pakistan when he was shot four times in cold blood by Shah
in the middle of a crowd, where he remained and bled out for over an hour. After this, the police came and took Ranjhani to the police station instead of a hospital where protesters claim he was shot four more times to ensure his death. Ranjhani’s brother also informed the public that Ranjhani had gone missing before his murder. He disappeared for two days and his phone was cut off, making it impossible to reach him. The family did not know where Ranjhani was until he was shot in which case his brother appeared on the scene and was not allowed to bring Ranjhani to a hospital. When the family was finally allowed to bring Ranjhani home after his murder, his aunt died at the sight of his body. Shah claims that after he took money out from a bank Ranjhani and an unnamed man attempted to mug him while riding on a scooter. He also claims that they threatened him with a gun, and Shah shot Ranjhani four times in self-defense while the unnamed man fled the scene. However, there are videos of the murder which disprove Shah’s story. But, even with these videos the Pakistani government has publicly sided with Shah’s story. This resulted in large protests both online and in person calling for the arrest of Shah and justice for Ranjhani. As a result of these protests a First Information Report (FIR) was filed and Shah was arrested for impeding Ranjhani from getting to the hospital instead of his murder. The protest against this lessened arrest continue, and the Sindh Caucus in Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo which can be found on the following pages. Also, below is a tweet from Congressman Brad Sherman’s office regarding the murder of Ranjhani. Extrajudicial killings are a human rights violation that continues to happen, and thus needs to continuously be addressed. This struggle should be considered in all future discussions with Pakistan.
Dear Colleague Letter
Media Manipulation: How fake is the news? Kalie Garwood
Media Manipulation has had a lasting effect on news sources in Pakistan, and it is only increasing as time goes on. Through the use of language and censorship the federal and local government, military, and police enforcements in Pakistan are attempting to lessen the perceived harm they have done to Sindhis, Balouchis and Pakhtuuns. The media have agreed to participate in this as a result of numerous threats made against journalists from the military. The military will threaten these journalists with creating fake criminal cases against them or even attempting to murder them through ‘encounters’ (11). For many prominent journalists this has led to many of them leaving the country and keeping an eye on Pakistan from the West. Journalists who do decide to stay in the country and attempt to publish articles exposing human rights violations they now need to get past the news sources themselves. Recently, there has been an increase in the rejection of articles containing anti-government protests, anti-censorship values, and anti-military by newspapers as they fear production being stopped. In May of 2018 the distribution of Dawn, the oldest news source in Pakistan was stopped for months after they released an article criticizing the military. (11) In April of the same year, Geo TV, was taken off the air for a month in parts of the country until they could come to an agreement with the military to “not cross the military’s line” (11). The same news sources rejecting these pieces are also publishing ones that exclude any information about political rallies, making it appear as if they never occurred (12). They are also fabricating information in order to make the public more sympathetic towards those committing these crimes. They do this by reporting about the validity of the stories that criminals are telling. While these past examples have been about more direct ways the media has been influenced, there are seemingly indirect ways that media have changed their stories in order to create this sympathy or lessen the crime. The most popular and easiest way to do this is through the language used in a piece. This can be showcased in pieces about extrajudicial killings and forced conversions of Sindhis. Before going into the specifics of both cases, there are also similar tactics used in the two. For example, articles will include the terms forced conversion, murder, extrajudicial killing but put them into quotations. This denotes that the use of these terms is either being used incorrectly or are an exaggeration. Thus, attempting to minimize the actuality of what has
happened. Both also contain the word allegedly throughout them. The use of allegedly connotes that the story of events or information cannot be trusted and is incorrect. Thus, attempting to discredit the true stories of these human rights violations. When 30-year-old Sindh activist, Irshad Ranjhani was murdered early articles described this murder as one. However, since then articles about Ranjhani have changed the murder to an act of ‘self-defense’ as they begin to align with the story of the Chairman who shot him. They also have begun placing an emphasis on the criminal history of Ranjhani. By doing this the media is depicting Ranjhani as a bad person, and thus attempting to lessen the tragedy of his killing. This also helps to create a positive image of the Chairman, as in his story he claims that Ranjhani was attempting to rob him at gunpoint and thus people may come to believe that he was in the right to kill Ranjhani and may have even prevented future crimes from occurring. Thus, dehumanizing Ranjhani and others killed in these encounters, therefore negating any negative thoughts people may have about the situation as they are unable to relate to the victims. All of this coming together results in a justifying of the murders, making them an accepted part of the country. This type of language is also shown in forced conversions. When writing about forced conversions articles often refer to the kidnapper as the husband and the victim as the wife. They are also often referred to together as a couple. This is in order to validate the ‘relationship’ between the two. This is also done through referring to the victims by their ‘married name’. For example, in a piece by Dawn Photo of Aarti Kumari (14) about Aarti Kumari, a school teacher who was abducted, they refer to her as Ms. Mahwish (13). By doing all of this it makes the relationship between the two appear to be consensual, and that the family of the girls appears to just be discriminatory towards Muslims. Consequently, making them out to be those at fault in the situation. This manipulation of the media not only breaks Article 19A of the Pakistani Constitution, which ensures access to unbiased information, but also provides incorrect information to the public and therefore making it nearly impossible for accurate information to be passed on. Resulting in an even bigger struggle to come to justice.
The Recent Case of Raveena and Reena Kalie Garwood
On March 20th, 2019 two young Sindhi Hindu girls, Raveena (14) and Reena Meghwar (16) were kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men in order to convert them to Islam on the 22nd. This case quickly became part of global news as a result of the protests, both online and on social media. One of the people who raised awareness about this issue was Congressman Brad Sherman, who tweeted on the same day the girls were ‘married’.
This tweet had a huge effect on the action taken for Raveena and Reena’s case. Within 48 hours of this tweet the Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan ordered the governments of Sindh and Punjab to work together in order to find these girls. It is believed that the large number of social media posts and the attention they are receiving was the primary reason for this occurring. Since the PM’s order, eight men in Punjab have been arrested in relation to this case (21). However, there is no law banning forced conversions so if this case does go to court they will be tried for marrying a minor.
Photo of Raveena and Reena after they were converted (21)
CPEC: The New Cost of Infrastructure Kalie Garwood
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) began a few years ago in 2015 but, the lasting effects of it will forever change Sindh. Since its beginning, CPEC has continuously intensified political tensions in Pakistan while groups have fought over whether it is widening or shrinking social divides. Thus, resulting in new conflicts throughout the country. The biggest opposition comes from Sindh and Balochistan. This is because while a majority of the project takes place in Sindh, they are unlikely to receive any of the benefits. In fact, the province most likely to gain from CPEC is Punjab, the wealthiest and most powerful province. This article will discuss the plans and goals Highways Network Of CPEC (15) of CPEC and how they negatively affect the groups they are proposed to be ‘helping’. To begin, the main goal of the China Belt and Road Initiative is to reconnect the silk road and expand it even further. By doing this, China will be connecting itself to the rest of the world through highways, railways, seaways and more. China is also projected to gain $2.5 Trillion from these roads. Pakistan joined this agreement with the belief they would be making money as well. Since the project has begun however, the cost of it has risen by about $2 billion every month and is estimated to cost around $60 billion just for CPEC (16). The road network for CPEC passes through all of the urban and strategic areas on Sindh (17). In order to do this, they have begun taking land from owners of land in Sindh. The government will take the land from the Sindhis and sell it to China without the landowner’s permission. Sometimes this land is sold for as little as $1 an acre. However, no matter the cost these people do not receive the money from their land and instead are just displaced and forced to find other places to live. A majority of those losing land are large landowners. These large landowners are usually farmers, meaning that they are also losing their livelihoods when their land is taken away. They are taking farmland away in order to improve agriculture through technical advancements in hopes of strengthening the agricultural industry as a whole. Through CPEC they are hoping to raise their agricultural production by around 13% to 18% and take over a quarter of the world’s food needs (16). Part of the method of doing this is making privately owned land public, thus, the stealing of land. It is also unlikely that any Sindhis will get jobs working on these farms. Based on past hiring record, 80% of jobs that result from CPEC will be given to people from outside of
Sindh (17). In 2017, out of the 15 approved projects in CPEC, eight of them were in Sindh. These 15 projects were estimated to create around 2.3 million new jobs, out of these jobs only 0.8 million of them were in Sindh. Out of these jobs, it is estimated that Sindhis would be likely to receive only 0.16 million jobs while they are paying the heaviest price for these projects. It is also very likely that no Sindhis will receive these jobs at all, raising the price even higher. Not only is their land being taken, but so are their natural resources. 56% of Pakistanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil and 55% of its gas come from Sindh (18). It also has one of the largest coal mines in the world in the Tharparkar District of Sindh. 75% of Pakistanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electricity comes from Tharparkar (17). This natural resource of coal has also been sold off to China as part of CPEC. One of the main projects of CPEC is the Thar Coal Project. This project focuses around the creation of a power Tharparkar Power Plant (20) plant which will run on the coal mine. The plant will then be connected to the national power grid in hopes of not only making up for power that is needed, but also to help power the rest of CPEC projects. The plant is expected to begin working during early 2019 and cost somewhere between $670 million and $845 million. This project has also displaced around 172 families who would be compensated through the creation of a new village (19). However, things involved with CPEC such as the providing of a new village are often hard to believe. This is because CPEC lacks transparency, those being affected by it are often unaware of what is truly happening. By refusing to give out details to the public, CPEC is helping to fuel the previously mentioned political tensions as no one can know what they will target next until they are already there. By doing these things, like a power plant, without consulting those living there first not only are the residents wronged but projects are more likely to cause more harm. This harm comes from ill knowledge of the area, thus ruining the environment, or more violent protests against the creation of the project and more. In actuality CPEC has been continuously harming the environment of Sindh. Through the creation of the power plant much of Thar was hurt and the environment will never be recovered. The building of roads in CPEC has also resulted in destroying the environment that still exists. As previously mentioned, a large portion of Sindhis are farmers and because Sindh is a coastal country many of them are fisherman as well. This constant
construction has created more and more pollution in Sindh, resulting in less fish. While Sindh produces over 70% of the money in Pakistan, 75% of the population lives in poverty (17). Throughout this article, I have referenced the prices of each specifically mentioned project of CPEC. Most, if not all, of this money is coming from loans from China. By the end CPEC it is estimated that Pakistan will owe China $90 billion. This debt does not count any of the money Pakistan owes anywhere else, just China. It is unlikely that China will allow this debt to sit, and much more likely that they will attempt to immediately begin collecting their debt. But, it is even more likely that Pakistan will not have the money to pay these debts. Thus, it is likely that the future will be one of economic slavery where Sindh continues to be depleted of all resources and the population slip even further into poverty as a result.
Insights into the politics of Heritage in Sindh: Crony monopolies, corruption and disregard of preservation P. Sayed After one pleasant meeting with a highly qualified and passionate young Heritage Manager in Karachi, I came across dismaying difficulties that Sindh’s cultural heritage is embroiled in; difficulties that were not so much conspiratorial in nature as they were related to cronyism in the Heritage department of the province of Sindh, monopolistic hierarchies of established heritage-related professionals who are active obstacles to dynamism and innovation in the field, and a general disregard for preservation that is substituted by the capitalistic and corruption-intentioned ‘tourism’ and (non-inclusive) ‘development’ oriented plans for Heritage sites— like Bhanbore— in Sindh. In the meeting we discussed the dampened prospects that surrounded the ancient site of Bhanbore, immortalized in the verses of Sindh’s legendary Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in his tale of Sassui and Punhoon. While folklore lends the site a plenitude of mysticism and romance in the local imagination, dedicated archaeologists, both local and international—notably French and Italian archaeological missions—are devoted to re-stitching the history of the site with larger mercantile exchange networks of ancient times. Bhanbore, as per all the research conducted, is the fabled port of Debal, and was once a mighty port and city-state that traded with merchants from all over the world, possessed formidable urban planning, produced textile and perhaps even glass (a confirmation of which would make it the only glass-making hub in South Asia at the time!), and had a bustling population whose society was characterized by prosperity, peace and pluralism. Archaeologists have divided the life of the mighty city into three historical epochs: the Scytho-Parthian era, Hindu-Sassanian period, and the Islamic age which started in the 8th Century. The city-state that operated from centuries well before the Common Era (or the BC era) seemed to have been gradually abandoned, ravaged by earthquakes, consumed by mounds of sand, and debris from the Indus Delta, and ultimately obliterated, of both its existence and from global memory, by the 10 th and 11th Century. Centuries Later, it was first excavated under the British Imperial government in India in 1928, and then in 1951 and excavations of varying scales continue to this day. The excavations conducted by Pakistani archaeologists in the midst of the 20 th century notably celebrated, the remains of a mosque that was found in Bhambore. This also led to an important instance of ancient ruins being operationalized by modern Nation-States (or State Nations— states whose ‘national identity’ is fashioned post the consolidation of its borders) that use artifacts to legitimize their raison d’ê tre. Like most State-Nations, in the early years of Pakistan, a lot of fabrication was undertaken in order to legitimize its existence, as an Islamic country that it was ‘destined to be’, because Islam found hold in the subcontinent through a port located in modern-day Pakistan. It was the inclusion of historic anchorage and propagative operationalization of fact into narrative that generated one of the many stories of Pakistan: a destined Islamic promised land.
This is the kind of narrative making that one needs to caution from, and others need to counter, in today’s time. Propaganda may have been an important facet of the 20th century, and in the nascent stages of a young and fragile country, but the present century is an information-aly liberal one. One where Facts, need to be upheld in an era of post-truth, alt-facts and fake news sponsored by state and non-state apparatus’ and actors. And one domain that no one would think of paying attention to is Cultural Heritage, which can be subjected to both distortion and destruction, causing insidious damage to the collective consciousness of a historic nation, like Sindhi peoples’. While it may to be presumptuous and perhaps paranoid to assume that the Pakistani state would overtly try to use the site of Bhanbore to solidify its narrative of a Muslim haven—it no longer needs ideological propaganda of this sort especially when other more effective propagative measures are successfully in place— the narrative of Bhanbore risks being more under-developed than over-developed. In the meeting, the heritage manager expressed remorse at the sheer lack of interest that surrounded Bhanbore, despite it being on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites, and how this general disinterest helps those who would rather profit from a lease, sale or ‘development’ of nearby (unexcavated) land, which could generate monetary benefits for few influential parties that are under the Sindh provincial government’s fold. An example of this is the recent destruction of an ancient dried-up river way that ran across the heritage site. It was bulldozed and built over by a contracting company that belonged to the family of the Directorate General of the Antiquities Department of Sindh. Interestingly too, the bulldozer only stopped razing everything in its path up till the property owned by Sindh’s ruling party’s dynastic family, which stands very near to the heritage site of Bhanbore and operates as the privately-owned SZABIST university. This is the cronyism that is enabled by the disinterest in cultural heritage. Political leverage and power in Sindh could allow one to get way with literal and figurative murder. The destruction that happened at the site of Bhanbore in early 2019, (or the destruction of the nearby ‘Garden of Sassui’, which was immortalized in folklore, to make way for a military check post in the area) is something that no one speaks about; no news outlet carries news of the destruction. It also drove a devoted, and prolific Italian archaeologist away from the site due to frustration in March 2019, has also borne no consequences for anyone. The archaeologist (Ms. Piacentini) was housed in near-horrific quarters to work from on the site courtesy of the Antiquities department of the Sindh Government. She was not allowed to work as per her wishes, due to red tape unleashed by two complicit forces. One of them includes (provincial) governmental forces that do not want the site to generate a level of interest, making it unavailable to be used for ‘development’ purposes (such as exclusive housing societies and ‘touristy’ Olympic size swimming pools). The second force is a hierarchy of academics that, with he lp from the government, are able to keep prestigious government-appointed positions and derive benefits from them by allowing them to thwart the possibility of younger, foreign or newer devoted archaeologists to unearth the site so that their authority and word are not challenged. This group of influential, established archaeologists also overlooked the disaster that was the Sindh Festival in 2014, an event hosted on the ruins of the World Heritage Site of Moenjodaro, in clear violation of not just UNESCO rules but also Pakistan’s Antiquities Act. Then there is also the strange and pitiful circumstance where a renowned archaeologist and academic Monique Kevran, was found traumatized and injured in a ditch on the site that she was studying in Bhanbore, following which
she was said to have abandoned her mission, left the country along with valuable research and retired from public life. Ms. Piacentini succeeded her, but she too seems to have left after being discouraged and frustrated by the recent bulldozing of the lake on site and the unfriendliness of few local archaeologists who do not wish to be overshadowed by her prominence. When so much of the site is manipulated (read destroyed) the site would cease to be eligible for the status of a World Heritage Site. The publicity that this title would bring, is likely to generate global and local interest in the site, and a more practical benefit of this would be the fact that the site would be designated the title of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), thus expanding its stakeholders. When the site becomes part of one colossal World Heritage, the chance for there to be more bi-partisan parties involved in the meaning-making process and preservation efforts surrounding the ancient site in question would also increase. Also, with a more globally oriented, secular narrative the site could be rescued from being potentially operationalized for propagative purposes that would obfuscate Sindh’s prosperous, pluralist, secular and transcontinental history and historic culture. The Heritage Manager that was consulted disregarded the possibility of this conspiratorial hijacking of the narrative, but only under the circumstance that the archaeologists and academics that wish to work on fields such as Bhanbore, are given a free hand and formidable support of the government to do so. This is important because there is no way, the Manager said, that the narrative of Bhanbore can be hijacked and narrowed if “pure fact” was to reign supreme, and the only way “pure facts” about Bhanbore’s illustrious and pluralist history can find its way into ‘official narrative’ is if dedicated and bi-partisan academics are allowed to carry out their work and not driven away by ‘incidental’ circumstance and bureaucratic hassles on the site. In conclusion, if the dismal status quo persists, there can only be a slow and tragic destruction of Sindh’s cultural history and this would lead to an erasure of the sensibilities of the Sindhi people with regards to their culture and history. With the loss of this sensibility Sindhis could just become a conglomerate of a historic peoples—people with no sense of national identity, collective history, or pride in their past. But more immediate and material damage still occurs at this heritage site, which could eventually not make it to the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO, and not be able to get the care and attention that it could get from global stakeholders and preservationists who wish to preserve its sanctity: both physical and intellectual. Bhanbore needs to breathe again, for the sons and daughters of its soil, and to become the missing piece of puzzle in the grand history of the world.
Notes Cover Image: Cobalt123. “Indian Coverlet, Embellishment” https://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/3482592081/in/photostream/ 1.“Mahirwan Mamtani: Centrovision Praxis|Retrospective.” Art Soul. 2018. Accessed March 14th, 2019 https://www.galleryartnsoul.com/portfolio_page/mahirwan-mamtanicentrovision-praxis-retrospective. 2. “Mahirwan Mantani.” Facebook. Accessed March 14th, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/Mahirwan-Mamtani-348740971857271/. 3. “Mahirwan Mamtani.” Wikipedia. December 31st,2018. Accessed March 14th, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahirwan_Mamtani. 4. Resnik, Muriel. “Meet the Artist Mahirwan, Mamtani, Painter” Singulart. November 7th, 2017. Accessed March 14th, 2019. https://blog.singulart.com/en/2017/08/22/meetthe-artist-mahirwan-mamtani-painter/. 5. “Mahirwam Mamtani.” Gerhald Zähringer. Accessed March 14th, 2019. http://www.zaehringer-zuerich.com/mahirwan-mamtani.html. 6. “Mahirwan Mamtani.” Visual Melt. Accessed March 14 th, 2019.
https://visualmelt.com/Mahirwan-Mamtani. 7. “3,345 Killed in Police Encounters from Jan 2014 to May 2018.” thenews.com.pk, January 20th, 2019. Accessed March 5th, 2019. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/421133-3-345-killed-in-police-encounters-from-jan2014-to-may-2018. 8. Recorder Report, “HRCP Launches Annual Report: Extra-judicial Killing Is a Crime”, Business Recorder, May 6th, 2016, Accessed March 5th, 2019 https://fp.brecorder.com/2016/05/2016050643392/. 9. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted 10 December 1948 ) UNGA Res 217 A(III) UDHR) arts 2, 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 23 March 1976) 999 UNTS 171 (ICCPR) arts 2, 6, 14, 16, 26; see UNGA, Summary of Arbitrary Executions (18 December 1990) A/Res/45/162; Un Commission on Human Rights, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (5 March 1992) E/CN.4/RES/1999/72 Accessed March 5 th, 2019. 10. “Justice for Irshad Ranjhani.” Facebook. February 8TH, 2019. Accessed March 14 th, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/justiceforinnocentirshad/photos/a.292249744792408/2922577 41458275/?type=3&theater. 11. David Khattak and Frud Bezhan, “Everybody Is Scared: Pakistani Media Fighting Losing Battle With Censorship”, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, June 3rd, 2018, Accessed March 6th, 2019. https://www.rferl.org/a/everybody-is-scared-pakistanimedia-fighting----and-losing----battle-with-extreme-censorship/29268374.html.
12. Umar Farooq, “How Pakistani media has come a full circle under Imran Khan”, News Laundry, December 31st, 2018, Accessed March 6th, 2019. https://www.newslaundry.com/2018/12/31/pakistani-media-imran-khan-censorship. 13. Dawn Report, “Women Seeks Protection from Family after Conversion, Freewill Marriage.” Dawn.com, September 12th, 2017, Accessed March 6th, 2019. https://www.dawn.com/news/1357027. 14. “Pakistan Hindu Sabha.” Facebook. September 11th, 2017. Accessed March 14th, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/PakHinduSabha/posts/arti-kumari-became-mehwishas-it-always-happens-in-every-abduction-and-forced-co/1757606184540226/. 15. Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. “China Pakistan Economic Corridor Maps.” China Pakistan Economic Corridor Official Website. Accessed March 14th, 2019. http://cpec.gov.pk/maps. 16. “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Opportunities and Risks.” Crisis Group, October 25th, 2018, Accessed March 7th, 2019. https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/southasia/pakistan/297-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-opportunities-and-risks. 17. Asian Human Rights Commission, “Sindh: Repercussions of CPEC Project for Indigenous People Will Be Catastrophic.” UNPO, March 23rd, 2017, Accessed March 7th, 2019. https://unpo.org/article/19971. 18. K. Alan Kronstdat, “Pakistan’s Sindh Province”, October 29th, 2015, Accessed March 7th, 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/sindh.pdf. 19. Hanif, Samoon, “Thar Coal project to Start Production by Mid-February, Says CM.” Dawn.com, December 7th, 2018, Accessed March 7th, 2019. https://www.dawn.com/news/1449853. 20. Developing Pakistan. Twitter. December 11 th, 2018. Accessed March 14th, 2019. https://twitter.com/developmentpk/status/1072488410311467008. 21. Aslam, Mohammad Malik. “Timeline: the disappearance of Raveena and Reena.” Geot.tv. March 28th, 2019. Accessed March 28th, 2019. https://www.geo.tv/latest/232320timeline-the-disappearance-of-raveena-and-reena
Address 1301 K Street NW Washington, DC 20071
Social Media @SAPAC @sindh_sapac @Sindhipac Sapac Sindh