THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF PAKISTAN
THE WAR ON WOMEN
THE SINDHI LANGUAGE: IS IT BEING ERASED? 1 | THE SINDH GUARDIAN
CONTENTS 4 THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF PAKISTAN Sufi Laghari
6 SINDHI LANGUAGE How is Sindhi culture erasure related to the erasure of their language?
10 S.A.P.A.C. AT EMERSON Academic Advocacy is an important way The Sindhi American Political Action Committee works on behalf of Sindhis in university settings.
12 AN OPEN LETTER Addressed to the recently decided President Elect
14 SINDHI WOMEN AND GIRLS How are they being affected by Extremism?
18 MILITARY BUDGETS A detailed report on the panel hosted by the Stimson Center on Military Budgets in Pakistan and India
20 ARTIST SPOTLIGHT A feature on Tooba Tariq Khan
22 MEET THE INTERNS The 2016 Fall interns for S.A.P.A.C.
22 MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN print by: Tooba Tariq
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What President Elect Trump means for the Sindhi people
CONTRIBUTORS POLA DOBRZYNSKI EDITOR IN CHIEF / LAYOUT AND DESIGN / WRITER
ETHAN TRUCKER EDITOR
NATALIE CASEY-SANGER WRITER
HANNA ZINN WRITER
TOOBA KHAN GRAPHICS 3 | THE SINDH GUARDIAN
The views expressed in this publication are of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of S.A.P.A.C.
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FP A KI
FUTURE E H T O ON
I R A LAGH
Sufi Munawar Laghari a humble follower of Sindh’s great Sufi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752). An ardent proponent of Sindh and Balochistan’s unity, Mr. Laghari has tirelessly worked for the two oppressed peoples’ freedom from Pakistan. Sufi Laghari was invited to speak at the SAATH FORUM’s ‘Future of Pakistan Conference 2016’ in London, UK. Aside from his speech, he also presented in writing, a clear message for the Pakistani establishment that reflects the ground realities of the two nations of Sindh and Balochistan today. We present here Sufi Laghari’s brief speech and the written message for our readers. You can watch Mr. Laghari’s speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvIz2-x3LUo
Respected Friends, The future of Pakistan will be decided by the attitude of the ruling establishment towards the people living within its frontiers, either by force or by its own choosing, and its attitude towards its neighbors. These two parts are where Pakistan has failed miserably; from day one, it has taken away the rights of the Baloch, Bengali, Sindhi, and Pashtun people. They have done so through using Islam, “national sovereignty,” and other mottos that strengthen the ruling elite and nationalities. Tensions between other neighboring countries have helped keeping the army the most powerful group within Pakistan, and, naturally, the Punjabis that have the most soldiers within the army. The Baloch were denied independence, the government representing the Pashtuns was illegally dismissed, and the Bengalis have been persecuted against: their culture, language, and history being considered inferior. The Bengalis have been forced to accept the ruling nationalities as superior and more worthy of ruling over them. The Sindhis have gotten the worst of both worlds as they have become second-class citizens in their own land; migrants have usurped the Sindhi’s language, culture, and land. Violent persecution against the Sindhis has not been as brutal as the persecution against the Baloch, but it has been just as effective. With this in mind, asking a Sindhi or a Baloch to take part in a conference that hopes to secure a future for Pakistan, thus consolidating the power of the ruling elite, is unbelievable, especially believing that the Sindhi and Baloch have forgotten these injustices that have occurred to them since the Partition of 1947. Any fair-minded Sindhi or Baloch cannot simply forget this history just because he or she has been invited to a “brainstorming” session where a group of Pakistani intellectuals have been invited to attend; however, I am attending with several reservations. My views are very clear on Pakistan; Pakistan, as a state, is an extension of colonial power in South Asia. To add on to that, it is a military state and has become an epicenter for global terrorism. In addition, it has always been a “prison” for the oppressed and the illegally occupied nations of the Sindhis and Baloch. Pakistan does not have a future in today’s world. Such is our tragedy: as long as Pakistan exists, Sindh and Balochistan do not have a future. Respectfully, Munawar Laghari (Sufi)
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e r o f e B e g
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n o i t i t r
“We know that language, literature and culture are interrelated. The process of receiving cultural heritage is from language to literature and from literature to culture. Due to some historical events, this normal way of cultural transformation is blocked for the Sindhi Community. Today, Sindhis are scattered throughout India and all parts of the World. Everywhere, Sindhis have adopted the local language. The new generation of Sindhis, due to lack of Sindhi language and literature, feel that Sindhis do not possess culture of their own. These youngsters are therefore not emotionally attached to their own roots. They feel shy to be recognized as Sindhis and suffer from inferiority complex.”Satish Rohra, for Sindhishaan The Sindhi language, one of the oldest languages in the world, has a long and fascinating history of how it has evolved and endured over time. Since the partition of India and Pakistan, circumstances have been bad for the Sindhi language and its native speakers. This language is also an important part of Sindhi culture and tradition, as well as the native language of millions of people; the government has always supported work that marginalizes Sindhi language, and through that Sindhi people. Promoting the visibility and use of Sindhi language in Pakistan and India could mean massive improvement of quality of life for these people, as well as represent an increase in respect for them and their culture. Scholars worldwide have determined that Sindhi has existed as a language since at least the 10th century CE, with precursors to the language existing several hundred years earlier. For instance, the first Sindhi Quran and the first Sindhi Mahabharata were both written in the 8th century CE. This long history of Sindhi language is accompanied by a rich tradition of Sindhi poetry and song. Sindhi people have passed down centuries of dramatic epic poems and songs and have developped variety of poetic forms--like kafi, vai, dohras, bellan, chhallas, moriro, senhras, and many more, all with roots in different parts of Sindhi culture. While there are several very well known historical Sindhi writers and poets, including Pir Sadardin and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, the Sindhi literary movement has not stopped following partition. Writers like Mirza Kalich Beg and Makhdoom Muhammad Zaman TAlib-ul-Mola (who also cofounded the Pakistan People’s Party) were very influential throughout the 20th century, and not long after partition the Sindhi Adabi Sangat--a modern Sindhi literary forum which has only grown and gained popularity over time--was founded. There are different kinds of writing which have been used for Sindhi over the years, but there is a great deal of dispute over which is the “right” script to use. By the early 1800s several authors--both Indian and European--stated that there were several different scripts in use for Sindhi, including Hatavanika (or Khudabadi), Gurmukhi and
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Devanagari and Arabic. Two of the main scripts in this controversy are Arabic and Devanagari. Many say that Devanagari is the original script of Sindhi, and that the Arabic is just an expression of Muslim influence in Sindhi culture. However, Sindhis--widely known for their multicultural nature--have incorporated both of these script forms into their culture; eliminating one would be erasing a whole subculture in Sindhi language, and denying some of the rich intercultural history of the Sindhi people. While dispute over this began before the partition, the partition has stratified Sindhi language use in India and Pakistan. The 52-letter Arabic script is still the official script for Sindhi in Pakistan and India. The Indian government declared Devanagari a co-official script for Sindhi in 1950. The two-nation theory that India and Pakistan should be partitioned based on their people’s religion meant that, in the creation and partition of these states, ethnic groups have been marginalized and treated as secondary identities. Partition of India and Pakistan and development of official provinces was a period of massive erasure for Sindhi language and cultural identity. After the partition many Sindhi Hindus were compelled to move to India--because of the religious tension in their new country--and many Sindhi Muslims compelled to move to Pakistan. Censuses from 1947 report approximately 14 million displaced people after partition, nearly 800,000 of whom were Sindhi Hindus fleeing to India. Local communities were not equipped or interested in accommodating this group of people. In both India and Pakistan, legislation has been fought over for years to establish the right to use any version of Sindhi--but this legislation has not been effectively implemented. The decline of Sindhi language has a connection to the status of the Sindhi community in India and Pakistan, because it is so integral to their lives in a variety of ways. They are immediately at an educational, economic, political, and cultural disadvantage (education, trade and commerce, and public services) in all levels of society once the government implements policies and programs which marginalize their language. Pakistani legislation exists that is supposed to provide representation in Sindhi and funding/programs in Sindhi; Mark Act 1972 and the Amendment Act 1990 are both intended to promote Sindhi language learning, development and use. Pakistan has not yet adopted Sindhi as an official language, despite popular urging for the government to do so. The local government of Sindh province recently moved to ask the Pakistani government to formally recognize the Sindhi language. For those who are trying to support the Sindhi language in Pakistan, it is an uphill battle as the Sindhi language is nearly on the brink of falling into disuse. There are approximately 75 million native Sindhi speakers worldwide, and yet there are barely any resources for these Sindhi speakers--for education or in public life.
Sindhi speakers--for education or in public life. Even though there are some resources in Sindhi--for example, it is one of the official languages of India--the erasure of Sindhi culture is represented by this situation, but also goes much deeper. Sindhi people are harshly harassed and discriminated against, and are often forced into situations where they live in a place where their heritage makes things harder so they must adapt. Especially in displaced communities, older generations have spoken out about how their children and grandchildren donâ€™t have as much access to their culture and so become more native to the area they have settled in. It is important for Sindhis to learn the local language and often donâ€™t have a community outlet to speak Sindhi with. Even though there is legislation in Pakistan, as well as foreign support, which is supposed to help provide Sindhi language programs and education, they are are usually not implemented for a variety of reasons; funds are never provided for programs, or officials set up ghost programs to fulfill these programs on paper. Many see this as an exertion of power over this minority group by keeping them from having the same resources as other groups. The difficulties Sindhi people have seen over the years facing blatant ethnic discrimination and coping with the damaging effects of being treated as less have had a direct impact on them, even just getting education in Sindhi. The situation has become so dire that some feel that unless something is done, Sindhi will cease to be a written language and be only an oral tradition among those Sindhis who pass it down. There are some organizations that promote Sindhi language use and education, like the Institute of Sindhology, Sindhishaan, and the Sindhi Language Authority. The Sindhi American Political Action Committee works to raise public awareness about Sindh and Sindhi peoples issues, to inform and influence the American political process to address the rights of Sindhis, and to raise awareness about efforts to discriminate against Sindhi language, culture, values and way of life. We are based in Washington D.C. but work with and support Sindhi communities worldwide.
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S . A . P. A . C . at
BY POLA DOBRZYNSKI Working at the Sindhi American Political Action Committee has given me many opportunities to advocate in different areas. My work takes me to Capitol Hill, many online platforms, and the academic realm. When I first became aware that I might have the opportunity to share the important work I have been doing with the students at my alma mater, I knew I had to dedicate time and effort to make it possible. There is probably not a more receptive community to the plight of the Sindhis than the community at Emerson College. It is a community I am proud to be a part of, with progressive students eager to learn about and ease the hardships of oppressed minorities. After reaching out to several professors about coming in for class presentations, I was growing increasingly discouraged by the lack of response. My first instinct was to reach out to assorted educators who taught classes about human rights and the like. However, after reaching several dead ends, I finally got a response from Dr. Yasser Munif, who teaches an interdisciplinary class on the topic of Islamophobia. It was a perfect class to present in, at the intersection of U.S. impact on the Middle East and the Muslim community, some of whom are Sindhi. Once I booked my tickets to Boston, I had to get to work on the presentation. There have been many other interns that have cycled through SAPAC who have done academic advocacy with unique presentations that have been tucked away into our google drive, but I knew I wanted to tailor mine to feature more Sindhi issues that affect Muslim communities. I thought it also might be helpful to give background into the kind of advocacy SAPAC does as well as some context as to the history of Sindh and how political action committees function. One of the challenges was to condense a whole eight thousand years of history into a thirty minute presentation, but I knew there were certain things I had to cover. One of the concepts that sets the stage for the state in Sindh is the control the military has over Pakistan. In Pakistan there is an overlap between the army and the central government. Nothing in the Pakistani parliament can be passed without the approval of the military and they can be characterized as violent and forceful in terms of how they carry out the law in Pakistan. There is a branch of army called ISI which is involved in a long series of extrajudicial killings, and forced
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disappearances. The people affected? Human rights activists, journalists, or anyone who says anything against the military are targeted. What really sets the stage for SAPAC’s advocacy in the states is that The US has been financially supporting Pakistan’s military for years, even in instances when funding is supposed to have supported the development of Pakistan’s common people. Needless to say, I was a little bit nervous to give the presentation. Despite Dr. Munif being extremely friendly via email, the twenty minutes he set aside for class questions was daunting. In my time at SAPAC, I have gained the knowledge and experience to articulate what it is that we do and the issues that we work on. Despite all of the information I have been made aware of, I was nervous someone might ask a question I would not be able to answer. However, I could not have been more wrong. The class turned out to be relatively small, of only around 25 students, some of which I knew. They were extremely attentive during the presentation, and while they did ask provocative and compelling questions, I was able to answer them to the best of my ability. Dr. Munif was also extremely helpful in chiming in to fill in some of the gaps when discussion arose regarding the specifics of Islam. Overall it was an honor and a privilege to be able to share the work that I have been doing this semester with the people in my college community.
sample of my powerpoint presentation
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r e tt
By Hanna Zinn 12 | THE SINDH GUARDIAN 12
President-elect Donald Trump, I am writing to you as a concerned citizen and as a voice for a population of people that are not allowed to have a voice of their own, the Sindhi people. You may not know who these people are or where they come from or what they stand for, but they set an example of what this world should strive to be like. The Sindhi people are not a religious group, and represent 55,245,497 people in Pakistan and over 50,000 Sindh Americans who live peacefully and productively in the United States today. Sindhi Americans are doctors, educators, engineers, and add to our already multicultural workforce. The Sindhi people do not believe in violence as a way of gaining control or power. People of all religions are part of the Sindh nation, there are Sindhi Christians, Sindhi Hindus, Sindhi Muslims, Sindhi Jews and so many more. They all live together in peace, and represent the kind of society the United States and other countries all over the world should emulate. The Sindhi people in Pakistan are persecuted and face detrimental human rights violations because of their views. Their historical language of Sindh is not recognized by the government of Pakistan, even though 61% of the people living in Sindh speak Sindh as their primary language. They do not have adequate access to healthcare, education, or economic services, and as a Republican, you should be very concerned about these issues. The U.S. has planned to give $34 billion in foreign aid to Pakistan for FY 2017. This aid money is a good idea in theory, but in practice there is no way to be certain that Pakistan will spend this money the way they are supposed to by our agreement. Pakistan’s government often spends the U.S.’s foreign aid on their own military and for political gains, which leaves the resource rich provinces like Sindh vulnerable to poverty and economic turmoil. This $34 billion dollars will be given from United State’s taxes, and the U.S. taxpayers have a right to know exactly where their money is going. Pakistan also allows the military to perform extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances of activists who speak out against these injustices by the Pakistani government. So many people have died or gone missing because they choose not to go along with what the Pakistani government wants them to do. I am urging you to help these Sindhi people, at home and abroad, by using your influence on the Congress to enact restrictions on aid to Pakistan. By increasing detail about what the U.S. aid money can be spent on, and coming up with new ideas of what aid can be used for will drastically, and positively impact the lives of the Sindhi people. At recent Congressional hearings about Pakistan, this nation has been recognized as an important figure in U.S. foreign policy. Pakistan should be seen as an ally for the United States, and should be held accountable for their actions toward their own people. I sincerely hope you will listen to Congressional leaders when they discuss Pakistani issues with you in briefings, and you will remember that the Unites States has an obligation to the world to fight terrorism and injustices around the world. The Pakistani government has been labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism by more than one country. As such, the Pakistani government supports the military’s actions of carrying out heinous human rights crimes and refuses to take actions to protect the Sindhi people from terrorists. I appreciate your time in reading this letter, and I hope that you will take these concerns seriously during your time in office. The Sindhi people in the United States and in Pakistan are looking to you for guidance and leadership during your next four years in office. Pakistan needs to be held accountable for its role in state sponsored terrorism, and the United States has a duty to the American people to reveal exactly how taxpayer dollars are being spent. Sincerely, A young individual advocating for human rights at home and abroad
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THE IMPACT OF EXTREMISM ON SINDHI WOMEN AND GIRLS BY NATALIE CASEY-SANGER 14 | THE SINDH GUARDIAN
With the rise of violent extremist action in Sindh, we have seen a dramatic upswing in crimes against Sindhi women in particular. There are several extremist groups working in Sindh who work to oppress and subjugate the Sindhi people, employing a variety of tactics including forced conversion, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. Many of these practices target women specifically; child marriage is a popular method of forced conversion, and strict Islamic-influenced law is levied against non-Muslim women—often times leading to chronic injury or death. Sindhi women are some of the worst affected and hardest to reach targets of extremist work in Sindh, and their voices often go unheard because they fear what backlash they might receive for speaking out. The rise of extremism in Sindh has been influenced by the American war on terror and the push from the north since 2001; many groups which used to thrive in Islamabad have been forced to relocate to avoid American forces, and have found a vulnerable and relatively safe home in Sindh and particularly Karachi. The Pakistani government reallocates funding and aid meant for the region, leaving the Sindhi people without means or resources. The Pakistani government has also been shown to be politically and financially supportive of these extremist groups, which of course does the Sindhi people no favors. Sindhi people face violent extremism from groups like MQM, Lashkar-i-Taiba, and Tehreek-e-Taliban. These groups persecute the Sindhi people based both on their ethnicity and their multicultural, multi-faith attitudes and way of life. Women in particular are targeted by and vulnerable to the actions of extremist groups; gender parity is a facet of the heavily patriarchal culture of Pakistan, though there are many parts of the oppression of and violence against Sindhi people which have a greater impact on the quality of life of Sindhi women. Extremist groups work to suppress and oppress Sindhi women by limiting their activities and movement, by verbally and physically harassing them, and by being outright violent. One study found that Pakistani women felt extremism has impacted their recreational activities (54%), has restricted their mobility (43%), lack of respect for other religions (36%)—though religious persecution disproportionately affects Sindhi women. Extremist groups also take much more drastic and violent measures to subjugate Sindhi women, including forced marriage and sexual assault. Forced marriage is often a tactic employed by extremist groups to trap women in the religious or political community of the extremist aggressor; though there are technically laws in Pakistan which have been put in place to try and help minority women in this situation, there is no legal way out of these forced marriages for women—especially since their kidnappers usually claim that they were a willing participant. Other methods of violence against women included murder, honor killing,
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suicide, jirga, abducted and kidnapped. The majority of women affected by these reported crimes are underage, and most others are under 40 years old. Pakistani law is restrictive on its own, but many of these extremists abuse the law as an excuse for persecuting, oppressing and attacking women. Gender-based violence helps keep women in subordinate roles and reinforces low levels of political participation, education, and employment or entrepreneurship. This is often on the basis of gender or religion, but women who work in the media or politics are also big targets. Earlier this year was the anniversary of the disappearance of Zeenat Shahzadi, a Sindhi reporter who investigators suspect has been the victim of forced disappearance due to her intention to give evidence on another forced disappearance. Sindhi girls experience the oppressive actions of extremist groups from an early age. This often begins with restricting education and options for work or self-reliance within their community; through the efforts of extremist groups there are very few schools in Sindh, and fewer for girls (which often have an oppressive and patriarchal curriculum), and employment is very restricted for women. By cutting girls off from intellectual and social development as early as possible, extremist groups decrease a girl’s ability to be confident in herself, to feel capable of self-sufficiency, and to challenge traditional gender roles which will keep her in an inferior position in society. This tactic of suppressing girls makes them less likely to question another main method extremists use to subjugate women—child marriage. One in three girls in the developing world is married before the age of eighteen, for a variety of reasons worldwide. Like forced marriage in Sindh, this is often a way of forcibly converting girls to Islam or of forcing them into the extremist community. In the case of extremist groups the girls are usually kidnapped without their families having any information or communication until after the marriage. It can incredibly hard for girls to get back to their families, and it is often impossible. The vast majority of cases of violent crimes committed by extremists against Sindhi women go either unreported or untried. Many women are afraid to speak out about what has happened to them, because they might be attacked by the people who originally committed the crime. When a crime is reported the police are not likely to record the crime, or to properly conduct an inquiry. Even if a woman does make it to trial, Pakistani law is abused to discredit the woman’s testimony or to paint the woman as the guilty party—she can then risk imprisonment or even sometimes death, while the extremists walk free. There are many organizations which are working worldwide to improve the quality of life and access to human rights of oppressed women like the Sindhis. There are organizations which work on the ground in Sindh (and greater Pakistan) in connection with international NGOs to
provide education and other resources for girls and women, and who work with the local communities to promote the perception of womenâ€™s status in society. The most effective way for us to help these women in girls is to support the efforts of womenâ€™s advocacy and human rights organizations. We may also help by advocating for more action on the part of the Pakistani government to crack down on extremist groups in Sindh, and by asking the United States government to hold them more accountable for their involvement in extremist work in Sindh and for the systematic oppression of women. This article is dedicated to all the Sindhi women who have not been able to share their stories and get the justice they deserve.
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MILITARY BUDGETS IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN BY POLA DOBRZYNSKI The Stimson Center hosted a presentation on Military budgets in India and Pakistan, a report written by fellow Shane Mason. The evidence in the report proposed some interesting implications about the financing of each nation’s military programs, as well as compelling discussion regarding the tension between Pakistan and India. The event opened with remarks from Michael Krepon, Stimson’s Co-founder. He noted the tenacity with which Mr. Mason approached this report, and commended the South Asia program at Stimson. He made a point to say that The Stimson Center prides itself on data-driven analysis, and that this report in particular- although drawn from many inferences- has been appropriately caveated and is quite innovative considering how little budget information India makes available. He then handed discussion over to the Deputy Director of the South Asia program, Sameer Lalwani who thoroughly introduced the report’s author: research associate Shane Mason. Shane Mason began the discussion with a description of his report, which portrays the trajectories, priorities, and risks of the projected military budgets of both India and Pakistan. The key findings of the report summarized the trends in spending from which the following conclusions can be drawn: national security in these two nations is largely dependent on how efficiently they can turn over “economic power into military strength”. This statement is supported with evidence that shows India will have a delay in their efforts to modernize their military due to defense budget and management trends. Next, Mason makes the claim that Pakistan strategically does not report key components of their budget and that their actual budget is greater than reported. He then shifts the conversation to estimates of how much each country spends on nuclear defense and development. Mason’s assessments are such that Pakistan will form a greater reliance on nuclear technology to combat India’s growing relative advantage in military power to maintain some veritable deterrence. disappearances. The people affected? Human rights activists, journalists, or anyone who says anything against the military are targeted. What really sets the stage for SAPAC’s advocacy in the United States is that they have been financially supporting Pakistan’s
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Shane Mason’s findings are all in the context of a competitive atmosphere between India and Pakistan. While this was later brought into question by some members of the audience, all of his analyses are dependent on this assumption. He even goes so far as to note in his executive summary: “The strategic competition between India and Pakistan is evolving, with India outpacing Pakistan in conventional capabilities while Pakistan seeks to compete with nuclear capabilities.” Mason goes on to discuss the long term trends in India’s ascendance and that should Pakistan attempt and match them, they would exhaust their economy. Mason also discussed the balance of power in Asia and how it was in part dependent on the military power of these two countries. According to him, a stable relationship between India and Pakistan is essential for a strategic balance in South Asia. After his summary, some points were made by panelists Shuja Nawaz and Nilanthi Samaranayake, in part disagreeing with the transparency of his methodology. Samaranayake went on to make a comment which brought to light a point of further research in this report, in which Mason claims a reliance on Russia by Pakistan. The event was then opened to to questions from this audience. Highlights include a question from Sufi Laghari of The Sindhi Foundation, who asked how much of the budget allocated by Pakistan funds extremist groups in Pakistan. Although an exact number was not offered by any of the panelists, it springboarded a discussion on the strategy with which Pakistan funds their military and how that in part can contribute to these extremist groups. Two representatives from the Embassy of Pakistan were also present and challenged Mason’s definition of competition. They suggested rather that Pakistan solely cared to have some veritable deterrence against India, so that they would not be taken advantage of. Finally, a question was asked regarding the disproportionality of Pakistan’s budget, and if the wide perception of Pakistan’s budget is accurate. While no definitive answers was given, thoughtful commentary was given regarding the perception of Pakistan versus the actual state of Pakistan.
To read the full report on Military Budgets in India and Pakistan, visit:
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So much of the beautiful work from this month’s issue was made by native Sindhi artist, Tooba Hassan Khan. She is a textile designer currently living in Karachi, Pakistan. Tooba recently completed her degree in printed textiles from Asian Institute of Fashion Design. She enjoys drawing, painting, and designing and has interests in graphic design, photography, fashion and costume as well as textiles. Specifically in her textile design Tooba enjoys combining textures and imagery to create dynamic prints which successfully convey a point of view whilst also achieving a desirable aesthetic. She is heavily infliuenced by Sindhi desgins and culture in her work. Currently Tooba is working as a Print Designer at one of the leading textile industries of Pakistan, Alkaram Textile Mill, which is associated with big names like JC Penny, Walmart, Ikea, Mango and Splash. She has also interned previously with fashion designers like Waseem Noor and Zeeshan Bariwala for Karachi Fashion Week. Apart from these, Tooba is running her own brand “tooba tariq” on a small scale in which she designs fashion clothes and dresses for her clients. The mission of her life and career, has been to make people around her feel pretty, confident of how they look, and spreading her culture through clothes. The aim for her studies is to excel and stand out from the group through my intricate design and color sense. You can find Tooba’s work at toobatariq.weebly.com, which features all of her prints, clothing designs, her theses, and a contact form through which she can be reached via email.
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MEET THE An important component to me when selecting an internship at which to spend my semester was their vision and mission. I knew I wanted to do work with and for other people of color, and that’s what drew me in. The job description also added to my interest in working for SAPAC, as my major is Political Communications and a major part of this internship is conducting interviews, attending various events around D.C., and writing reports on what is happening in the Sindh community. During my time in D.C., I’ve been able to attend meetings on the Hill and meet various Congressmen and women. This has been the enriching experience that I wanted to have while here.
I love learning about other cultures, and my passion is advocacy. I study Middle Eastern Politics at St. Lawrence University, and enjoy working with student organizations that bring light to humanitarian issues and celebrating cultures worldwide. Working with SAPAC has been an opportunity to learn about the fascinating Sindhi culture and draw connections to my personal interests, like women’s rights. I have been able to do research that excites me and to meet with Congressmen and women to promote the Sindhi cause. The best thing about working with SAPAC is that all the work we as interns is very important, and I feel like I’ve actually been able to make a difference.
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INTERNS History and culture has always been an interest for me. I remember reading about different ethnic groups and world history throughout my younger years. When I started my studies at Washington College, I became an International Studies major due to this interest. When I heard about SAPAC, I knew I wanted to learn more. After reading about SAPAC and its mission, I knew I had to join. After joining, I tried to learn as much as possible about Pakistan and the Sindhi cause. Additionally, the job description at SAPAC was quite enticing with a lot of independence to pursue different projects. I knew I had joined a stellar organization.
Iâ€™ve always been interested in minority peopleâ€™s rights, and when I talked with Fati about this job position, I knew this organization would be a perfect fit for me. I did not know about the Sindh people and the human rights violations they face before I took this position, so I was also looking forward to learning more about the world around me. If I had to describe my time at the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in one word, it would be educational.
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MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN What President Elect Trump means for the Sindhi people By Natalie Casey- Sanger
In the weeks following the announcement of President Elect Donald Trumpâ€™s election, there has been a great deal of speculation about what will be the tone of the new administration. The complex relationship between the United States and Pakistan is sure to be influenced by a different US foreign policy under the Trump administration, but how? And what will that mean for the Sindhi people? There are indicators that Trump will not strictly adhere to his campaign policies and promises; many are speculating that he will be much less extreme than he has led us to believe. Though we cannot yet know for sure what the new President elect will mean for US foreign policy and the treatment of Sindhi people in the United States, Southern Pakistan and worldwide. President Elect Trump is at heart a businessman; we could see economic overhaul which could successfully address the issue of US foreign aid which is misappropriated by the Pakistani government. This would then mean that the Sindhi people would receive the money which has always been meant for them and that terrorist organizations would lose the financial support the government denies giving them. He has been vocal about not wanting to waste taxpayer dollars, and has even shown support for pulling all foreign aid; if, as has been predicted, the President Elect takes a more moderate stance--instead of simply pulling funding altogether--then the new administration could be instrumental in making foreign aid conditional, and so increasing government accountability and appropriate use of US money. Many people are very speculative about President Elect Trumpâ€™s attention to and competency in foreign pol-
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icy, and how he and his administration will address critical and complex issue areas. Trump wants to present a strong and aggressive America, and hurt foreign enemies--but without getting stuck in foreign conflicts. The new administration will be inheriting a war in Afghanistan and it is not certain whether he will pull out or keep troops in Afghanistan as a part of the war on terror and to defeat Daesh. If Trump pulls out of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, this may take pressure off the people of southern Pakistan and Sindh who are affected by extremist insurgency. The trend has been that when the United States commits more money and forces to the war on terror, too much funding and responsibility is given to the Pakistani military--and the result is a stronger ISI and violent repression of minority peoples including Sindhis. On the other hand, committing more money and forces to eradicating terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan could actually relieve extremism in Sindh--particularly if US foreign policy can depart from the trend of relying heavily on the Pakistani military. All of this will be influenced by whom Trump selects for key Cabinet positions including Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence, CIA Director, and Ambassador to the United Nations. Many current contenders for these various Cabinet positions are substantially qualified, like 2012 Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, Senator Dana Rohrabacher (an advocate for Balochi rights in the past), Gen. James Mattis, Admiral Mike Rogers, Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg, and former CIA Director David Petraeus. National Security Advisor (Michael Flynn), UN Ambassa-
dor (Nikki Haley), and CIA Director (Mike Pompeo) have already been confirmed. The developing relationship with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif could also factor into how the President Elect may impact Sindhi issues. A readout of the phone call made to President Elect Trump by Prime Minister Sharif was recently publicized; it appears that the two men think highly of and commend each otherâ€™s work. A close relationship with the Pakistani Prime Minister could mean that Trump could influence the way the federal government treats minorities in Pakistan, but many feel that this is an indicator that even if Trump makes foreign aid conditional and improves military efforts in pakistan and afghanistan there may be no relief of human rights abuses for the Sindhi people. Trump is of course famous for his anti-immigration ideals, and promotion of xenophobic stigmas--which may have a drastic impact on Sindhi Americans. His particular brand of Islamophobia and xenophobia, which could better be described as white supremacy (as it tends to include all nonwhite non-western peoples) not only offends many Americans but many times threatens their mental and physical well being.icy, and how he and his administration will address critical and complex issue areas. In the weeks following the election, Trump supporters have proudly displayed bigotry and physically and verbally harassed minorities in their communities;
rhetoric to inspire people to join up to defend against this renewed American bigotry and supremacy, which could in turn result in higher rates of violence and civilian loss. As has been true in the United States, the President Electâ€™s ideals resonate with many people--particularly the underrepresented, unemployed, and repressed. There is potential for a mutual understanding between President Elect Trump and the Sindhi people, and it is possible that if Trump takes up the Sindhi cause, he could be a powerful advocate for Sindhi nationalism and cessation of extremist oppression of Sindhi people. There has always been a clear connection between Sindhi and American ideals--both celebrate and thrive on diversity, tolerance, and freedom of expression. A stronger relationship between the United States and the Sindhi community could be expedient to creating tolerant, peaceful safe spaces for people of all creeds and cultures. President Elect Trump is certainly setting a new precedent in federal government, and so it is reasonable to expect unprecedented changes to how the administration works. Our President Elect has a lot of potential, and will certainly surprise us no matter what he does.
print by: Tooba Tariq
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