HYDERABAD - HAFEEZ SHAIKH  - Different political leaders and NGO representatives have termed the Zulfikarabad Project as an Israel in the making in the middle of Sindh.

Speaking at an interactive session on ‘land rights and agrarian reforms’ organised by the Society for Environmental Actions Reconstruction and Humanitarian Response, they said the present government had not yet scrapped the Corporate Farming Ordinance enacted by military dictator Pervez Musharraf. Awami Party Pakistan leader Taj Mari recounted days of hari movement in Sindh and said the movement was a continuation of the struggle launched by Sufi Shah Inayat. He said that a convention held in Mirpurkhas and attended by late G.M. Syed and Sobho Gyanchandani led to the formation of Sindh Hari Association and Sindh Hari Committee’s struggle succeeded in forcing government to enact Tenancy Act 1950. The British colonial rulers had started doling out land among military men and the practice continued even after the independence, he said. He said that `Batai` movement had also left its imprints in which Ms Bakhtawar sacrificed her life. Such struggles had always been sabotaged by religious extremists and armed goons, he said.

Sindh Hari Porhiyat Council Punhal Sario said that the Sindh Hari Committee was a vibrant platform. He said the Zulfikarabad Project was an Israel in the making which would hit local population first and then the planners themselves. He called for real land reforms in which peasants were given rights over their land. So far, millions of acres of agricultural land had been doled out to outsiders, he said. He said that the Corporate Farming Ordinance was introduced by dictator Musharraf. The government had distributed land to outsiders because it considered Sindhis unskilled while outsiders had always harmed the hari struggle, he said. Nasir Panwhar said that peasants again needed a movement like that of the Sindh Hari Committee. Feudalism was a mindset which could also manifest itself through corporate sector, he said adding the present government had not scrapped the Corporate Farming Ordinance.

Meanwhile, scores of workers of the Awmai Tehreek took out a rally to protest against the government’s proposed project Zulfikarabad and the MQM’s demand for Interior Ministry portfolio. The protesters chanted slogans against the government’s anti-Sindh policies and PPP’s tendency to support its coalition partner the MQM in every affair.

Addressing the rally, AT leaders Anwar Soomro, Roshan Brahmai and others said that the present PPP government has completely failed to arrest the criminals involved in attacking the Mohabbat-e-Sindh Rally in Karachi on May 22. They said the criminals are still at large and the situation exposes government’s apathy in this regard.

They alleged the Pakistan Peoples Party government always compromised on the rights of Sindh. They demanded the government to arrest the accused and bring them to justice, otherwise the party would launch Sindh-wide protest.