An article by Jamil Junejo published by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Human rights violations in Sindh through feudal feuds–a way forward

Jamil Junejo

The news about the scores of people killed into feudal fights into interior Sindh, Pakistan has been, unfortunately, the matter of every day. It is indeed strange and hard fact to digest that how the land that is sown with the seed of tolerance, love, respect, religious, social, and cultural harmony by the Mystics like Shah Abdul Latif, Sachhal,Sami and Shah Inayat , can fall into vicious cycle of tribal conflicts coupled with hatred and social disharmony . But, sorrily, it is reality. However, while exploring the facts behind such unwanted face of Peacefull Sindh; one comes to know that such façade of beautiful and peaceful Sindh is altogether fabricated by few state and societal level elements in order to meet their few obnoxious desires. Otherwise, nothing like “tribes” exists into Sindh in reality. Rulers especially dictators with the support of their local henchman ,the Feudals, have been successfully converting individual conflicts into tribal conflicts by creating feeling of tribalism into society which is basically divided on lines of cast not on the lines of tribes. Sindh has not and have never tribes in reality. Before 1985, there was no mention of tribes and tribal conflicts. Owing to disruption in democratic process in 80s, few elements exploited the situation and fuelled the feelings of tribalism and conflicts. Otherwise, to be clearly noted, that society of Sindh was never divided on tribal lines.

The manufactured Tribal conflicts have engulfed the lives of thousands of people resulting in creation of the climate of insecurity and resultant paralyzation of economic, social, political and cultural activities ultimately depriving people, children and women from enjoying various human Rights. So Far, more than 85 tribal conflicts, few deadly and few of medium size are prevailing into the various districts of Sindh such as Ghotki, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Khairpur Meerus, Larkana, and Dadu.

The following tribes are potentially involved into violent clashes into above mentioned districts:

1.) Lund between Bozdar, 2.) Bozdar between Gadani, 3.) Gadani between Malik, 4.) Pitafi between Mahar, 5.) Meerani between Kalhora, 6.) Shar between Bhutta, 7.) Kosh between Solangi, 8.) Lolai between Arbani, 9.) Jagrani between Chachar, 10.) Pitafi between Leghari.11) Kosh Between Sloangi, 12) Bugti between Lasharee, 12) Chandia between Chandia 13) Phulpota between Memon14) Meerani between Sheikh 15) Mastoi Between Memon, 16) Phulpota between Shar.

The soul causes behind such fabricated feudal fights are twofold: Firstly, few elements at state level have designed conspiracy to create climate of insecurity into the those areas in order promote sale of arms and to exclude the people from mainstream politics and democratization process through engaging them into feuds rather than into politics and democratic process . Secondly, the local feudal lords keep the people involved in their false and fabricated conflicts to maintain and strengthen their stronghold on the masses.

Besides, there are also few other cause which amplifies the impacts of feudal fights and serve as impediments towards the resolution of those fights. Such causes can be summed up as following:

1. The low literacy ratio into those areas facilitates the feudal lords to enslave the people. Non functional conditions of schools due to insecurity emanating out of conflicts have aggravated this situation;
2. Indifferent attitude of administration to implement a stringent rule of law;
3. Non Existence of responsive, vibrant and dynamic civil society whose members could generate awareness, encourage enlightenment and work seriously to resolve violent disputes;
4. Untrained and indifferent lawyers, professionals and academia who could constructively tackle these societal issues;
5. Non inexistent of this issue on priority of political parties , Media and civil society;
6. Non existent of conflict management capacity.

All these reasons together have created strong climate of insecurity generating various horrible offshoots into those areas. Owing to insecure atmosphere, people cannot cultivate their lands, children can’t go to their schools, women can’t go outside for work in fields and labour can’t do his/her work. Unlike traditional folk Kachharis (Chats) people are compelled to be confined to their homes and to live socially isolated life which has been resultantly creating atmosphere of stress, isolation and disharmony. In Nutshell, Socail fabric is badly damaged.

Secondly, People of conflict ridden areas are compelled to abandon to cultivate their agricultural lands which are main source of income of that region. Thousands of Hectares of land remains uncultivated. Thus, Labours opportunities have drastically dwindled depriving people from Right to food.

Thirdly, a large number of eligible voters can not vote. They stay at their homes at the days of elections due to insecurity. As a result, Masses have been becoming depolitisized and A politicized which has been excluding them form political mainstreaming. Apolitisization and depolitisiation of masses is very potential threat to peace. Because politics gives people platform and channel of association which works as outlet of resolving and preventing the conflicts.

Thirdly, Misreporting of journalists fuels the feudal feelings and fights. They wrongly equate the conflict of two individuals with conflicts between two tribes. In this way, it fuels the conflicts.

Way forward.
In order to tackle this menace of feudal fights following different measure at different levels are required:
Peace, human rights and democratic education should be imparted to masses in order to create values like tolerance, Cooperation, forgiveness, sympathy participation and freedom
political parties, civil society and media workers should be trained on various themes in order to enable them to thoroughly grasp the issue of tribal conflicts in particular and peace in general, its implications, its relation with human rights and peace and its link with social, political and economic stability.
Media workers should be sensitized to play positive role in promoting education of peace, tolerance, cooperation, sympathy, and social harmony.
Media workers should be trained to avoid from miss- reporting coupled with use of wrong jargon that fuel the fire of conflicts.
Policy makers should be sensitized to formulate specific policy for creating atmosphere of peace through various cultural and political means.
Government agencies should be sensitized to ensure the education of the masses.
Political parties should be sensitized to incorporate this issue into their manifestos and bring it on their priority list
Government must take strident measures stop the violent conflicts of tribal disputes.
Research study should be conducted to the grasp the nature, implications and most importantly the root causes of tribal conflicts so as to find out correct, accurate and effective solutions.
People should be given political education
Parties should enhance scope of their work and bring people of conflicts ridden areas into political arena.
To sum up, the fabricated feudal fights into interior Sindh has posed potential threats to human rights, Democracy, peace and development. Such fights are no doubt fabricated in order to isolate masses from democratic and political process and to deprive them from their Human Rights such as right to food, Right to Education, Rights to life and other rights. Though, the issue has taken serious nature creating various complexities and sensitivities, but if the recommendations given above are worked on seriously and honesty, it could be solved. Peace could be restored. And various rights could be enjoyed by the Inhabitants of those conflict ridden areas.

The views shared in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the AHRC, and the AHRC takes no responsibility for them.

About the Author:
Jameel Hussain Junejo is a researcher at Pakistan Fishefolk Forum. Contact:  

Document ID :AHRC-ETC-014-2011
Countries : Pakistan
Date : 23-05-2011