Tributes Paid to G.M. Syed in Houston

Speakers at the World Sindhi Congress function in Houston

Houston, TX: Hundreds of Americans hailing from Sindh, Pakistan, gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 21, 2007 to commemorate the 103rd birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of the Sindhi people who waged a nonviolent struggle against Islamic fundamentalism. Sindh is home to the ancient Indus Valley civilization and is now a province in Pakistan.
More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by Pakistan 's military dictatorship and its Islamist ideology.
Professor Gul Agha, an eminent Sindhi scholar at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, gave a multi-media presentation highlighting the Sufi, secular, and pacifist elements of Sindhi society, history, and identity. Pakistan ’s dictatorial governments are destroying Sindh’s ecology and economy. “We must move forward and make sure that we manifest the true values of our identity, i.e. pacifism, secularism, and tolerance, and promote Sindhi literature, language, and heritage to all those who are interested. We must also try to excel in science, education, and raise awareness regarding the plights of Sindhis,” Dr. Agha said.
Researcher and activist Dr. Yvette Rosser also spoke about her book project on Sindh’s history, culture, and politics.
Dr. Hidayat Bhutto, the UK organizer of the World Sindhi Congress, read a detailed paper on the life and legacy of Mr. Syed.
This meeting was also addressed by Ms. Paras Sarki whose husband Dr. Sarki, a prominent community leader and a US citizen, was kidnapped last year by Pakistani authorities while he was visiting his family in Karachi. Hon. Sheila Jackson of Texas has tried to pursue the whereabouts of Dr. Sarki, and international media such as the BBC and the Wall Street Journal have also highlighted his case. Ms. Sarki requested the community to help bring this issue before their representatives and senators.
Dr. Zia Shah of the G. M. Syed Memorial Committee and Dr. H aleem Bhatti, Mr. Umed Laghari, Abdul Rehman Kakepoto, Farhan Kaghzi, Malik Dino Shaikh, Zubair Bhambro, Saghir Shaikh , and Ijaz Syed also spoke on the occasion.
“Mr. Syed's message of non-violence, tolerance, and peace has a universal appeal, and the core principles of non-violence and conflict resolution are applicable to all the struggles for self-determination at individual, communal, or national levels,” said Dr. Zia Shah, president of the G. M. Syed Memorial Committee.
The meeting concluded that the Pakistani government has been systematically violating the human rights of the secular-minded people of Sindh and Baluchistan . Pakistan has propped up Islamic fundamentalists, encouraged migration to reduce the indigenous people to a minority, and exploited the natural resources of the two provinces. More recently, it has been bombing and strafing Baloch villages with military equipment provided by the USA to fight Al-Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban. Pakistan is also threatening to build mega-dams that would enable it to divert the flow of rivers that are the lifeline of otherwise arid Sindh. Several hundreds of Baloch and Sindhis have been kidnapped by the Pakistani military over the last few years. The meeting expressed special concern about Dr. Safdar Sarki, whose whereabouts are still unknown.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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