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
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
Researcher and activist Dr. Yvette Rosser also spoke about
her book project on Sindh’s history, culture, and
Dr. Hidayat Bhutto, the UK organizer of the World Sindhi
Congress, read a detailed paper on the life and legacy of
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.