District administration ensures oppressed class is not repr sented, alleges ex-senator

Our Correspondent
Wednesday, Jul 27, 2022

karachi: “We have seven towns in Tharparkar, where the district administration has done distribution in a way that ensures none of the oppressed classes can be represented,” said former Pakistan Peoples Party senator Gianchand on Tuesday.

The ex-senator was addressing a discussion titled ‘Making Pakistan an Inclusive Society: Addressing the Issues of Marginalised, Oppressed & Underprivileged Classes’, which was arranged by the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology and the Sustainable Development Research & Training Centre.

Highlighting the plights of minorities in Tharparkar, Gianchand said class oppression is at an all-time high in the region. He said that there are 64 union councils in Tharparkar, where 50 per cent of the population is non-Muslim, adding that the oppressed classes in the region are Kohli and Meghwar.

He pointed out that in the non-Muslim majority area, hardly 25 chairmen of the 64 union councils are non-Muslims. “The chairmen of Tharparkar are not ready to nominate any Kohli class member as their vice chairmen.”

He said the district administration has a lot of influence and does not let the oppressed classes come forward. He stressed the need for creating space at administrative and state levels for the oppressed classes to prosper.

Psychiatrist Dr Haider Naqvi pointed out that suicidal tendencies are much higher in marginalised communities. He said that if a community is not integrated in society, there is a purposelessness among its people and they lose the meaning of life.

He said society has resorted to extremism over the years, with an entire generation being radicalised. “We have promoted a brand of faith that divides society. We are participants in marginalising.”

Social activist Sheema Kermani said she does not see Pakistan as one nation but one country. She stressed the need to realise that the country is made up of many nationalities. “They are multi-religious, multi-ethnic,” she said, adding that it should not be believed that everyone belongs to one sect or ethnicity.

“Beauty is in diversity, and we should celebrate diversity,” she said, adding that when she was in school, there were students of all religions, and that Sindh was diverse in terms of religions.

She lamented that at present, minorities make every effort to leave the country. She pointed out that no proper census has been done to determine the population of minorities. “Even the male-female ratio in the census is not counted correctly. Fifty-two per cent of Pakistan’s population is male.”

She said that unfortunately, women have no recognition in society, not even for her work. She added that the first one to wake up in the house is a woman, and she is also the last one to sleep.

“She walks miles to fetch water, and is involved in intense physical work with no compensation or recognition. We need to recognise and compensate women’s labour. Free labour should be discouraged.”

As for health, she said, a woman has to go miles to deliver her baby because many villages lack hospitals. “We must point out ghost hospitals and ghost schools, most of which are in Sindh because of the feudal system, and it is all being overlooked deliberately.”

Economist Dr Asad Shah highlighted the economic effects of marginalisation, saying that the current rate of inflation has increased poverty manifold.

“We come up with good pieces of legislation; we passed the 18th amendment, and now the state is responsible for schooling all its children,” he added.

“But what is the impact?” he asked, saying that 40 to 45 per cent children still do not go to school. “In the 21st century, our children don’t go to school. Ninety per cent of our population will become scheduled castes if we keep going in the direction in which we’re headed.”