By Razzak Abro
KARACHI: Incidents of blasts attributed to Sindhi nationalism have been reported in the province for the past several years but a recent series of blasts on railway tracks have invited serious concerns because of their timing.
On February 25, around a dozen bombs reportedly went off at railway tracks in various districts of the province from Karachi to Ghotki. The blasts though did not cause any casualty or considerable damage to the railways tracks, left a major impact in the country as the incident occurred few days after the presentation of US Congress bill on Balochistan situation.
The countrymen witnessed strong reaction and very important and rapid followups in aftermath of the developments in US. They included high level meetings of state and government functionaries, including President Zardari’s meeting with Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi, announcement of an all parties conference by the Prime Minister Gilani, and most important of all, Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s announcement of general amnesty for Baloch militants and their leaders living in exile.
The police blamed Sindhu Desh Liberation Army for these blasts, and linked Shafi Burfat with the organisation. Publicly, Burfat heads Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), a faction of Jeay Sindh Movement introduced by late GM Syed. There are around a dozen factions of the Jeay Sindh who follow Syed’s ideology, the independence of the Sindh.
Like other nationalists groups of Sindh, Burfat led JSMM also holds its political activities publicly and as an ordinary organisation. It holds public meetings, protest demonstrations and other political activities throughout the province. Similarly, like others, it also supports political movement of Baloch for their rights.
There is no direct evidence of Burfat-led JSMM’s connection or affiliation with Baloch militancy, though the law enforcement agencies suspect it, especially after recent series of blasts. But, at least, it is evident that the organisation is either much inspired from the Baloch leaders international campaigning or wants to draw international community’s attention towards Sindh and ‘slavery and exploitation of Sindhis in the country’.
For this the organisation not only uses social media forums but also the local media too. It usually organises public meetings on occasion of Syed’s birthday, January 17, every year in native town of late nationalist leader, Sann, like other groups. But this time the organisation’s head, Shafi Burfat had publicly invited diplomats of the US and other countries for its public meeting by sponsoring around a half page advertisement on the front page of a local Sindhi daily, Kawish.
The advertisement was published a day before the public meeting had a title in English language, “Sindh, the land of peace, tolerance and Sufism. We believe in global peace, development and humanity”. The contents of the advertisement were in English and Sindhi languages. The advertisement included flags of the United States, United Nations, and his own party, maps of the globe and Sindh, and portraits of Syed and Burfat. It was first public message by the party to the US and other international community.
The advertisement stated, “We are inviting Mr William J Martin, Consul General United States of America (Karachi) and also the Consul General of Germany, UK, India, France and representatives of European Union, Australia, African countries and Arab world to come and attend the 108th Birth Anniversary of Saeen GM Syed, the greatest scholar and philosopher on 17th January, 2012 in Sann-Sindh. Sain (honourable) GM Syed warned in Vienna Conference held in 1952 that religious extremism and fundamentalism are fuel on fire for wild humanity.”
In Sindhi language section of the advertisement, Burfat had referred to the previous independent status of Sindh, which had a liberal and anti-religious extremism society. The JSMM leader had also complained of atrocities and injustices done with Sindhi and Baloch population in the country. “Sindhis and Balochs are made slaves in this state in name of religion, the big province (Punjab) has continued our political, economic and geographical exploitation since last 60 years …….”. And at the end the JSMM leader had sought “political and moral support” of the US and other international community “for the independence of enslaved nations”.
Later in a post appeared on the JSMM’s twitter page on February 11, the group appreciated US Congressman, Brad Sherman. It states, “We appreciate Brad Sherman’s efforts through which he raised the real case of Sindh during the meeting on Balochistan’s issue on 8-2-12”.