Sindhudesh is an idea of a separate state for the Sindh province of Pakistan; envisioned by father of Sindhi sub-nationalism G.M. Syed. Death of SindhuDesh Movement – Four Major Causes.
This idea remained dangerously threatening to the unity of Pakistan since 1970s & 1980s onwards. Its activists were extremely motivated, charged and politically aware through out the time of its inception. GM Syed who was once an active member of Pakistan movement during the British-Raj and remained loyal to Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah but eventually fall for separatist struggle to disintegrate Pakistan.
The movement was not merely political one, it was violent where cadres of a political party known as Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) that leads the Sindhudesh movement, had been attacking civilians, government installations, security forces and politicians. It was hard to say if the idea of Sindhudesh was popular among the masses, but one thing was for sure that this particular organization had thousands of followers, perhaps at times they could conveniently carry some rallies of 100 to 200 thousand people in Karachi & Hyderabad.
But what made the decline of this much anticipated ethno-fascist movement in its own turf Sindh? Following are the four major reasons of the death of this movement from the surface of Sindh and hearts of the Sindhis.
1- Lack of Charismatic & appealing Leadership
Leadership is the most significant factor for the success of any movement and it is also equally a factor in the defeat of the movement. Ever since the death of GM Syed, his successors failed miserably in appealing the masses with slogans and the vision GM Syed carried. Even though Sindhi remained plunged in extreme poverty, underdevelopment and lawlessness which could fuel the idea of Sindhudesh however its leaders remained ineffective to exploit the situation into their favor.
Bashir ahmad qureshi, a young dynamic man returned to the political scene as a leader for JSQM with some appeal for the masses. He tried to regain the lost momentum through rhetoric and Sindhi sub-nationalistic slogans but he was at that time at the odds with two pro-Pakistan political factors, Pakistan Peoples Party being the mainstream national party with popular vote bank in Sindh and Sindhi sub-nationalist parties like Awami Tehreek Party who even though espoused the Sindhi sub-national sentiments but remained pro-Pakistan & pro-federation in their political approach which then gave a political option to Sindhis who were inclined towards separatist view hence a challenge for Bashmir Qureshi in his struggle to popularize the movement.
Out of frustration, Bashir Qureshi believed to have intensified the militant activities which targeted security forces and civilians, this he did to ensure Sindhudesh’s relevance in Pakistan. The violent struggle was responsible for the killings of hundreds of people including government officers and rival politicians but the pro SindhuDesh groups eventually took a huge hit when their leader Bashmir Qureshi got assassinated through poison, JSQM accused Pakistan’s premiere intelligence ISI for the assassination.
Deat of Bashmir Qureshi left a huge vacuum in the movement that remains unfilled even today, not a single leader could appeal the activists, failed in maintaining the unity as thousands of JSQM activists surrendered the SindhuDesh politics and joined the mainstream political parties in rapid pace. This even today brought Sindhudesh movement to its knees, politically.
2- Iron Fist against militancy
Unlike Balochistan where separatists had once enjoyed the space for their anti-national activities and successfully created a new political discourse where challenging their hard-core violent militancy through military-option undermined and disapproved even by Pakistan’s major political parties, media and civil society, Sindhi sub-nationalists remained unlucky as Pakistani state smartly and covertly eradicated the SindhuDesh liberation Army and violent JSQM cadres from their roots.
Successful intelligence based operations were carried and top commanders were targeted, while militants were even given the effective carrot-stick option in which they were offered perks for surrendering which then eventually appealed hundreds of its fighters to surrender and ultimately give up.
Pakistan remained un-apologetic when it came down to dealing with the violent Sindhi sub-nationalists as military option. The movement already lacked political will as mentioned in the previous point, it then started to lose its grip over insurgency and embracing Pakistan became the only viable option.
3- Geographical Disadvantage with Afghanistan
Afghanistan has always been problematic for Pakistan when it comes to the support for terrorism & anti-Pakistan activity. This is another area where Baloch insurgents & separatists enjoyed the advantage over their Sindhi counterparts as the province of Balochistan borders with Afghanistan. India admittedly supported both militarily and politically backed anti-Pakistan elements right from East-Pakistan Bengali insurgents to the on-going ethnic-faultlines in Pakistan but it is pertinent to note that India has smartly avoided using its own territory for the use of its terror-export to Pakistan.
Afghanistan came in hady for most of Pakistan’s troubles backed by India. Be it a Pashtun sub-national movement, the sectarian militancy or the Baloch insurgency, India remained in cahoots with Afghanistan for their common agenda of destroying Pakistan internally. Although India has number of times tried to fuel the Sindhi insurgency but it remained helpless due to geographical disadvantage which could not provide the terrorists a substantial Indian help.
These are the three major factors of the Death of SindhuDesh Movement – Three major reasons and while of-course they are followed by many other.