Jeay Sindh Freedom Movement (JSFM) held a massive protest rally at Karachi and Mehar against the auctioning and cutting of the Karunjhar mountains and against the forced conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls under the patronage of Pakistan and against the settlement of foreign Afghans on the Sindh land. While the enforced abduction and conversion of Hindu girls and settlement of Afghans have been a persistent problem in Sindh, the Karunjhar issue is the latest one that sheds light on the exploitation of Sindh heritage sites on the pretext of national resources. The protest implies that Pakistan’s deep state is continuously alienating Sindh with a new problem each day.
What Happened So Far
Notably, Karunjhar issue came to light when on July 22, an auction notice was published in local newspapers regarding the grant of mining lease of the granite in Nagarparkar district in Tharparkar, Sindh. The auction was scheduled on 1 August. This led to public outrage. People across the Sindh stood against the exploitative notification.
As a result of the public outcry, Sindh government’s DG of Mining and Licensing issued a clarification notification that the auction was cancelled. But, soon after this, another notification was issued which rescheduled the auction on 4 August.
Consequently, the frequent shift in decision making indicated towards the sinister interests of the authorities that led to the protests.
Why Karunjhar Is Important
As of today, the mountain act as a natural mechanism for recharging ground water in the region that makes up the only source of potable water. The mountains are shelter to a variety of wildlife and helps in disposing Nagarparkar sewage. The herbs and vegetation that grows on the mountain have a medicinal importance and are a source of livestock feeding.
Moreover, the legal aspect also raise questions on the auctioning. In November 2019, the Sindh High Court passed an order that stayed the mining in the mountains. Later in another petition in January 2021, the court adjudicated to form a committee to declare Karunjhar mountains as ancient and heritage site. Although, the committee was formed, it failed to address the illegal mining in the region.
Now, along with illegal mining, Pakistan has also made it’s intention clear ,i.e. to devastate the heritage site. JSFM has always raised voice against the atrocious policies of Pakistan in Sindh. Subsequently, the Karunjhar issue is another such policy of Pakistan that is against the heritage and the people of Sindh.