North American Sindhis under the banner of Sindhi Association North America (SANA) and People-Against-Kalabagh-Dam Action Committee, demonstrated against the Pakistani government outside of the UN Millennium Summit in New York on Wednesday, September 6, 2000. The rally was led by the committee’s chairman and former SANA president Iqbal Tareen. The rally lasted between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The members of the rally carried banners that called for equality and fairness for Sindhis and demanded autonomy and sovereignty of Pakistani provinces in accordance with the 1940 Pakistan Resolution, restoration of democracy and primary right of Sindh on waters of River Indus. The banners carried the following slogans: “Stop genocide of Sindhis”; “ Sindhis oppose large dams”; “Restore democracy now!”; “Musharraf’s devolution is a hoax”; “Honor Pakistan Resolution, Give autonomy now!”; “River Indus belongs to Sindh”; “Invest in people, not in weapons”; “Stop child abuse in Pakistan”; “Stop hate crimes in Pakistan now!”; “Release political prisoners”; “Sindhis are against Nukes” and many others.
They raised slogans against the Kalabagh dam and criticized construction of large dams on River Indus. They demanded that the dreadful large dams be banished forever from the books of Pakistani planners. They also demanded the abolition of WAPDA and delegation of power generation and distribution to the provinces. The Sindhi group included many local Sindhis and others who had traveled from upstate New York, Texas, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC to advance the cause of Sindh.
Iqbal Tareen emphasized that the nature of the protest was not against the existence of Pakistan but to attract world attention to the plight of Sindhis who were discriminated in political, cultural, economic spheres. He talked about the unfair treatment given to Sindhis and other minorities in the country. He raised the issue of Pakistan Resolution and the violations of this covenant. Many instances of individual and collective human rights violations were cited to the international media.
He said that Sindh was mother of Pakistan and how could it be against the existence of its own child. The international media was also told that Sindhis were not happy with their present status in Pakistan. As in the case of East Pakistan, the responsibility of any future harm done to the unity of the federation will fall solely on Pakistani military, bureaucracy and their allies and not on the people of Sindh and small provinces. The media was informed of the growing number of suicides among the Sindhi youth.