Shikarpur survivors’ update, urgent call for blood, and my article on the bombing: a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

8-year old Samar Abbas in critical condition at AKUH: He has a blood clot in his brains, a broken jaw and a collapsed respiratory system. Photo: Anas Mallick

UPDATE Shikarpur blast: Over 60 were buried in Shikarpur, funeral prayers attended by an over 10,000-strong crowd. 15 survivors were airlifted to hospitals in Karachi, of whom two have passed away. Urgent need for blood at the Agha Khan University Hospital laboratory in Karachi, including for critically injured 8-year old Samar Abbas is in urgent need of O+ blood. Below, extracts from my article yesterday in Scroll also linked here: Bombing of Shikarpur mosque is a deliberate attack on Sindh’s tolerant Sufi culture

Continue reading

Desperate Fasadis trying to change Sindhi culture


Muezzin by day, musician by night

Shikarpur and other areas of Sindh have always been famous for their tolerant, syncretic Sufi culture — and sweets. Not suicide attacks. That is obviously something that cowardly Takfiri Fasadis are trying desperately to change. From kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls, to attacks on shrines and target killing of Ahmadis and Shias, they’re at it full throttle. Funded by Saudis and other sources in the Middle East, they are building massive madrassahs throughout the provice, huge buildings that look threatening and unfamiliar in a landscape where the traditional mosques have delicate minarets and people of all religions and sects have lived together peacefully for centuries.
On Saif Samejo‘s rooftop in Jamshoro a couple of summers ago, we were treated to music by some local folk musicians from Mithi. The man who plays the bhorindo (string instrument), on the left, is the maulvi of a masjid. Muezzin by day, musician by night. When the floods hit in 2010, he was approached by JUD to rebuild his mosque. He refused because “If I took money from them, I would be made to say what they want and my masjid would not be my own anymore.”

Pakistan’s “three-headed monster” bows out. RIP Comrade Sobho Gianchandani.


Dr Sarwar and Sobho Gianchandani at our house in Karachi, January 2008. It was a cold evening and both were reluctant to be photographed. Babba because he was unwell, and Sobho ji because he didn’t want to remove the muffler wrapped around his head and ears.

Sad to hear that Comrade Sobho Gianchandani is no more. He passed away in Larkana on Dec 8, nearly 95 years old. He lives on as an inspiration to all those seeking a better, more just, humane society. The last time we met was in July 2003, when he came over with his daughter and two of his grandsons to visit us as he often did when visiting Karachi. He made it a point to do so particularly after his close friend, my father Dr Sarwar passed away in 2009.

Below, my brief video profile of him for Geo TV (2003) in which he talks about his lifelong struggle for people’s rights. This, he said was his real struggle, the struggle for social justice by any name, rather than a fight against imperialism or extremism. And a 2002 feature I wrote about him (couldn’t find an online copy). Continue reading

As winter sets in, flood survivors in Sindh need more help

In all the excitement about ‘memogate’, let’s remember to spare a thought — and some cash and other items — for the flood survivors of Pakistan. As winter sets in and the cold winds start to blow, they need our help more than ever. Here’s a note I’ve been meaning to post out for some time, information provided by friend and music lover Siraj Khan who personally vouches for the Pathfinders Welfare Organisation, a volunteer group doing flood relief work primarily in the Badin area of Sindh. “PWO is unique in many ways. Its team is made almost entirely of students from local medical colleges. Many are girls. There was one who even used to ride her brother’s motorbike for work, if other transport wasn’t available,” says Siraj. “PWO needs more visibility for its work and, of course, funds.”

Continue reading

This Eid, donate a goat for women flood survivors: Indus Resource Centre

Saving precious livestock in Badin / Photo: Reuters

I had earlier circulated an appeal from Sadiqa Salahuddin, the well known educator, whose Indus Resource Centre is doing exemplary work in Sindh regarding girls’ education and also working since last year for flood relief. She sent out the following update on Oct 24, requesting people to donate a goat rather than sacrificing one this coming Eid:

Dear all,

You may recall that around this time last year, I requested you to complement or divert your qurbani (sacrifice) budget for donation of animals to those poor rural women who had lost their animals in the floods of 2010. I am making the same appeal this year as unfortunately, the situation is not any better. According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority Sindh, 115,586 animals have perished during this monsoon. Besides, thousands of villagers from the rain affected districts sold their animals at throwaway prices as they had no money to feed themselves or animals. Continue reading

Pakistan floods: Want to help?

Dr Geet Chainani in the field: NEED food, medicines, water, tents

Pakistan was still reeling from the devastating floods of last year when fresh disaster struck.

The situation is worse than reported,” messaged the journalist and activist Aslam Khwaja, back in Karachi after a recent five-day visit to six rain-hit districts of Sindh. Many others working in the affected areas have relayed similar obervations as they scramble to renew their efforts.

Young Doctors Assocation volunteer at Mirpurkhas relief camp: URGENTLY NEED MEDICINES

8.1 million people are homeless, with less than a quarter of them (approx 0.71 million) accommodated in about 3,000 makeshift relief camps set up by the Sindh Government. Conditions are appalling, with severe shortage of food, water and medical supplies. Some 370 people have died, hundreds more injured, and some 6.1 million acres of land and 1.5 million houses underwater or severely damaged, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan. The estimated loss to the cotton crop is estimated at a staggering Rs 75 billion.

YOU CAN HELP by sending money and relief goods to the organization of your choice. The most urgent needs are: tents, food, clean water, medicine. Continue reading

Sindh floods – update and appeal from Sadiqa Salahuddin, IRC

Khairpur, Sept 2011. Photo courtesy: The News

For those looking for credible organisations to contribute to or work with, here’s information about Indus Resource Centre’s flood relief work in Sindh, based on an email update from Sadiqa Salahuddin, the well known educationist who runs IRC. They have been working with girls’ education in the Khairpur area of Sindh for many years; Sadiqa Apa is also a very dear friend (IRC contact details are at the end of this post). The most urgent need is for dry food – basic essentials for ten days for a family of six cost around Rs 3,000 (details below). During the Eid holidays, she spent six days in Khairpur and then in Hyderabad while her colleagues assessed the situation in Khairpur and Mirpurkhas districts. Immediately after Eid, she went to Badin (which was then accessible by road from Karachi). She writes: Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136,893 other followers

%d bloggers like this: