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Saraikistan

Saraikistan or Seraikistan (SaraikiPunjabiUrdu: سراییکستان) is a term used by some Seraikis to denote the southern region of the Punjabprovince of Pakistan, inhabited by Saraiki-speaking people. Many people contest the status of Saraiki as a separate language.[1]. Though, it has overwhelming influence of Punjabi and SindhiSeraiki can be called a separate language of Indo-Aryan Family.[2].When compared to its sister languages: Sindhi and Punjabi, Saraiki is far smaller and much behind in literature and in many other ways.[3].Historically speaking, Saraiki, before Independence, never created a sense of separate Saraiki identity particularly in Southern Punjab.[4].Customs and traditions practised by the people of Southern Punjab have largely been similar to those of Punjabis and Sindhis.[5].However, national recognition of Saraiki as a separate language, giving it an official status, a Saraiki province, a Saraiki regiment in Army, establishment of Saraiki radio and television are among primary demands of Saraiki movement.[6]

In 2002, the Saraiki nationalists claimed that there are over 30 million Saraiki speakers in Pakistan, mostly in southern Punjab, and also in the adjacent parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, mainly based in the former princely state of Bahawalpur (princely state).

Beginning in the 1960s, Saraiki nationalists have sought to gain language rights and lessen Punjabi control over the natural resources of Saraiki lands. This has led to a proposed separate province Saraikistan, a region being drawn up by activists in the 1970. The 1977 coup by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, a centralist ruler, caused the movement to go underground. After his death in 1988 allowed the Saraiki movement to re-emerge openly with the goals to have a Saraiki nationality recognised, to have official documents printed in Saraiki, a Saraiki regiment in the Pakistan Army, employment quotas and more Saraiki language radio and television.

Demands

  • The Saraiki Nationalist have a demand a separate Saraikistan Province from the southern parts of the Punjab Province.
  • The Saraiki Nationalist have a demand of more budget allocation to the southern parts of the Punjab Province.
  • A demand of Saraiki being accepted as a separate language rather than a dialect, and its use in official documents for southern Punjab along side urdu.
  • Non-Saraiki speakers are in majority and thus as a fact Saraiki demands are overlooked.

Political Parties and Groups

There are some political parties and groups which are working for Separate Saraiki Province in Pakistan

  • Pakistan Saraiki Party :Its head office is at Multan. Thaj Muhamaad Khan Langah is its president and Aslam Rasoolpuri is its secretary geneal

Saraki qaumi Movement , Malik Abdul Majeed Karwani Awan (multan)

  • Saraikistan Qaumi Movement :Its head office is at Dera Ghazi Khan. Hameed Asghar Shaheen (president).
  • Saraiki National Party : Its head office is at Rahim Yar Khan.Abdul Majeed Kanjo (President).
  • Saraikistan Qaumi Ithad :Its head office is at Mithankot.Khawaja Ghulam Farid Sani (president).
  • Saraiki Soba Movement, a registered party with Election Commission of Pakistan (Registration notification number F-2(5)2002-CORD (1) dated 21 August 2002). Its head office is located in Multan. The current President is Malik Mumtaz Hussain Jai (Advocate Supreme Court Pakistan)

Criticism

The Saraikistan movement has found criticism throughout Pakistan. The following is a narration by Faisal Awan,an opinion author for the PakistanFirst organization.

“There is nothing wrong with the demand but the timing of this call is highly objectionable, amiss and incredulous. The champions of this call are trying to create a stir at the time when Pakistan as a country is facing daunting challenges of drooping economy, deplorable law and order situation, foreign and home grown terrorism, foreign secret agencies involved in fathering and funding domestic issues, government’s weakening grip on Balochistan issue, limping judicial system, and archaic educational system to name a few. There is hardly any front where our current cracked leadership and wretched nation is enjoying a sigh of relief.

One of the justifications given by the adherents of this cause is solely linguistic based and claims that Saraiki speaking people should have their own province. So are we planning to start dividing Punjab and Pakistan on linguistic basis? Saraiki is a dialect of Punjabi and if we are to start creating lingo-based provinces then the claims for a Hindko, Pothohari and Majhi province will soon surface and chain of uncontrollable movements for a separate province can take birth. It is a can of worms which if opened will defile minds across Pakistan.

Another aspect to this claim is that Bahawalpur should revert to its original constitutional representation which it had before the implementation of one unit and in addition also put other Saraiki districts under its control. The rationale given for it is that Bahawalpur and the Saraiki belt being far flung from the powerful Lahore fails to make an impact on the policies of Punjab province and has no Saraiki representation what so ever among the powerful policy making clans, and as a consequence, it is being ignored and deprived of socio-economic development. However, the factual truth is that the area in subject is a victim of feudalism and bureaucracy, which is consuming it and rest of the Pakistan like a canker. To counter their claim of scarce political representation from their area, below are some of the numerous political clouts from the Saraiki belt who have represented their area at various fronts: Muhammad Ali Durrani (PML-Q), Chaudry Pervaiz Elahi (PML-Q), Jehangir Tareen (PML-F), Mukhdoom Javaid Hashmi (PML-N), Sardar Athar Khan Gorchani (PPPP), Khan Muhammad Hussain Azad (PPPP), Farooq Lagahri – President of Pakistan 1993-1997, Balakh Sher Mazari – Prime Minister Pakistan 1993, Yusuf Raza Gilani (PPPP) – Prime Minister Pakistan 2008 – current, Shah Mehmood Qureshi (PPPP), Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Tasneem Nawaz Gardezi, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Makhdoom Altaf, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, and Riaz Pirzada, to name a few. Although some of the Saraiki politicians including Yusuf Raza Gilani the current prime minister correctly feel that a thorough and credible debate should occur in the parliament rather than making him an outright cartographer of some of the Saraiki politician’s fictional world.

With such star studded Saraiki political representation it is perplexing that nothing substantial could be crafted in the last 60 years and they could not influence the policy makers to carve policies for the socio-economic development of south Punjab and have suddenly created a highly questionable and suspicious agitation. The notable fact is that most of the infrastructure that betokens the development and importance of the Saraiki belt is either the courtesy of Nawab’s who ruled the Bahawalpur state before merging into Pakistan or Arab Sheikhs, who in return enjoy whooping concessions on turning Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan state acreage into private hunting lands, and nothing significant has been delivered in past 60 years by the “Saraiki politicians who are now demanding a separate province”.

If the philosophy behind the renaissance of this movement is reverting to the historical boundaries, then what to do with that part of NWFP which was in Punjab before November 1901. Does that mean redressing of all the provinces if historical boundaries are the criteria?

It can be a likely possibility that it may be a government backed stunt to sway the attention of Pakistani people from the core issues of economy, law and order, and terrorism which are crippling the fragile government day by day and they are finding it hard to grapple with on hand challenges. Many political analysts are seeing it as an attempt by PPPP’s government to weaken the PML (N) grip on Punjab and to disguise government’s dragging of approval of 17th amendment behind the pretense of a Saraiki province demand. PML (N) has several times clearly expressed its displeasure pertaining to the delaying of approval process of 17th amendment. However, the political stature of PML (N) in Punjab should not take a hit since it has not much support amongst the Saraiki belt and currently holds only eight seats from the Saraiki districts out of some forty odd seats.

At the government level though, PPPP has denounced the call for a separate Saraiki province both from the President and Prime Minister’s office and maintained its stance that it is against the fragmentation of the provinces. On the other hand PML (N) is amiable to the idea of calling a meeting with the Saraiki leaders currently living in the subject areas and chalking out a package to address the contentious issues.

Hypothetically if the Saraiki province is created, then WHAT? The same politicians who were representing Saraiki belt before will be dumped on the Saraiki’s again. How will they change things when they have not done a single bit in the past 60 years for them? What goods it has brought to Balochistan as being a province, as it still remains the most underdeveloped area of Pakistan and the reason for that is none other than the feudalism and lack of sincere and ardent implementation of development policies by the federal government and the baloch politicians. Interestingly, the champions of a separate Saraiki province demand, most of them enjoy a luxurious life in the serene and opulent areas of Lahore and Islamabad rather than the area which they are claiming is theirs and crying out in their interviews that they can not be a witness anymore to the deplorable condition of their people and the area.

To add another spin to this issue, with terror networks already present in southern Punjab and trying to strengthen their grip in that area, raising such an issue at this precarious time can provide the opening which India, Israel and their allies may be looking for to build upon and create a kind of mayhem as they have created in Swat and Balochistan. This will provide them the luxury to recruit traitors at will in the name of “Islam and getting your own identity”, as they have done in Swat and Balochistan. This may very well lead to opening another alarming front of a troubling separatist movement to deal with for Pakistan army and the already crippled government of Pakistan.

Although the timing of the demand in subject is highly unfortunate but it is a fact that the ground realities pertaining to the social and economic conditions of southern Punjab are extremely deplorable and demands immediate attention. Rather than chauvinistically demanding a separate province and expending energies towards it, the Saraiki politicians and intellects along with their peers in northern Punjab need to formulate packages for economic development, educational and judicial reforms, industrialization, improving governance, utilizing the resources efficiently and honestly, eliminating the terror dungeons, and lastly but most importantly go back and live among the people whom you are aspiring to lead. So that the people of their area should not feel that they have been again duped by bunch of charlatans like the past 60 years.”

References

  1. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
  2. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
  3. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
  4. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
  5. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
  6. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ar&nid=566
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  1. KALEEM UR REHMAN
    April 22, 2011 at 11:22 am | #1

    Bahawalpur Division was the State of Bahawalpur, which had a history of 228 years of rule by the Abbasi Nawabs. The State, which was formed in 1727, ended in 1955 and the whole area of the State was made a division of Punjab Province. Bahawalpur region since last 300 years has faced a common historical experience. The people of Bahawalpur region are facing similar problems; these include underdevelopment, economic and political deprivations. The general masses feel that their region is being exploited and they are not being provided their due shares. These shared problems have brought the people of Bahawalpur region closer to each other towards the demand for a separate province for Bahawalpur region which has always been geographically distinct. Ever since the establishment of the State, Bahawalpur region has had an independent and separate identity. This region is being represented by 15 MNA’s in National Assembly and 31 MPA’s in the Punjab Assembly.

    Even though area wise it has been the largest division of Punjab yet it is also one of the most backward region. The region remains underdeveloped, in nearly all fields. Bahawalpur as a State merged in 1955 and along with it was the end of the Abbasi Nawab’s rule, but even today all the Nawab’s are remembered by the people. This includes all sections of people, the leaders, ordinary masses, the educated all and sundry. The Nawabs are an important feature of the Bahawalpur region. People love and respect them as a symbol of their glorious past

    The people of Bahawalpur have not forgotten the Nawabs, the family of Nawab is still highly respected in the region. Nawab Salahud-Din Abbasi the grand son of the last Nawab is one of the most important and the most respected political figure in the region. He has all the public support. The people still give him the same respect, which was given to the Nawabs.

    The Saraiki Suba Movement does not have many roots in Bahawalpur region. Not even once in all the elections, has any candidate of the Saraiki Party ever won a single seat in Bahawalpur, rather they always lost very badly in the elections. It is not a popular movement in Bahawalpur region. The majority in Bahawalpur region still favours Bahawalpur Province upon Saraiki Province. The people feel that by supporting the creation of Saraiki Province they will be foregoing the demand for Bahawalpur Province. The other feeling toward Saraiki Province is that Multan will be the centre of power and the capital of Saraiki Province and the domination of other areas over Bahawalpur region will remain as such.

    On 30th April, 1951 the Pakistan Government and the Ruler of Bahawalpur entered into an important agreement which put the State on the same footing as provinces under the Government of India Act of 1935 in the matter of legislation and administration.” The agreement technically described as the Supplementary Instrument of Accession, was signed by Ameer Sadiq Mohammad –V and was accepted by the Governor General of Pakistan Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din. Under the agreement the Ruler of Bahawalpur agreed to transfer to the Central Government all subjects mentioned in list one of the Government of India Act (1935) called central subjects i.e. defence, communications and foreign affairs administered by the centre. All subjects covered by list two of the Government of India Act, called provincial subjects, would continue to be administered by the State. Both the Federal and the State legislature in respect of subjects mentioned in the Concurrent List but the Federal Legislature will have precedence over the State legislature should there occur a conflict between the two.

    It is a historic fact that before One Unit Bahawalpur had a provincial status, and Bahawalpur merged with a status of a province with West Pakistan at the time of One Unit. But when One Unit was broken on 30th March, 1970 Bahawalpur was made a part of Punjab Province. Even though at the time of merger, an understanding was given to the Ameer of Bahawalpur that whenever One Unit will be broken, Bahawalpur will be restored as a separate Province. This is from where the Bahawalpur Province Movement begins.

    “Another grievance is that Bahawalpur’s prosperity mainly depended on the waters of River Sultej, which was given to India in the Indus Water Treaty, this adversely affected the economy of the region”. Earlier in Bahawalpur State judiciary and executive were separate, which also ended at time of One Unit. The State had its own legislature Assembly, Secretariat, High Court, Accountant General and Public Service Commission.

    With the announcement of Pakistan government in March 1970 that One Unit is broken up into provinces of Punjab, Baluchistan, NWFP and Sindh. Bahawalpur was inducted into Punjab Province.This decision led to great resentment from all sections in Bahawalpur. All over Bahawalpur began processions, protests and meetings negating the Governments decision to amalgamate Bahawalpur in Punjab. By end of March activists starting courting arrests.

    On 24 April 1970 the police opened fire on a procession killing two persons and wounding many. Many protesters were arrested. Five processions were taken out in the Bahawalpur city to press the demand for separate provincial status for Bahawalpur. The processionists started brick-bating the police, upon this the police opened fire. The local administration called in the Army and curfew was imposed. Various political leaders were arrested, amongst them were Seth Ubaidur Rehman, Maulana Ghulam Mustafa, Altaf Qureshi, Allama Arshad, Syed Ahmad Nawaz Shah Gardezi. Begum Tahira Masood, was expelled from Bahawalpur for a period of one month. Movement for Bahawalpur Province .

    For the restoration of Bahawalpur province, the women of the region also played an active role under the leadership of Tahira Masood, daughter of Mian Nizam ud Din, ex-Prime Minister of Bahawalpur. This was the first time that the women broke away the centuries old traditions and came out on roads. They would hold meetings and take out procession draped in white chaddars.

    “All this suppressed emotion was expressed in the elections of 1970. Most seats went to the sympathizers of the Mahaz, whether they stood as independents or as candidates of a political party”. At the time of general elections of 1970, when the movement for a separate province of Bahawalpur was at its peak, the candidates who supported the cause received 80% votes. Out of total of 10 Lakh 30 thousand votes, 7 lakh 14 thousand votes went to the supporters of Bahawalpur Province Movement. The candidates who were not supporting this movement altogether received only 1 lakh votes. Once elected the leaders of Mahaz did not pursue the case of Bahawalpur forcefully, but they did issue declarations in support of a separate province, letters were addressed to Yahya Khan and Z.A. Bhutto. After 1971 when Pakistan lost East Pakistan, many in the Mahaz felt that it was unsuitable to pressurize for their demand at this time and along with it the Mahaz lost its unity and effectiveness.
    If serious thoughts and steps are not adopted for the uplift of the region then the politics of regionalism in this region may become a very serious issue. The majority of masses of the region aspire for a separate province for Bahawalpur region, this strong feeling may turn into a political movement, if the grievances of the region are not seriously looked upon. Movement for Bahawalpur Province
    Presently on 14-04-2011, Ameer of Bahawalpur, Nawab Salah ud Din Abbasi alongwith Muhammad Ali Durrani and Syed Ahmed Mehmood have started campaign for the restoration of Bahawalpur Province

  2. April 27, 2011 at 11:10 am | #2

    All saraiki people want to creat province of saraikistan and we want to all saraki people gahterd in this way and get over province sarakistan.

  3. April 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm | #3

    THE FOUNDER OF SARAIKISTAN JANAB ZAHOOR DEHREJA HM APKE BAUT SHUKER GUZAR HN K AP NE
    JHOKE AKBAR KE ZERYE HMEN HMEN APNE MAN BOLE ZUBAN SE ROSHNAS KRAYA AUR SARAIKI ZUBAN
    KE LYE BAHUT SAKT MEHNET KE HM NE BHE VOCATIONAL COLLEGE MEN SARAIKISTAN GROUP BNYA HI HM AP KO BATANA CHATE HN KE HM AP SATH HN HMARE BAROON NE SATH NA DYA SHAID UN KA BHE KASOOR NHEN UN APNE MAN BOLE KA PATA NHEN THA KOYAN KE WO NAALAM THE LIKEN AB HM SARE SARAIKI AP KE SATH NAME OF DATA BASE CLASS AYAZ AHMED GAANGA. NAEEMULLAH. WASEEM SIJJAD.TARIQ BAHI.ARSHAID ALI.SAJID.M.NAWAZ.JAMSHAID FAREED.ALTAF BAHI.FURQAN BAHI.JAMAT ALI.AND MANY OTHER ZAHOOR DHERJA SAIN ASAN TUADE NAL HON TUHAN SABIT QADIM RAHO SARAIKISTAN FROM RAHIM YAR KHAN VTI WRITEN BY A,A,GAANGA

  4. April 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm | #4

    THE FOUNDER OF SARAIKISTAN JANAB ZAHOOR DEHREJA SAIN HM APKE BAUT SHUKER GUZAR HN K AP NE
    JHOKE AKBAR KE ZERYE HMEN HMEN APNE MAN BOLE ZUBAN SE ROSHNAS KRAYA AUR SARAIKI ZUBAN
    KE LYE BAHUT SAKT MEHNET KE HM NE BHE VOCATIONAL COLLEGE MEN SARAIKISTAN GROUP BNYA HI HM AP KO BATANA CHATE HN KE HM AP SATH HN HMARE BAROON NE SATH NA DYA SHAID UN KA BHE KASOOR NHEN UN APNE MAN BOLE KA PATA NHEN THA KOYAN KE WO NAALAM THE LIKEN AB HM SARE SARAIKI AP KE SATH NAME OF DATA BASE CLASS AYAZ AHMED GAANGA. NAEEMULLAH. WASEEM SIJJAD.TARIQ BAHI.ARSHAID ALI.SAJID.M.NAWAZ.JAMSHAID FAREED.ALTAF BAHI.FURQAN BAHI.JAMAT ALI.AND MANY OTHER ZAHOOR DHERJA SAIN ASAN TUADE NAL HON TUHAN SABIT QADIM RAHO SARAIKISTAN FROM RAHIM YAR KHAN VTI WRITEN BY A,A,GAANGA

  5. Muhammad Arslan
    May 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm | #5

    this is not apt for our nation it make a difference b/w a saraiki and any other i object at this

  6. Muhammad Arslan
    May 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm | #6

    This is not apt for our nation it make a difference b/w a saraiki and any other, I object at this.I want only Pakistan not Punjab, Singh, Baluchistan and NWFP, and not at all Saraikiatan.

  7. Afraz …
    September 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | #7

    ye koi dfrnce nae hay…ham log apny haqoq k lye ye alada karwana chahty hain…sab kam upar punjab main ho jaty hain yaha koi dakhta he nae yaha bhe itny districts aty hain…par kisi ko koi parwa nae…alada ho gay apny budgts hogy phr he kch agy ja sakain gy…apny mdcl colgs…universtian….

  8. M. Sohaib
    January 8, 2012 at 8:33 am | #8

    Saraikistan must be done

  9. April 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm | #9

    hmaray sath bangaleun jaisa saluk kia ja raha hai bangali was great unka koi qasur nhae tha punjabeun ne mulk tora tha ab balochistan ko toor rahay hain ya punjabeun ki pehchan ye hai army beucracy and industrial hmaray wasaib ko tabah kr k rakh dia hai

  10. Zohaib
    May 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm | #10

    jis jis ne b comments diye hain wo lissaniat phelane ki koshish mein hai. naya soba ban’na chahiye mgr ye kia main saraiki haan. O mere bhaio ye kaho k hum ache muslims aur pakistani hain. have u ever counted Punjabis in south punjab? muje saraiki zuban boht achi lagti hai mgr iska ye matlb nai k hum lissaniat phelana shuru kr dein.

    • ashraf
      September 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm | #11

      to aap q punjabi hn? Pakistan mn her kisi ki alag pehchan hy, Pakistan se bahar hum pakistani hn. jab aap se koi walid ka naam pochhay to kia aap usay pakistan btate ho? nhe na. her level p her kisi ki apni identity hy mere bhai

  11. August 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm | #12

    I am really disappointed with the views of the learned author of the article. Perhaps he is not aware of the history of the region which goes back over 4000 years and is a contemporary of old Egyptian and Sumer civilisation of Iraq. People of this area are not only connected by language they speak but also culture,manners, poetry and sufi ideology which has influenced the people’s thinking of tolerance and living in peace with each other. In the period of Mehmood Ghaznawi there was no Punjab whatsoever, there were two parts of northern India one being Multan and another Delhi . lahore , according to Hazrat Data Gang Bakhsh was a little town in the vicinity of Multan. In the time of Ghias ud Din Balban Multan was a Willayat where his son Mohammad was appointed Governor and Hazrat Amir Khusrow was his companion who wrote :
    Multan e ma ba Janat e Alla barber ast
    Ahista pa bineh keh Malak sajda me ku and.
    Which means ” Our Multan is equivalent to the Heaven so high
    Put your feet gently because the angles are prostrating here.

    The area has developed a unique culture over thousands of years from Alexander the Great to the present day. People from various parts of the World have come and settled here. Among them Arabs(Mohammad Bin Qasim) Turks , Mughals , Persians , Afghans lastly
    The British.
    However , in Sher Shah Suri’s time the axis shifted towards Peshawar – Lahore- Delhi
    And last nail in the coffin was struck by Ranjeet Singh in1818. The area never recovered from colonial rule . Even after the creation of pakistan all the economic development has gone to northern Punjab. It is self evident that from Sahiwal to Sukker no development has taken place in this area be it industrial, educational, job creation or communication and infrastructure.
    People of the area are fed up with the life of dependency and deprivation. They want to be their own masters ,they want to raise their own taxes and spend on the projects which are beneficial to the people.
    The author says it is not a good time because Pakistan is going through many problems .In my view there will never be a good time. I think most of the problems have been caused because of unfair distribution of resources , selfishness and greed of some of the politician.
    It is high time new province was created to rectify some of the injustices of the past.

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