Pakistan dumping N-waste at Sindh-Balochistan border

Pakistan has been dumping nuclear waste at the Kirthar ranges adjacent to Khuzdar district of Balochistan. Earlier the dumping used to take place in Arabian Sea near and around the Bay of Son Miyani (close to Balochistan coastline) in Lasbela district and parts of Ketch Makran district of the Sindh.

This activity poses a grave threat to human life as the dumping sites are not very far from thickly populated areas of both Sindh and Balochistan. Pak authorities have gone to extraordinary length to hide their crime against humanity. First they have taken full control of the mountainous areas that fall in the district Qambar-Shahdadkot, Dadu and Jamshoro. And have denied access to outsiders.

Under the Nawaz Sharif regime, the NGOs, both local and international, have lost their voice across Pakistan. Balochistan is no exception. Even those few who are able to operate despite restrictions, are not in a position to conduct medical or other related tests to articulate concerns over N-waste fallout.
Zulfiqar Shah, a Pakistani Sindhi by birth, who has been forced to live in exile has been highlighting the dangers posed by indiscriminate dumping of N-waste by Pakistan government.

“I personally authenticate the existence of such hazardous facility in Sindh”, he says in a recent blog post. In his assessment, the Nuclear Power House in Karachi that has come up with a Chinese package has always been threatening a mini-Chernobyl kind of carnage for not only the people of Sindhi-Balochistan and nearby India but also for the marine life, biodiversity and Indus Delta Eco-System.

Shah, who is a prolific writer, has an interesting take on the Balochistan and his native Sindh. In his view both provinces of Pakistan have enough ground to knock at international fora as well as United Nations and The Hague to secure their rights.

“In the elections of 1946 (during the last days of British rule in India), All India Muslim League, which demanded Pakistan, lost the elections in Sindh. Sindhi nationalists formed government in the province in alliance with Indian National Congress. It meant the voters of Sindh rejected the idea of Pakistan which was created (by the outgoing colonial power Britain) in 1947. This also undid the Pakistan Resolution passed by Sindh Legislative Assembly. Besides, the political leadership and parliamentarians who passed Pakistan Resolution quit All India Muslim League, turned against the idea of Pakistan and won the 1946 elections in Sindh,” Zulfiqar Shah wrote on this September.

He may have his point. More so as he laments that Pakistan Government had jailed the Hur fighters (Sindhi warriors) who had waged war against colonial Britain during the Second World War. Many of these warriors were hanged as well.

Zulfiqar Shah may be right that both Sindh and Balochistan have strong valid documentary evidence on their rights. But it is difficult to buy his view that these two Pakistani provinces should go solo.
Now that India has been taking about Balochistan, it will be worth the while to hear Zulfiqar Shah’s tale of ‘stateless life’, and the threats he has been “facing” from the dreaded ISI.

While in his native Sindh, Shah earned the wrath of Pakistan Army for his civil rights activism, and writings. Closing down The Institute for Social Movements, he was running, he migrated to Nepal in 2012 and UNHCR granted him refugee status.

His writings on Pakistan in the Nepali media attracted ISI attention and he became a marked man again. “He was given heavy metal poison by Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, with the help of its local facilitators” but he survived because of timely medical attention provided by friends. Shah was forced to return to Pakistan in December 2013. Two months later in Feb 2014 he arrived in New Delhi for medical treatment.

“He was not only denied appropriate treatment on behalf of Pakistan High Commission, in Delhi, but was also harassed by the high commission officials”, says a Wikipedia post. Shah and his wife Fatima staged a protest sit-in for 285 days against Pakistan High Commission and its facilitation by the Indian authorities, the internet posts add.

Zulfiqar Shahs of Pakistan deserve a helping hand from the governments of the free world and their people. To lead a life of comfort with dignity, wherever they like to live!

– by Malladi Rama Rao

Policy Research Group