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Decline of Separatist Movement in Sindh (1971-77): An Outcome of PPP Rise to Power
British government assumed the political control of Sindh in 1843 and annexed it with the Bombay Presidency just after four years in 1847. This way, the autonomous status of Sindh was ended; however, local leadership remained intact with power and prestige. In spite of the British government’s interests to develop Karachi as a port city, Sindh succeeded to remain free from the influence of the cultures of the rest of the parts of the sub-continent. In 1913, Karachi based politician ‘Harchandra Vishindas’ demanded the separation of Sindh from the Bombay presidency; soon, another Sindhi politician named ‘Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgri’ joined him (Khan 2005). At last, in 1936, Sindh was accorded the status of a full-fledged province. The movement for Sindh’s separation from the Bombay presidency was based on the faith that is the part of the presidency; Sindh had lost its unique and distinct identity; hence to preserve its identity and culture, it must be separated from the presidency and granted provincial status. Soon after the separation, Sindh Ittihad Party (SIP) was formed to protect the interests of Sindhis and won the majority of provincial seats in the 1937 elections, while Muslim League couldn’t get even a single seat from Sindh (Kennedy, 1991). However, the Sindh assembly became a pioneer by passing a resolution for joining Pakistan after partition. Though Allah Bux Soomro, a renowned Sindhi politician, was against the idea of Pakistan as well as the resolution passed by the assembly. He is reported to warn G.M.Sayed, who was at the forefront to pass the resolution to join Pakistani state:
You will get to know that our difficulties will begin after Pakistan's inception. Presently, Hindu trader and money lander’s plunder is worrying you, but later you will have to face Punjabi bureaucracy and soldiery and the mind of UP.’ (Khan, 2005)
This warning was going to be true as the post-partition period saw a major influx of refugees from India. Sindh became the biggest recipient of this influx of refugees (Mohajir). Soon it became clear to indigenous Sindhis that the situation would not be so simple and easy to say welcome to their Muslim brethren coming from India; rather, a fear started to grow that a massive number of refugees would swamp them. Incoming refugees were politically trained and more literate than natives; therefore, gradually, they started to become dominant on the provincial and central power structure. Furthermore, the imposition of the One-Unit scheme proved a damning act to undermine the regional identity of Sindh. Sindh provincial assembly passed a resolution against this but in vain. The scheme continued until 1970, when on 30th March 1970, the One-Unit scheme dissolution order was promulgated, and the provinces of West Pakistan were restored to their earlier position. The same year Pakistan saw the first general elections; however, unluckily, the party got majority seats was refused to assume power, and in its consequence, the East Wing of the Pakistani state became successful in being a sovereign state of Bangladesh. In the rest of Pakistan, Sindh based political party (Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)) formed the central government in the early 70s by getting a significant electoral victory in the first-ever general elections held in Pakistan on 7th December 1970. The formation of a popular government was considered a revival of democracy in Pakistan after an interval of more than a decade. Following the footsteps of other democratic governments, PPP’s government provided a participatory environment for different ethnic-nationalist groups to ensure their due representation in the state and government institutions. The government adopted a more inclusive approach and provided a conducive environment for the flourishing of regional cultures. It happened only during that era that cultural heritage institutions such as Lok Virsa and the Panjabi Adabi Board were established (Siddiqi 2012). Such measures produced tangible results and reduced the intensity of ethnonationalism generally and Sindhi nationalism more directly.
Prior to PPP’s regime, the “Sindhudesh” movement was at its peak, and its leadership was demanding separation but lost its political steam afterwards and could not gain large scale public support. Sindhis indulged themselves in getting full advantage of the new vistas of progress and prosperity opened for them. Hence, the nationalist sentiments could not get proliferation and went into hibernation. Based on the following argument, a hypothesis has been developed that inclusive, participatory and accommodative state policies have the potential to make the ethnic-nationalist movements declined and slumped gradually. Accordingly, the present study makes an effort to investigate the hypothesis in the context of PPP’s government politico-economic reforms and Sindhi ethnonationalism. Since the formation of the central government by PPP had some unique implications for the politics of Sindh and Sindhi ethnonational movement because the party’s leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hailed from Sindh. PPP had pledged to ameliorate the condition of impoverished regions and classes and implemented certain policies which had significant consequences for Sindh. The study will be an original contribution to the existing scholarship on Sindhi nationalism as very limited literature (Ahmed, 1972; Kennedy, 1991; Jr, 1991; Rahman, 1993; Syed, 1995; Rahman, 1995; Shafi, 1972) is available, focusing on the decline of Sindhi nationalism with the particular reference of PPP’s government policies during 1970 to 77. This study is based on secondary sources of data such as research articles, books, newspaper periodicals, published reports and state officials’ statements. Explanatory and descriptive research techniques have been used to examine the cause and effect relationship between the policies and measures of PPP’s government on Sindhi nationalism and separatist trends. Since the study first attempts to analyze the effects of the inclusive and participatory approach of the then government on the politics of Sindh and then describes the outcomes of those measures in a relational way.
This study has been designed into four sections. The opening section introduces the statement of the problem to the reader and briefs about the hypothetical correlation between PPP’s government policies and the ferocity of ethnic nationalism. The next section explains the theoretical background of the study upon which the hypothesis has been constructed. The following section discusses the various measures and reforms introduced by PPP’s government and examines their effect on the magnitude of Sindhi nationalism. The last section concludes the discussion and recommends the participative and inclusive approach to bolster the national integration process and to dilute the separatists’ proclivities.
A glance at the following theoretical formulation can help in a better understanding of the democratic government’s actions and policies as well as its impacts upon the Sindhi nationalist movement. In the opinion of (Henders 1997) post-authoritarian regimes usually adopt favourable policies for regional cultural groups as it required the support of those groups to avert the resurgences of authoritarianism in the country. Likewise, in post-Franco Spain, the democratic transition was accompanied by strong regional dimensions because erstwhile dictatorship had crushed both the democracy and regional autonomy. Heraclides (1997) observed that territorial autonomy and federal solutions have often been successful in controlling the ethnic-nationalist secession in, especially democratic settings. Recognition of cultural diversity has also been helpful in molding the opinion of different ethnonational groups in favor of the existing states. He concluded that governments could win substantial support amongst deprived ethnic groups if they are able to convince those ethnic groups regarding authorities’ sincerity for resolution of their problems (Heraclides 1997). Maiz (2003) opined that federal parties which incorporate the regionalist demands in their political programs and possess the capacity for its implementation could weaken the influence of the regionalist organizations (Maiz 2003). This theoretical background is appropriate for the explanation of Sindh’s political situation during the decade of the 70s, especially the decline in the influence of political forces striving for separation of Sindh from Pakistan.
Discussion and Analysis
Measures Taken by PPP’s Government and their Impact on Sindhi Ethno-Nationalism
PPP’s took multiples measures which became a source to weaken the separatist's inclination and to remove the sense of alienation among the native Sindhi community. They can be categorized into three types;
· Politico-economic reforms and administrative restructuring
· Sindhi-Mohajir contradictions: Tilting the balance in favor of natives
· Mutual relations of PPP and Sindhi nationalists
The important first task undertaken by the Bhutto regime was the political and administrative reformation. PPP government initiated several policies to restructure administrative institutions (Rahman, 1982). Bhutto utilized his popular support amongst the masses for the implementation of reforms that intended to limit the role of both civil and military bureaucracy in the decision-making process (Monshipouri & Amjad, 1995). The dominant role of the army had already been diminished due to East Pakistan’s debacle. He took advantage of it and successfully implemented certain political and constitutional measures to prevent the army’s domination over state administration (Kapur 1991). The structure of military high command was reorganized. Office of the Commander-in-Chief of armed forces was replaced by ‘Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee who possessed comparatively lesser powers. Civilian bureaucracy was held responsible for some of the wrong decisions and mistakes committed by Gen Ayub Khan’s government. Loss of bureaucratic prestige made it easy for the Bhutto government to circumscribe bureaucratic role through legal amendment (Heeger 1977). Bureaucracy was reformed and reorganized to prevent its dominance in policymaking. Elite bureaucratic cadre ‘Civil Services of Pakistan’ (CSP) was discarded. The vital administrative postings reserved for CSP officers were distributed in sixteen different cadres of federal bureaucracy named Central Superior Services (CSS) (Ziring & LaPorte, 1974). Numbers of senior bureaucrats were forced to retire, and the vacant positions were filled by the recruitment of PPP affiliates. The majority of new recruits belonged to Sindh. The dominance of civilian elected representatives in decision making under the leadership of a Sindhi politician was an encouraging sign for the Sindhi masses because the majority of their grievances were related to unrestrained behavior of civil-military bureaucracy, hence became a great confidence booster for native Sindhis (Malik, 1999). The cultural diversity of Pakistani society was appreciated and promoted by Bhutto’s government. The government sought the process of cultural integration through the accommodation of diverse cultures (Ziring, 1980; ). In contrast to the earlier era, folk cultures were provided sufficient coverage on official television and radio. Several programs and shows on TV and radio were related to folk cultures. PPP government adopted Urdu as the national language and authorized the provinces to adopt the native languages of their regions as official languages (Syed, 1984). Sindh provincial government decided to adopt Sindhi as an official language of the province that was a long-cherished dream of indigenous Sindhis.
The issue of power-sharing between center and provinces had always been elusive throughout Pakistan's history. Before the separation of East Pakistan, the basic controversy was related to the division of power and resources between two wings (East Pakistan and West Pakistan) of the country. Power-sharing and resources distribution between the center and constituent units sustained itself as the most controversial and difficult issue even after the separation of Bengal (Baxter 1974). Punjab was comprised of more than 50% of the remaining country’s population, and Punjabis were also dominating central bureaucratic administration and therefore were less interested in devolution of powers; the provincial autonomy was desired by ethnolinguistic groups of smaller provinces as their interests were different to those of Punjabis (Talbot 2003). Resultantly, Pakistan witnessed a competition between forces striving for a centralized state and regional forces desirous of decentralization (Sayeed 1980). The conflictual situation made the achievement of broader agreement about the optimum level of provincial autonomy an arduous task for policymakers (Burki 1991). Bhutto wanted to settle the issue amicably as he was fully aware that Gen Ayub’s reign had promoted inequality between regions and classes (Sayeed 1980). He decided not to adopt a rigid attitude while dealing with political forces of smaller provinces (Robert, 1975) as argued by Henders that post-authoritarian regimes are more sympathetic for the accommodation of the regional demands (Henders 1997). In fact, Bhutto himself deemed the federal system a prerequisite to holding culturally diverse people together. In an address to the nation, Bhutto affirmed his government commitment for resolution of the issues according to popular aspirations; in another address to the National Assembly of Pakistan, he reiterated his position in favor of provincial autonomy, though he supported the concept of viable central government (Baxter, 1974; Malik, 1975). The other important political party during that period was National Awami Party (NAP). NAP was a senior coalition partner in provincial governments of Baluchistan, and NWFP NAP’s manifesto demanded complete provincial autonomy by limiting the control of central government to only three subjects, defence, foreign affairs and currency. To resolve the controversy about the future constitution of Pakistan and to settle the issue of centre-province relations, Bhutto and the leadership of NAP signed a constitutional accord on March 6, 1972. The agreement between PPP and NAP on provincial autonomy reflected the bridging of the gap between proponents of substantial provincial autonomy and those of a strong, viable center (Ahmad 1987). It provided the basis for framing the constitution by consensus (Arif Khan, Taj Muharram Khan, Ashfaq U. Rehman 2017). The constitution of 1973 incorporated sufficient clauses related to provincial autonomy and distribution of resources between centre and provinces (Prof. Dr. Iram Khalid & Ms. Nusrat Hussain 2018). Materialization of the old cherished dream of native Sindhis strengthened the centripetal political forces in Sindh and accelerated the process of national integration (Tariq Anwar Khan, Adil Khan, Muhammad Imran Mehsud, 2020).
PPP’s government in August 1973 provided constitutional legitimacy to policy for recruitment in federal services enacted by the previous government of Gen Yahya Khan as his government had introduced some basic changes in recruitment policy for federal services. The seats allocated on the basis of open merit were reduced from 20% to 10%, and the remaining 90% seats were required to be distributed among four provinces, FATA, Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, on a population basis. Sindh’s quota was further apportioned on the rural-urban basis, 11.4% for rural and 7.65% for urban Sindh (Kennedy, 1984). The federal quota initially applicable only for recruitment in federal bureaucracy was soon extended to include attached departments, autonomous and semi-autonomous public sector organizations, educational institutions and provincial departments (Kennedy, 1991). PPP’s program of nationalization of industries and financial organizations enhanced the significance of the policy by increasing the number of available vacancies. One hundred and eighty-eight organizations earlier administered by the private sector were given under the control of the government. New recruitment in those institutions, like other government departments, was also made according to quota policy (Kennedy, 1984). This way, large numbers of native Sindhis were recruited in autonomous and semi-autonomous corporations in which they were even more under-represented as compared to the government sector (Sultan Mubariz Khan, Misbah Shaheen, Manzoor Ahmad, 2019). The new policy created opportunities for Sindhis to improve their representation in government services, and almost more than ninety percent of educated Sindhi youth got employment (Bhutto, 1988).
Sindhis had always clamoured for their underrepresentation in bureaucratic jobs since independence, but no improvement could happen unless a new policy was implemented by the PPP government (Korejo 2000). According to the 4th triennial census conducted in 1973, native Sindhis representation in federal bureaucracy was 2.7% which was almost 1/5 of their ratio in the country’s population (Amin 1988). The PM was able to appoint many Sindhis in federal and provincial services directly by introducing a system of lateral entry for government services (Jr 1991). Representation of Sindhis in services and number of Sindhi students in vocational and other educational institutions showed a positive sign due to implementation of reserved quota policy for rural population and system of lateral entry. It almost doubled the representation of indigenous Sindhis in higher services. Sindhi proportion in gazetted officers posts reached 5.1% in 1983 from 2.7% in 1974 (Kennedy, 1991). Sindhis were appointed in the central cabinet and comprised of the majority in the provincial cabinet. Their presence in provincial and local bureaucratic administration increased considerably. Local administration became easily accessible for native Sindhi (Kardar 1992) s.
A considerable portion of Sindhi society was the victim of economic policies adopted by the military regime of Gen Ayub Khan. Those policies had widened the gap between rich and poor. In order to mitigate the income disparities, PPP pledged to implement an economic reform program to ensure distributive justice (Jones 2003). Raising the issue of poor masses made PPP popular in Sindh. The party was able to endear itself to deprived sections of Sindhi society, and those deprived people formed the majority of indigenous Sindhis (Yousaf 1999). PPP government addressed the problem of low income and scarcity of job opportunities in interior Sindh by modernization and mechanization of the agricultural sector. Government established agro-based industry in interior Sindh. Agro-based Industrial complexes were established in Sukhar, Hyderabad, Nawab Shah, Mirpur Khas and Larkana, which helped to increase agricultural output. It also enhanced employment opportunities for rural Sindhis (Ageef 1989). PPP also introduced land reforms and initiated a program of land distribution among landless tenants locally called ‘Harris’ in Sindh. Federal Land Commission (FLS) distributed 2.3 million acres of lands among landless in Sindh from May 1972 to November 1974. However, the total lands allocated for allotment were 6.5 million acres. The statistics revealed that FLS allotted almost 1/3 of the allocated lands leaving remaining lands in possession of feudal lords (Ageef 1989). Those manipulated land reforms in Sindh had incentives for the satisfaction of Sindhi Haris as well as for feudal lords too (Umbreen Javaid & Tahmina Aslam 2017). Support of PPP further expanded because of interest aggregation strategy.
The PPP government allocated a large sum for the development of rural Sindh and initiated many development projects. Under the Rural Development Program, the government constructed 75000 houses in rural areas. A scheme worth two million rupees was approved to resolve the problem of salinity and waterlogging within a period of twenty years. A huge amount of funds were spent on the construction of roads and the provision of electricity for the rural areas of Sindh (Bhutto, 1988). Numbers of new hospitals were established at several district headquarters in interior Sindh. Similarly, a large number of ‘Rural Health Centers’ were established in all parts of rural Sindh. ‘Small Pox’, the epidemic disease, was also completely eradicated by government efforts (Ageef 1989). Growth and expansion of the entrepreneurial class of indigenous Sindhis is the other significant development associated with that particular era. The feudal elite started to take part in industrial and entrepreneurial activities. They were able to become industrialists because of favorable environment and available opportunities. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi of Nawab Shah and Abdul Hameed Jatoi from Dadu joined the Sindhi industrialist club earlier initiated during the last decades by some prominent personalities of the Talpur clan (Ageef 1989).
Sindhi-Mohajir Contradictions: Tilting the Balance in Favour of Indigenous Sindhis
Intensification of existing conflict between native Sindhis and immigrants had long-lasting impacts on Sindh’s politics. In July 1972, the passage of a bill by the Sindh provincial assembly declaring Sindhi as an official language was an event of great significance in the history of modern Sindh and caused large scale ethnic riots in the province. Sindhi became the language of administration and medium of education in the province and implied the compulsory learning of the Sindhi language for all government employees (Rahman, 1995). Mohajir community in Sindh apprehended that decision would have negative repercussions for Urdu speakers’ interests. The community was already disturbed due to the burgeoning influence of Punjabis in the state machinery, which was threatening to their privileged position (Khan 2005). Urdu speakers comprised the majority of the population of Sindh’s urban areas. Soon after the passage of the bill, the Urdu speakers launched a fierce campaign to revoke the language bill (Ahmer, 1996). They took out large processions in Karachi and Hyderabad to demand the declaration of Urdu along with Sindhi as an official language of the province. They considered the prestigious status of the Urdu language as directly proportional to their community’s prestige (Khory 1995).
The Sindhi language bill wasn’t merely a decision of government or demand of Sindhi nationalists but had the widespread public support of indigenous Sindhis. Nationalist elements had created public opinion to declare Sindhi as an official language of the province and one of the national languages of Pakistan. Sindhi nationalists expected to exploit the issue for consolidating their support base shaken badly by-election results of 1972, which created a volatile situation in the province (Shafi 1972). Rising tension due to contradictory views of Sindhis and Mohajirs on language issue transformed the political conflict into riots (Haq 1995). Both groups adopted an inflammatory tone against each other. Both the parties were adamant regarding justifications of their viewpoint, blaming the other for all the trouble. Ethnic riots between Sindhis and Mohajirs during the period were a serious challenge to the Bhutto government and their political skills (Wolpert 1994). The ethnic tension in Sindh had positive implications for the popularity of PPP in rural Sindh. Party came forward as a reliable force for the protection of indigenous interests.
The bifurcation of Sindh’s share for government jobs between rural and urban areas was another potent irritant for the mutual relations of the two major communities of Sindh. The urbanite and comparatively better-educated Mohajirs favored the policy of open merit in Sindh because they had been its beneficiary for the last twenty-five years (Maria Saifuddin Effendi & Dr. Nazir Hussain, 2018). Sindhis aspired for special safeguards to improve their representation in the state bureaucracy. The quota policy did not directly correspond to ethnic division, though it had ethnic implications because the rural population mostly comprised of indigenous Sindhis (81%). An important provision in quota policy that gave ethnic appearance was the inclusion of small towns inhabited by Mohajirs in the urban category, along with three main cities Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukhar. They considered the decision as palpable discrimination against Mohajirs (Syed Mukarram Shah Gilani, Asif Salim, Noor Ullah Khan 2017). The quota policies continued to disturb the educationally advanced urbanite Mohajirs and also made it difficult for the inhabitants of small towns to join bureaucratic services (Waseem 1997). Rural Sindhis’ representation in public sector jobs improved considerably because of it.
In August 1973, Bhutto signed an agreement with India for the return of prisoners of War and other civilian Pakistani nationals detained in India after the East Pakistan Debacle of 1971. The agreement also included the undertaking by the Government of Pakistan, which accepted a settlement of a substantial number of ‘Beharis’ stranded in Bangladesh (Feldman 1974). Before signing the agreement, on 23 July 1972, a nationalist organization, “Jeay Sindh Mahaz” passed a resolution against the settlement of ‘Beharis’ in Pakistan. Nationalists vented their apprehensions that all the immigrants would eventually assemble in Sindh and would turn the native population into a minority in their home province (Syed, 1995). The official declaration accepting the settlement of ‘Behari’ confirmed their fears. Sindhis deemed it harmful for their interests. PPP government, despite the official pledge, did not initiate any program for migration and rehabilitation of ‘Biharis’ stranded in concentrations camps of Dhaka. Political opinion in rural Sindh became more favorable for the continuation of PPP government at center as well as in Sindh to save Sindhis from becoming a minority in their ancestral region, and Sindhi intelligentsia felt that support for separatist forces would not be beneficial for the indigenous population’s interests. Lack of electoral support for PPP in Sindh could deprive native Sindhis of a potent channel to influence central governments’ decisions. The educated Sindhi middle class also apprehended that to counter the flourishing influence of nationalists in Sindh; the central establishment might encourage and facilitate further immigration of outsiders in the province, which would be a damaging blow for natives.
Mutual Relations of PPP and Sindhi Nationalists
Initially, the Sindhi nationalist parties and PPP had amicable relations having a harmony of interests in the dissemination of literature echoing Sindhi grievances (Rahman, 1993). Lala Qadir, a student leader, associated with PPP, staged a hunger strike to pressurize the government for designating Sindhi as an official language of the province. It was alleged that the hunger strike was planned by PPP leadership (Soomro 2004). Even a high-level government functionary, political secretary to Chief Minister of Sindh did not appreciate the peaceful constitutional political struggle as an appropriate strategy for the indigenous population to achieve their rights and the overtly preferred armed struggle over constitutional means. The expressed opinion was not different from the ideology of hardliner nationalists (Bhutto, 1978). Widespread desperation in educated youth of Sindh due to unemployment and monopoly of non-Sindhi groups in the job market had driven them towards nationalist politics before PPP’s government (Shafi 1972). Bhutto being an insightful politician, was aware of public perceptions. Sindhi educated youth being the most conscious and aggrieved section of Sindhi society, attracted the attention of Bhutto. He acknowledged their problems and pledged for affirmative measures (Ziring 1980). Thus PPP was able to convert the political loyalties of educated youth previously associated with nationalist organizations in its favor. By making Sindhi the official language of the Sindh province, the Bhutto government stole the thunder from the Sindhi nationalists. Bhutto proved that he could do something for Sindhis within Pakistan (Karim Haider Syed, Imran Khan 2019). Their participation in the national political arena and correspondingly in administration increased considerably. Influential position in federal cabinet and appointments at prestigious bureaucratic posts the first time boosted their status as well as confidence (Shah 1997). PPP’s government-appointed nationalist intellectual Sheikh Ayaz Vice-Chancellor of Sindh University. Sheikh Ayaz had previously played an active role in the nationalist movement. During his tenure as VC in Sindh University, nationalist students were annoyed with some of his actions, and they protested against those. Sheikh Ayaz also became critical of JSSF’s role in educational institutions. It created fissures amongst nationalist ranks, and prominent nationalist personalities like Sheikh Ayaz preferred to cooperate with PPP instead of separatists.
After its formation in 1967, PPP was able to attract a large number of workers and leaders previously associated with nationalist organizations during the late 60s before coming into power. The proceeding period witnessed the considerable strengthening of the trend because native Sindhis indulged themselves in taking full benefit of the newly available vista of progress and prosperity. Native Sindhis got a dominating position in the provincial government, and their representatives, for the first in Pakistan’s history, got a significant presence at the center. It provided them with the best opportunity to join the mainstream of the country and to interact intimately with other provinces. Resultantly, they became able to be part of the central political elite. Indigenous Sindhi masses became the beneficiary of comparatively fair arbitration by the federal government regarding the resolution of their problems, and the government was able to abate Sindhi nationalist movement by the selective awards for Sindhis in cultural, economic and employment sectors. PPP government neutralized Sindhi nationalists’ influence in youth by providing government service in considerable number. The government was successful in the co-optation of many nationalists student in government sector jobs. Sense of isolation and deprivation prevalent amongst educated youth gradually got evaporated. The exploitation of grievance by nationalist forces was thus effectively mollified by PPP as various problems faced by Sindhis were resolved successfully. PPP was able to further expand its popularity amongst native Sindhis especially deprived masses. The promising support of the party and its leader was the logical consequence of the improved socio-economic conditions of indigenous Sindhis. The philosophy and politics of nationalists received a damaging blow. Bhutto’s sagacity emerged as a formidable hurdle that proved insurmountable for the nationalist forces of Sindh. Z. A. Bhutto’s charismatic personality sabotaged their mission to secede from Pakistan. Sindhudesh movement was unable to expand its popular support. In fact, its existing popularity diminished considerably. Separatists’ constituency became limited to a small group comprised of disgruntled nationalist workers and leaders who seemed to be isolated.