Awamai Tehreek activists protest Sindh govt’s stance on hills’ auction

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MITHI: The large number of the people from different walks of life thronged in the hilly town of Nagarparkar town on the call of Awami Tehreek  to register their protest against the changing stance of the high-ups of Sindh government to auction off 5,000 acres of the Parkar region for granite extraction. The participants of the protest rally including women and children, carrying placards and banners inscribed with different slogans after marching on different thoroughfares and roads gathered at  Miskeen Jahan Khan Khoso Roundabout where they staged the demonstration for several hours demanding the complete ban on extraction of both precious granite and gravel from all its 108 points across the region. Lal Jarwar, the president of Awami Tehreek speaking to the charged crowd said that high-ups of Sndh by issuing the auction bids were adding insult to the injury  to the lovers of nature and beautiful places like Karoonjhar Hills. ” Despite  cancellation of tender inviting bids from  interested miners is a good step but the shadows of illegal mining still loom over Karoonjhar Hills” he said and added that  the  illegal miners continued to exploit the region for short-term gains, posing a persistent threat to the environment and the local communities. Jarwar made it clear that they would never allow rulers to defile or deface Karoonjhar hills and fight at every available forum including the courts. ” We have launched the decisive movement to warn PPP rulers to stop dreaming to auction all the resources of Sindh only to mint money” he warned and said that if the top PPP leadership was really sincere in the complete protection and preservation of Karoonjhar they should table the bill in Sindh Assembly and officially declare all its sites as national heritage sites and write to international forums to help them for their more preservation keeping in view the historical and religious significance of such sites.
Advocate Wasand Thari, another leader of AT from the desert district,  in his speech said the  cancellation of the auction should serve as a clear message that the sentiments of the people and the preservation of natural resources were most important adding Thari said that The Karoonjhar held  immense significance. He said that the high-ups of mines and minerals department again on Monday cancelled all the auctions of the mines and mineral sites across the province but apprehended that the statements of some Sindh ministers including Sharjeel Inam Memon that they would carry out mining with damaging the beauty of Karoonjhar hills were childish and irrational and made it clear any sort of extraction of mining in the Parkar region would be tantamount to causing an irreparable loss to the hills. The senior leader Abdul Qadir Ranto said that the rulers were only intrested to sell out the resources of Sindh and were now hellbent on selling the hills of Karoonjhar.. Ranto resolved to protect the resources, mines and minerals of Sindh and made it clear on rulers they would never allow such greedy people to auction off resources of Sindh.
” To fully protect the mountains, a two-pronged approach is necessary. Firstly, the government must intensify its efforts to crack down on illegal mining operations. Secondly, the government should invest in sustainable development initiatives for the region” urged Noor Ahmed Katiar, the general secretary of Awami Tehreek . He maintained that promoting responsible tourism and investing in renewable energy projects were  examples of striking a balance between development and conservation. Katiar demanded the entire be declared as a World Heritage Site, which according to him, would bring international recognition and protection to this invaluable asset. Ms Umra Samoon, the leader of Sindhyani Tehreek  speaking to the protesters warned that the people of Sindh would never allow rulers to cut the hills to fill their bellies and warned them to stop daydreaming to damage the beauty of Sindh by issuing the permits to extract graphite from beautiful hills.Senior journalist Dastgir Bhartti said that rulers were only eying on the resources of Sindh to sell them and earn money for their merry-making adding he said that the people would foil all such attempts made by corrupt and greedy rulers. Dr Dildar Leghari, the president Sindh Hari Tehreek said that the rulers were mistaken that they would continue to hoodwink the people of Sindh and would continue to commit bandtry on their resources.  Zarqa Halepoto, Obhayo Junejo, Kaltar Meghwar, Diyal Sehrai, Sarmad Rajpar, AB Charo, Ayaz Jamal Abro  Dewat Rai and others also spoke on the occasion. Meanwhile, people from different walks of life also gathered in Diplo where they staged demonstrations against the possible extraction of granite from Karoonjhar hills.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at