The Hindus community in Sukkur and Larkana divisions on Friday evening unanimously decided to boycot local council elections. This decision was taken by delegates of the Panchayats from over one hundred towns and cities. The "All Hindu Upper Sindh Convention" was hosted by the Jacobabad Hindu Panchayat. The host, Sudham Chand Chawla, local president, while welcoming the guests briefed them about the one- point agenda. He said 'Hindus have been given the status of a fourth-class citizen in Pakistan.' The resolution declaring their boycott of the local council elections was read by Rochi Ram a lawyer from Mirpurkhas.
The participants adopted the resolution with a resounding voice and raised their hands. In the first phase of the devolution of power, plan introduced by the government of General Pervez Musharraf elections to local councils are going to take place on December 31. Nomination papers have to be filed on December 5. If the boycott persist, it would be hard blow to the entire process. While Muslims have been given the right of five votes. Hindus would exercise the right of only one vote. Is this not a discrimination?" pointed outvarious speakers, arguing that the constitution empowers citizens with equal rights'.Participants wore black arm bands.
The convention was opened with a recitation from the Gita and concluded with Pakistan Zindabad'. "Sohni Dharti, Allah rakhey qadam qadam abad," was also frequently said throughout the proceedings of the convention. Speakers from small villages and big towns of upper Sindh condemned the separate electorate system which, according to them, 'caused bitterness among the minorities and hardships on various issues. Speakers who included former members of the national and provincial assemblies, were of the firm opinion that a joint electorate was the solution to different problems faced by the minorities'. Hari Ram Kishorilal, a former MPA said 'I belong to Mirpurkhas and it is difficult for the people of Jacobabad to locate me in case they need the to solve their problems as the entire country is our constituency. Mulkhi Sarwanand, former MPA, Petambar Sehwani, former MPA, Ms Kalpana Devi, Hari Ram Kishorilal, former MPA, Sudhamal Chand Chawla, President, Jacobabad Panchayat, Dr Mehr Chand, Milki Mal of Rohri, Ram Chand of Khandkot, Dr Premchand of Shahdadkot, Dr Balchand of Badani, Lachman Das, advcate of Ghotki, Mewa Ram Odh of Dokri, Mukhi Bakhshomal of Thul, Khaniyalal of Kashomore, Dr Ramesh Lal of Kamber, Choudhry amna Das of Khandkot, Ramesh Lal of Thul, and others spoke at the gathering. Speakers exhorted the audience "to remain united and fearless about the repercussions if any". A peaceful struggle to reintroduce the joint electorate system should be launched.
A handful of participants asked "what would happen if people contest the elections in violation of the conventions decision?" Rochi Ram told them that the convention had taken a unanimous decision and if people violate it, they would be the dealt of their community." When some speakers attempted to offer an overall picture of the conditions which Hindus had been experiencing, the organisers asked them to confine themselves to the agenda of the convention. Kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping of girls, subsequently their conversion under what they said was 'coercion' and discrimination on various counts, are the factors which have made the Hindus of upper Sindh lose heart.