HYDERABAD: Wearing Sindhi caps and Ajraks and dancing to the tune of nationalist folk songs, people belonging to almost all political parties came out in large numbers in cities and towns across the province on Sunday to observe the Sindh Cap day.
The traditional cap was taken up as an important issue by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and nationalist parties after an anchor person of a private TV channel criticised President Asif Ali Zardari for donning the Sindhi cap during his official visit to Afghanistan.
A popular Sindhi TV channel described it as an attack the national ego and called for a show of solidarity by observing Dec 6 as Sindhi Cap day. The call was supported by political and nationalist parties.
In Hyderabad, hundreds of PPP activists led by Senator Maula Bux Chandio and Sindh Fisheries Minister Zahid Ali Bhurgari took out what was called ‘Pakistan khappay’ rally, which marched on different roads of the city.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement distributed Sindhi caps and Ajraks among journalists at a ceremony at the party’s office. Besides the PPP, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, MQM, Awami National Party, Sindh Democratic Forum, Radio Pakistan Employees Association and Sindh Dost Rabita Council also brought out rallies.
Some enthusiasts turned up with large replicas of Sindhi cap mounted onto vans. A large number of children wearing the caps also joined the rally.
Allan Khan Pathan attracted everyone’s attention because he was riding a horse, holding Jeay Sindh flag in one hand and a PPP flag in the other.
PPP activists carried portraits of Z.A. Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, raising slogans of “Aik Zardari sab pe bhari”.
In Larkana, veteran communist leader Sobho Gianchandani, despite his failing health, led a procession of writers and intellectuals.
Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and PPP leader Dr Shafqat Soomro led a procession. The minister said that a bill would be introduced in the Sindh Assembly for celebrating Dec 6 every year as Sindhi Cap day in the province.
In Badin, Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza and MPAs Dr Sikandar Ali Mandhro and Ali Nawaz Chandio led a big rally.
Dr Mirza criticised the elements who, he alleged, had insulted Sindhi culture and said that they were not the main accused but had been hired by those who were against PPP, against Sindh, against democracy and against Pakistan.
Activists of STP, PML-N and a large number of students took out rallies in the town and hundreds of prisoners in the district jail wore Sindhi caps and Ajraks to celebrate the day.
In Khairpur, Sindh Minister for Works Manzoor Wassan and MNA Nawab Wassan led a rally. The participants were carrying a large seven-foot cap.
Sufi singers led by Rajab Faqeer, son of late Sohrab Faqeer, Ayaz Faqeer Khokhar and others sang Sufi songs as they walked ahead of the rallies, eulogising Sindhi culture.
In Naushahro Feroze, PPP, JSQM, STP, NPP and a large number of social organisations took out rallies in which hundreds of people wearing Sindhi caps and Ajraks participated. The effigy of the private TV channel anchor was set ablaze.
In Mithi, activists of political, social and cultural organisations, wearing Sindhi caps, Ajraks and turbans took out large rallies. They beat drums and danced to the tune of traditional songs.
Markets remained closed till noon and thousands of youths, children and members of general public were seen wearing Sindhi caps and Ajraks.
In Thatta, Journalists Forum organised a big motor rally. PPP MPA Humera Alwani, provincial minister Abdul Jalil Memon and other leaders of the party joined the rally.
In Sukkur, hundreds of youths on motorcycles took out a rally and groups of youths clad in traditional Sindhi dress danced to the tune of Sindhi music on the roads.
Federal Minister for Labour Khursheed Ahmed Shah said that criticising the Sindhi cap was part of a larger conspiracy against democracy.
Similar rallies were held in Shahdadkot, Dadu, Nawabshah, Umerkot, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Ghotki, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kandhkot, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar and other cities and towns of the province.