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Shocking move

Letters

I was shocked, as a senior citizen to read that Muharraq municipal councillors have decided to stop Bahrainis from other governorates getting government homes in Muharraq. Being an acute diabetic, having lost more than 70 per cent eye-vision, initially I thought it was my misreading as I never imagined even in a day-dream such a thing ever happening in this country where until the 20th century foreign expatriates lived on a par with the same peace of mind and safety as that of natives.

Pakistan appeared on the world map in 1947 after the division of the Indian continent. It had nothing as a nation, and that is why it was generally said by the “enemy” it would not survive for more than six months.  For example there were no, as ordinary as,  paper pins in offices. Rose thorns from the lawn were used for the purpose. The country progressed due to honest people and hard work and soon it saw an industrial boom. The rapid growth was so marvellous that Koreans officially came to study its progress.

 That is another story how in December 1971 Pakistan lost its one part then called East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh). The “real” bad luck for Pakistan started when from January 1972 the world’s so far sole “Civil Martial Law” rule started. 

The first act by this rule was bifurcation of the people on the basis of “sons of the soil” and others. A quota system in appointments and employment on the basis of a “domicile of local residence” was introduced. 

Under this system, a “son of soil” holding a “domicile certificate” had preference in appointments. This certificate stood for a merit. Those who came from other parts of the country had secondary status and despite having merit were deprived. 

I was already in a job in 1972 but had heard the word “domicile”. Our relatives had never had this too as such a certificate was never needed.  The rule of getting a domicile hardened, as one applying for a domicile needed to submit the domiciles of his parents and grandparents to prove the applicant really was a son of soil. 

This discrimination started creating frustration and deprivation which created later national havoc. Readers of this must be aware of the political situation especially of Karachi for 40 years – strikes, killing, outflow of investment from there, linguistic fighting etc. 

All this is the gift of that domiciled quota system. This “son of the soil” system gifted the country, only two counters out of four working at a time, late arrivals and early departures from offices as no administrator had the courage to question a “son of soil”, appointment of even of criminals etc, resulting in finally hate among the people on the basis of language, tribe, etc. 

This “quota in employment” was later further divided into city and village areas. This deprived the new generation born in Pakistan of those who migrated in 1947 when India and Pakistan were separate states because their forefathers were not sons-of-soil in Pakistan and those were not born on the “soil”. The consequences of the irreversible collateral national damage due to this “son of the soil/domicile” lasted for generations. 

Today some Muharraq councillors don’t want Riffa residents appointed in Muharraq.  Tomorrow Riffa residents could introduce no admission in Bahrain University for residents of Manama and Muhaarq. 

Manama residents could introduce a levy on parking of cars in Manama owned by residents of Muharraq.  

Salmaniya Medical Complex may admit only sons of the soil namely Manama residents, showing the other way for residents of Hidd or Zallaq. God save and keep this island, as ever safe and a welfare state.

  J Muhammad           

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