In a surprise move, former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim apologised for events which unfolded four years ago on May 12, saying he had nothing to do with the bloodshed because, at that time, he wielded no real power as the province’s chief executive.
Arbab Rahim, who belongs to Thar and elected to the Sindh Assembly, has been living in Dubai since the PPP government came to power.
He is considered to be a vocal opponent of the PPP and was famed for his statements against PPP leaders, including Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.
He now belongs to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (Like-minded group) in Sindh Assembly and is the parliamentary leader of his party.
His party had won 11 seats in the 2008 general elections, but later three members of his party, Sanjeela Leghari, Ghulam Abid Khan Sundrani and Mir Ghalib Hussain Khan Domki, joined the PPP. Subsequently, four other PML-Q lawmakers in the provincial assembly, Shaharyar Mahar, Muhammad Ali Malkani, Shah Hussain Sherazi and Nuzhat Pathan, also joined treasury benches, leaving only four members in his group in the assembly.
Many a political observer were genuinely surprised by his ‘spontaneous’ apology, in which he correlated the recent spate of violence with the one which occurred on May 12.
“The same forces, who had blocked the roads and shot each other’s workers when Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was due in the city, are involved in the recent Karachi (killing) spree,” he said in a latter written to the media, adding that these elements had been exposed by the media and they “have no business pleading innocent”.
He wondered why not even a single worker of his party had been killed or injured, and said this showed that PML-Q workers were not out on the roads to create law and order situation.
He said if he had known about the ensuing violence, he would not have allowed any political activity that day. “I had no clue that some people would create a law and order situation on the pretext of political activity,” he said.
He went on to say that after the incident, he did not want to create “further anarchy by initiating an inquiry into the incident”, adding that this was the reason why he preferred to remain silent over the issue “just for the sake of peace in the city”. He said that being the chief executive of the province, office-bearers of the Sindh High Court were bound to consult him on every issue. Arbab Rahim said that instead of consulting with him, they used to have meetings with the governor.
“Although I was the chief minister, no one can hold me responsible for the May 12 incident because I was not part of the game. Therefore I tender apology to my God and especially to those who lost their loved ones on that day,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.