If the complaints against Faisal Raza Abidi are to be believed, his downfall will be as disgraceful as was meteoric rise in the ranks of the Pakistan Peoples Party. The president of its Karachi division resigned on Tuesday, ending his second tenure at the post.
In his resignation, Abidi cited his health as a factor, saying that doctors had advised bed rest for liver cirrhosis. “The party’s leadership knows my potential, which is why I was given the responsibility of the Karachi division for a second time,” he told The Express Tribune. “But due to my poor heath I cannot perform my job properly. No one has asked me to tender my resignation. It was a personal decision.” He said he would continue as a worker and senator of the party.
Indeed, his work in Karachi in 2008 had brought him to the president’s notice and he was nominated for the Senate in 2009. He was reappointed head of the party’s Karachi division in November 2011 with the task of gearing the party up for the elections.
But it seems he could not meet the goal. “He has not resigned, but had failed to deliver,” commented Najmi Alam, who had held the same post as PPP Karachi division president. “The president had given him the task of organising the party, but he did not prove [he could do it].” Abidi has been replaced by an MNA from a prominent Kutchi family, Qadir Patel. This move is seen as a major overture towards winning hearts and minds in the hurting Lyari neighbourhood. Its residents whose sympathies lay with the PPP had complained that Abidi had not bothered about them one whit. The key constituency has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, including backlash for a crackdown on criminals that scandalised PPP voters as the party’s Sindh government was behind the decision. One of Abidi’s jobs had been to soothe these wounds.
“I cannot defend criminals with guns,” he told The Express Tribune. “I do not care about whatever allegations they are levelling against me.”
Sources in the party told The Express Tribune that Abidi had ostensibly developed differences with the PPP’s important Sindh council members.
“When a committee formed by President Zardari to console the Lyari people reached the area, their prime demand was for Faisal Raza Abidi to be removed,” one senior PPP leader told this newspaper. “They said that even though they made many attempts to reach him, he never responded.”
It certainly didn’t help that Abidi never once called a single Karachi division meeting since he was appointed. A PPP member explained that as the president of the Karachi division, Abidi should have worked “24 hours”. Usually the president of the Karachi division holds monthly meetings and is expected to mobilise people with rallies and seminars. The person who holds this post is key in nominating candidates in the city for elections. But everyone wondered about his ability to do his duty when he seemed to avoid going to even PPP-dominated areas to condole the deaths of party workers. In this situation how can we organise the party in Karachi [ahead of the elections] the party members said. Abidi won no friends when he took unilateral decisions on party matters.
As the grumbling grew thicker, the president started avoiding inviting Abidi to meetings. Others followed suit. For example, when the chief minister, who runs the PPP in Sindh, reshuffled its district south unit in Karachi, Abidi was not consulted. Qaim Ali Shah took the decision made on directives from Asif Ali Zardari, who is the party’s co-chairman. Privately, Abidi griped to senior party officials about the drastic changes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.
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