HYDERABAD: Udhar tum, idhar hum [we rule here, you rule there], the momentous statement attributed to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during the times when Bangladesh was in the process of separating from Pakistan, was reiterated on Sunday during the public meeting of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) in Moro in Naushero Feroz district.
However, this time, the statement alluded to the alleged tacit agreement between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) for not troubling each other's governments in Sindh and Punjab respectively.
"The PPP has ended in Punjab and PML-N in Sindh due to the friendship between mian sahib [PML-N President Nawaz Sharif] and Asif Zardari [PPP co-chairperson]," asserted Pir Pagara Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, the Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F) president and spiritual leader of Hurr Jamaat, who is also heading the GDA.
"What kind of friendship is idhar hum, udhar tum? This is a trade," Pagara remarked. To support his claim, he gave the example of the recent by-election in Lodhran in Punjab where the PPP polled only around 3,000 votes.
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The PML-F president said the leaders of PML-N Sindh were often heard complaining about the friendship between the two leaders which had proved to be ruinous for their party in the province.
Pagara wondered how Zardari, who was badly defeated in an election on a provincial assembly constituency during General Ziaul Haq's regime, eventually became the country's president and was leading the PPP.
Reiterating the allegations that the 2013 general elections were rigged, the GDA head predicted that the alliance would win the next elections. In a blatant rigging move, the announcement of the election's results were delayed by two days in 2013, he said, adding that the GDA would not allow similar rigging in the coming elections.
Without explicitly naming the party, Pagara blamed the PML-N for subverting the institutions of the judiciary and army, which, according to him, had the credit for dispensing justice to the poor and restoring peace in Pakistan respectively.
"The situation in Pakistan as I see is going to change. These rulers won't continue for long," Pagara said.
Comparing the performance of the PML-N government in Punjab and PPP government in Sindh, the GDA head said Punjab had developed under the former, while Sindh had ruined under the latter. "This government [of PPP] has broken all records of corruption. Neither in the past, nor in the future will such corruption be seen again."
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Pagara argued that the PPP government had destroyed provincial departments and it would take many years to restore them. According to him, a good police officer was not allowed to continue on his post. He also lamented the condition of farmers in Sindh who, in his view, were being exploited by the provincial government.
GDA General Secretary Ayaz Latif Palijo, who also heads Qaumi Awami Tehreek, said the alliance would contest the coming elections from every constituency in the province. He asked farmers and nationalists to support the GDA. "The PPP has become an enemy of Sindh. In the name of Zufikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, they are plundering the people," Palijo remarked.
Palijo blamed General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Pervez Kayani for imposing the PPP and General Zia and General Pervez Musharraf for Muttahida Qaumi Movement on the country. "Zardari, Altaf Hussain, Rehman Malik, Dr Asim Hussain and Taliban are different sides of the same coin."
According to the GDA general secretary, Pakistan's economy was facing a slump due to the ongoing clash between the rulers and institutions. He advised Nawaz to scale down the conflict. "The National Accountability Bureau should answer why not a single provincial minister or adviser in Sindh has so far been convicted?" he questioned.
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Palijo claimed that the PPP would be wiped off if the elections were conducted by an impartial caretaker government and in a transparent manner by the Election Commission of Pakistan through the biometric voting system.
Federal Minister Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi said he felt ashamed by the state of bad governance in Sindh. "This mafia has pushed Sindh 50 years backwards," he said, claiming that 75% people in the province lived below the poverty line. He vowed that the GDA would reach out to every place in Sindh.
"We are bringing forward an alternative leadership," said Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, PML-F leader and Pagara's brother. "Until the people don't get an alternative, the politics of plunder will not end," he said, adding that the alliance had succeeded in bringing out a large number of people in its third public meeting.
Former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim said the people had decided that they could not tolerate the 'Zardari league' any further.
Former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza lambasted the PPP for supporting police officers like SSP Rao Anwar. Mirza alleged that SSP Anwar killed people for money. "He killed people for Zardari and he occupied their [slain persons'] land." He also claimed that he was facing death threats from the PPP.