The PTI’s political ambitions in Sindh are no secret. The party ruling the Centre has, from time to time, been trying to make a case for change in the provincial government — being run by the PPP — citing the ‘sufferings’ of people at the hands of ‘corrupt’ and ‘inefficient’ rulers in the province. In December last year, there was a short burst of political activity for bringing a change at the helm in Sindh. Fawad Chaudhry, then information minister, had landed in Karachi in a bid to exploit a window of opportunity to topple the PPP government that opened up in the wake of a damning JIT report regarding the fake bank accounts case involving Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. During the various media talks in Karachi then, the minister had called it “a right of the people of Sindh to become part of the change that the three other provinces have seen”, predicting that the tenure of Zardari’s ‘monarchy’ in the province was coming to an end. The PTI government soon backtracked though, apparently due to a fierce reaction from the top PPP leadership.
A change in Sindh is now back on the PTI’s agenda — albeit with a change in strategy, devised by a 12-member Strategic Committee formed by the Prime Minister. The committee, headed by Federal Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem and having six members each from the PTI and the MQM-P, was tasked to suggest solutions to the pressing issues of Karachi like shortage of water, failed sewerage system, poor public transport and other problems. And the Strategic Committee head says that he plans to advise the PM to invoke Article 149, a constitutional clause, and take over the administrative control of Karachi for its uplift. The suggestion that the barrister plans to make has already provoked the ire of politicians, writers, intellectuals and civil society activists in Sindh — some of whom have gone as far as calling the proposal a conspiracy against Pakistan, and demanding the proposer’s resignation. All that indicates that the political temperature in Sindh is all set to rise in the coming days, with the people of Karachi continuing to suffer as always.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2019.
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