ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Peoples Party veteran said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Senator Babar Awan – both also of the PPP – should be banned from entering Sindh because they engineered a ‘controversial’ political deal with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to revive the once-scrapped local government system.
“We don’t want them on the soil of Sindh again. They are behind the sell-out of the province,” said PPP’s Zafar Ali Shah in a speech delivered to the National Assembly here on Wednesday, as the house continued a debate on the law-and-order situation in Karachi and Balochistan.
Shah – who on Tuesday surprised all by staging a token walkout against the latest political arrangement in Sindh – is renowned for his sharp criticism of PPP’s leadership.
But on Wednesday there seemed to be more support than expected from within the ranks of PPP when he launched an outburst against Rehman and Awan and all those involved in what the senior politician called ‘ridiculous flip-flopping’ during the latest wave of violence across the city.
At least a dozen PPP members thumped desks and others shook heads in endorsement when he said that Sindhi people would never accept the new deal because it strengthens those wielding guns — a clandestine reference to MQM.
“Those controlling Sindh are cheats… they are not genuine people. The chief minister is helpless,” Shah said.
He accused the MQM of trying to capture the city and its bureaucracy through its violent associates known as sector in-charges.
The words from Shah came on the heels of similar sentiments expressed by several other PPP leaders after the provincial government revived the local government system earlier this week — first for Karachi and Hyderabad and then for the entire province.
The opposition to the PPP decision was not received solely from within the party ranks.
One of its allies, the Awami National Party (ANP), also jumped into the wrangling to pile up pressure on the government for what they called a midnight assault on democracy by the Sindh government.
The ANP expressed its opposition of the revival of the commissionary system with another walkout.
The party faced other issues before staging the walkout: Several members snubbed calls by one of the ANP leaders asking to carve a new Pukhtun province out of Balochistan and merging the country’s lawless tribal areas into Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa.
Advocate from Balochistan, Muhammad Usman, retaliated and said that ANP should not ‘poke its nose’ in the affairs of a province where Pukhtuns were represented by other groups as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.