While Zulfiqar Mirza had his share of fans prior to his angry outburst on Sunday, his allegations against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and criticism of Interior Minister Rehman Malik has led people to term him a ‘hero’.
Rallies have been held throughout the province in support of the former senior vice president of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Sindh, and PPP workers showered rose petals at his houses in Badin and Defence, Karachi. Many awaited Mirza’s arrival with garlands in tow. Messages supporting Mirza have gone viral on social networking websites and are being shared via SMS. “I think Mirza sahib is gaining more popularity in Sindh than our chairman Bilawal Bhutto and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. We have hoped to see a daring leader of this kind in our party,” said a PPP district president, who travelled to Karachi to meet Mirza.
Mirza’s resignation from four different positions has inspired party office bearers in different districts, who have started resigning from their positions in solidarity with the former Sindh home minister.
While Mirza’s resignation from senior vice-president of the party was accepted soon after his press conference, no decision has been made regarding his portfolio and provincial assembly seat. The party accepted his resignation within minutes, leaving the impression that the party leadership had been consulted beforehand.
PPP sources said that the decision regarding Mirza’s provincial assembly seat and ministry would be made at a meeting called by President Asif Ali Zardari which will assess the situation in the party in the wake of Mirza’s press conference.
“I do not know about Mirza’s resignation from assembly. It will be better if you ask the speaker about its progress. The thing I know is that his resignation has not been accepted as yet,” said Hadi Bux Buriro, the Sindh Assembly secretary.
“Mirza has played a very good card which aims at killing two birds with one stone,” said a senior PPP leader. “All of this has been done to save the party from losing credibility in Sindh,” he added.
The government’s decision to roll back the commissionerate system led to severe criticism of the PPP in Sindh, according to the party’s local leadership. But Mirza’s tirade may help restore its standing. “Mirza be tasked to organise the party, independent groups and the business community in Karachi and Hyderabad, because the MQM does not appear willing to rejoin the government. The PPP has played a good card to defame it through the enraged Mirza,” sources said.
PPP leaders remained tight-lipped. “It is Mirza’s personal viewpoint. I cannot comment on it,” said Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon. A party leader said that “We are closely monitoring the situation; give us three to four days before giving you authentic information about Mirza’s story.” Party sources said that Mirza’s press conference was not a spur of the moment decision but was pre-planned and he had cashed in on the resentment against Sunday’s Lyari operation. However, people have also started criticising Mirza for solely targeting the MQM and not the defunct Peoples Amn Committee, which has been blamed by rivals for extorting money from the business community and target killings. Mirza said the allegations were a conspiracy to defame the PPP.
There are also indications that decisions to change the present set-up of the Sindh government will be made soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.
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