Sindh is not a card, Sindh is a cause, says Marvi Memon

Published: March 15, 2012
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PML-N Leader Marvi Memon and Karachi Youth Wing leader Asif Khan lead PML-N youth wing rally in Karachi on Monday. PHOTO: COURTESY PML-N

PML-N Leader Marvi Memon and Karachi Youth Wing leader Asif Khan lead PML-N youth wing rally in Karachi on Monday. PHOTO: COURTESY PML-N

KARACHI: 

Marvi Memon counts the days she has been working in Sindh on her fingers. In 10 days, she has been everywhere – from the Jinnah International Airport where she was greeted by scores of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters to the Sindh High Court for Rinkle Kumari/Faryal Shah’s court appearance – and the confident, assured politician looks set to continue her commitment “to her people”.

Memon’s brand of political activism – supporting causes as diverse as the cases of the families of the victims who died in the AirBlue flight crash to female health workers asking to be given permanent jobs – has earned her kudos in Sindh where people will, without prompting, praise Memon for having taken up their issues. Memon updates her Twitter account with her day’s activities, responds to queries and is constantly on the move. Since she’s joined the PML-N, she has done short tours of Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and is off on a whirlwind tour of Sindh soon.

Early this month, Memon finally announced that she was joining the PML-N.

Life with the PML-N appears to suit Marvi Memon.

“For the first time, I feel like I’m a part of a political party,” she stresses. “The PML-N is working on grassroots issues, has a structure… and is a national party.”

She smiles when she recalls her meeting with PML-N head Nawaz Sharif, saying he only spoke of her about policies and has offered her a platform to raise the issues she has always cared about.

While PML-N was once fairly prominent in Sindh, it has lost its allure over the years. Can Memon change that? She dispels the notion that she will only be working on provincial issues. But her party’s priorities are straightforward.

“There will be absolutely no compromise on the resources of any province, including Sindh, and they will be justly distributed,” Memon told The Express Tribune. “Sindh is sitting in an Intensive Care Unit, gasping for good governance,” she says, citing the lack of basic amenities and the gap between what Sindh deserves and it gets.  “Sindh’s institutions have gone pre-Moenjodaro and have to be brought back into the 21st century.”

While talking to The Express Tribune, she said that Sindh was not a jageer of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Sindh’s cities are not going to be hostage to fascist parties.

Memon sees the rural-urban divide in Sindh as an outcome of what the two “status quo parties” in Sindh – the MQM and the PPP – have done. “It is unacceptable that the students of Sindh do not have access to education. The inequalities are because of these two parties.”

Additionally, she says the PML-N has categorically assured the people of Sindh that it will not allow province’s borders to be changed, but will support the creation of provinces  elsewhere in Pakistan if there is a need. Her other priorities in Sindh include issues such as the language bill, the state of law and order seen by the rise in kidnappings as well as discrimination against women.

The obvious reference to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) raises the question – will the PML-N work with the MQM again like it has in the past? “We will work with all political forces. But the PML-N will not compromise and be cowed down by threats.”

At the press conference to announce she was joining the party, Memon raised a rather interesting point – that the PML-N had realised the dangers of ‘establishment politics’. “They’ve learnt from their mistakes. They have already matured.”

Memon is no stranger to the label of the ‘establishment’. A former MNA from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) – largely dubbed the ‘King’s Party’ – Memon shed the label when she resigned from the party and her National Assembly seat last June when the PML-Q joined the coalition government.

But even with the acrimony that exists between the PML-N and the PML-Q, itself a breakaway group of the PML-N, Memon says none of that has come up. “There have been no taunts. I have never been reminded of the PML-Q,” she says. “Big leaders have big hearts.”

After she left the PML-Q, Memon actively campaigned in Sindh with Ali Kazi, the head of KTN, for a ‘movement of change’ and addressed a rally in Bhitshah in January. She says it was a learning experience that led to her joining the PML-N. “A movement can’t challenge the status quo forces. The people of Sindh deserve more than promises.”

“I’ve been accused of shifting loyalties. I gave up an MNA seat to go to a party that is not ‘glitter gold’ and is not in the [federal] government. So how have I compromised?”

While Memon represents a brand of young, active politicians who have connected to voters traditionally ignored by most political parties, the PML-N’s stance on sectarianism and minorities remains a question mark for the party she has just joined.

Memon says PML-N is “committed to protecting minorities and sects,” and that has come through in their support for her work in the past ten days. She defended the party’s stance on sectarianism – “we have a clear cut policy on sectarianism. Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is an example – the PML-N in GB has a solution to sectarianism, that religious forces are encouraged to play a role in maintaining peace.” Additionally, she points to the PML-N’s commitment to Hazaras in protecting them from being persecuted in Balochistan.

Memon believes that the next election will be key for “young and women voters.”

“It helps to be a young woman in politics in 2012.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • sarmad soomro
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:53PM

    When will our people start to think of themselves as pakistanis first? why do people still insist on on being identified by their ethnicity first?

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  • yousuf khan
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:57PM

    It is this mentality that is the reason behind the harsh and overly aggressive response to the demands for a Muhajir province in Sindh.We saw the violent response in sindh to the calls for a muhajir sooba but there was no outrage,no anger displayed by punjabis when the ppp called for dividing their province.Why so much difference?

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  • sa
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:22PM

    good luck to her and PML N

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  • Mar 15, 2012 - 1:26PM

    Once again a female politician sticks out her neck!

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

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  • Slamna Orangiwala
    Mar 15, 2012 - 3:46PM

    “It is unacceptable that the students of Sindh do not have access to education. The inequalities are because of these two parties.”

    lolzzzzzz……………..she was a student from Sindh and is an Alumni of ( most proabaly) Yale or Harvard or to one of these Ivy leagues .

    The lady was all praise of PTI a few months back , now running league with Nawaz.Oh politics !!!!

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  • Hoshu
    Mar 15, 2012 - 10:24PM

    @yousuf khan…the people seeking new provinces in Punjab are natives of the land, not immigrants like the mohajirs of Sindh…that’s why they have the right to their own province…you think if you move to England, you can say now give me my own province? instead of seeking a muhajir province, they should assimilate and speak Sindhi and live as brothers, like all immigrants to Sindh have done for thousands of years, if not, then go back to where you came from

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  • Yuzarzif
    Mar 15, 2012 - 11:08PM

    Marvi Memon Zindabad! Sindh is a Cause – very well said!

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  • Maulana tharra
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:35AM

    Of course it was “Sindh Cause” that she supported Mush, Altaf “bhai” and the brightest bulb of all, Arbab Rahim!Recommend

  • Dr. Akram
    Mar 18, 2012 - 7:29AM

    I wish Marvi had joined PPP, just like Fawad. She would have blended very well, like Fawad, being champion of deception and lies. She is disgrace to word democracy for which workers of N struggled for 9 years

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  • Anon
    Mar 21, 2012 - 2:12PM

    @Yousaf Khan: Still you won’t believe that Punjabi’s are educated, moderate and peace loving people compared to uneducated, violent, overly ethnic nationalist Sindhis?

    @ Hoshu: Majority of the people in South Punjab are not native of the land. They are the descendants of Baloch’s who migrated to Punjab and Arabs and Persians. In a way, their case is the same as Urdu-speaking minority.

    I believe if division of provinces is so important, then why divide just Punjab into various units? The upper part (Pashtun dominated) of Baluchistan should be separated and included in KPK, KPK should be divided into Hazara, Pashtun, Swat, Seraiki, Kohistani and Sindh should be divided into Sindh, Karachi and Seraiki regions.

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  • tahir hussain memon
    Apr 7, 2012 - 9:00PM

    hi marvi memon sahiba how r u u r my favrat politician i like ur speeches and ur discussion i invite u any time if u come to dadu plz visit our bar room at district and session court building dadu.
    thanks. tahir hussain memon advocate dadu

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