Who’s afraid of Sherry Rehman?

By pushing people like Sherry to the wall, the party is only harming itself — it needs competent people like her.


Raza Rumi November 05, 2010

It has been rather disturbing to witness the way Sherry Rehman has been the latest target of the purists within the ruling PPP. For years, Sherry has represented the intellectual vigour within her party. From drafting of manifestoes to holding the important portfolios, she has been an articulate defender of the PPP and its government. Her decision to resign in the wake of the judges’ saga and media handling of the 2009 Lahore-Gujranwala Long March was a matter of democratic choice.

After her resignation, she did not defame her party leadership and continued to demonstrate her loyalty. She is now a victim of an unwise ban on PPP leaders and legislators preventing them from appearing on a particular television channel. Worse, she has been lumped with the other dissenters — Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi — whose politics is altogether different.

The Naheed-Safdar duo has acted like a wounded couple since the time Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and Asif Zardari took over the party. It is a separate matter that sections of the electronic media have been using them as the righteous voice of the PPP in complete disregard of the fact that Ms Khan is neither elected, nor does she hold an official post in the party. Such is the intellectual dishonesty here that Ms Bhutto’s decision of not awarding a women’s seat ticket to Naheed Khan has never been discussed. Similarly, Mr Abbasi who was one of the interlocutors in the NRO deal has overnight become the biggest critic of the ordinance.

On the other hand, Sherry Rehman has no covert agenda and does not allow herself to be used as a pawn in the usual game played by anti-democracy forces. If there was a ‘ban’ on appearing on any particular television channel, the PPP should have taken its leaders and cadres in confidence, instead of issuing a decree via press conferences.

A democratically-elected party, gagging its own senior leaders is worrying to say the least. The issuance of a show-cause notice was followed by a siege of Ms Rehman’s house in Karachi by a mob, while the police stood by and did nothing. Her ailing mother and daughter were in the house and remained hostage for hours.

Since then, the PPP leadership has neither explained nor apologised for the unruly behaviour of the mob that circled her house. Sherry Rehman has served the cause of her party far better than many of its powerful stalwarts of today. Above all, she is not just a politician as she mediates multiple identities: as a legislator, a civil society activist, head of a think-tank and a voice of reason and fine intellect.

By pushing people like her to the wall, the party is only harming itself — because the party needs competent people like her.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2010.

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COMMENTS (5)

Saba | 10 years ago | Reply No one is afraid of her since she represents nothing more than "Aunty Politics".
Ahmer Kureishi | 10 years ago | Reply Do really looking for an answer to that? Here goes: The same set of people who are afraid of Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi - although the reasons are probably not the same and the fear is an order of magnitude greater. By the way, you defeat your cause when you question the ban on Ms. Rehman while at the same time validating if for Naheed Khan and Sen. Safdar Abbasi. Too bad you couldn't build your argument based on democratic principles rather than Ms. Rehman's personal merits. The swipes you takes Ms. Khan and Sen. Abbasi are both low and lowly; you want to know about Shaheed BB's 'decision of not awarding a women’s seat ticket to Naheed Khan'? Take it from me: The slain leader considered Ms. Khan's services as her political secretary indispensable. As for Sen. Abbasi, you have been kind to note he was one of the interlocutors in the NRO deal. Why should that not make him a central party figure? You insult Ms. Khan and Sen. Abbasi by implying they can be played by the media as pawns. They are both seasoned politicians, not imbeciles or minors. What is more, being the seasoned journalist that you are, you should know that any game-play involving the media and politicians is invariably mutual.
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