Mubarak Ali Baloch
The current predicament of Pakistan Peoples Party was foreseen after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Her demise brought forward her spouse to lead the party having huge sympathy factor by then. All dissipated in just in 8 years time in the face of ineffective delivery of services to masses. The latter saw to the insincere and lack luster governance mired in corrupt practices being responsible for their plight. Leadership behavior devoid of uprightness caused serious polarization within the party itself which paved way to electoral setback as seen from the result of recent elections. Rather unaccounted and unaudited behavior of Sindh cabinet worsened the situation causing mushrooming growth of serious deviations hither and thither at every tier of Pakistan Peoples Party and government. Situation reached such a pass where police proved total failure to bring a semblance of effective policing. Thanks to its politicization. Amid extreme lawlessness particularly in Karachi Rangers had to be empowered with policing power. Paramilitary force over a period of year performed very well as crime graph remarkably slid down. Rangers have actually been after every criminal including collaborators. The latter are either having direct affiliation with political entities or enjoying political strappings. To neutralize this nexus Rangers continued with its hunt. Sindh government formally dissented after apprehension of Dr. Asim Hussain; considered to be close to former president Asif Ali Zardari. The latter’s outburst he had made several months back purportedly against Establishment made matters worse for him. Thus province’s efforts to scuttle Rangers working or sending the force back are underway.
In the wake of this Central Government sprang into action while rejecting province’s summary granting Rangers limited policing authority issued its own summary empowering the paramilitary force under Anti-Terrorist Act. Situation goaded Chief Executive of province to travel to Federal Capital where he held meeting with Prime Minister to reach some amicable resolution to the issue. PM has detailed Interior Minister to sort out the issue. It is now Federal Interior Minister to go on a sojourn to Karachi and help defuse the situation. He is least heard for his flexible attitude. Hence it is believed that his travel to Karachi is unlikely to yield the desired result. Situation would keep on brewing amid Rangers war against crime. Had there been no nexus of criminals with political entities Rangers would never have directed its operation against the white collar lot.
Sindh government should refocus on governance issues. Honest and efficient bureaucracy should replace the existing lot purportedly placed to serve big-wigs’ wish. Party has already shrunken and now got restricted to Sindh only. Hue and cry apparently leading to a serious friction with the Establishment in weeks to come. This would be more damaging for the party as this time masses are hardly with it. If so determined to disallow Rangers with uncurtailed policing powers province has a case to seek relief from judiciary. The latter may help the obtaining situation by striking some balance. Sources believe that Sindh government is not willing to knock the door of judiciary hinting that province considers it a weak case to fight.
Sindh government’s obstructive tactics may compel Federal Government to go for some extreme action but short of imposing Governor’s Rule. In this case Federal Government does not have required majority in Upper House to get the edict rectified. Any active confrontation is likely to offer an opportunity to Sindh government to propagate its status of victimhood to generate public sympathies. Islamabad must not throw such opportunity in the lap of Sindh government. The bottom line is that the confrontational situation would not help the political mosaic in the country. Precarious situation would ultimately not be in the favor of Central Government as well. Pakistan Peoples Party leadership in subtle manner may awaken the Sindhi sub-nationalists in province against Central Government amid this ongoing row. This would stoke more instability in province. In the given environment sub-nationalists and separatists’ renewed voice would generate more complications. This is more true in the face of ongoing insurgency in Balochistan and unrest in some pockets in rest of the country. Prime Minister will have to manage the situation with political sanity and wisdom in order to maintain the small thriving democratic culture in country.