Winning Balochistan

For the PPP

 

Zardari delivered an aggressive speech on 27 March 2017, in which he stated that in the fifth year of this PML-N government he would do politics of agitation

 

Former President of Pakistan and co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari recently advised the party leadership to win back electables from across the country ahead of the next elections and advised his son and chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to work on the organisation of the party and back disgruntled jiyalas.

Currently, both Zardari and Bilawal are travelling to different parts of the country to kick start the election campaign. The recent visits of Bilawal and Zardari first to Lahore and on 7 Mayto Jaffarabad clearly indicates that PPP has finally launched an aggressive campaign and even started mobilising workers by completing the selection of office bearers from across the country.

Zardari delivered an aggressive speech on 27 March 2017, in which he stated that in the fifth year of this PML-N government he would do politics of agitation.

In his recent visit to Jaffarabad on Friday, Asif Ali Zardari criticised separatist elements in the province, saying the people of the province should engage with their “misguided” counterparts and help them see how they are hurting their own interests.

“Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan. Why do you let yourself get exploited like this?” he asked while addressing a rally in Jaffarabad.

“The entire world is accessible on a chip. It is all on the internet. Just click a button and see what conditions Muslims are living in in India”.

Do we want to live like that? Do we want to be punished by death for consuming beef? Do we want to also quit eating eggs? Zardari asked.

Zardari said the PPP wants to serve Balochistan, that the province is rich in minerals and resources, including granite, metals and methane gas.

“You have one of the most fertile lands in Pakistan. The only thing needed [to reap its benefits] is the right use of water,” he added.

“My government will help you use modern techniques to capitalise on the water resources you have,” the former president said, adding he wants to introduce the drip irrigation system in the province.

He claimed that with the drip irrigation system, the amount of water supplied to rice field, spread on an acre of land, would consume 300 gallons instead of 10,000 gallons.

“But my friends ask me: where will I get this water from? I tell them, I will get the water from Central Asia,” Zardari said, adding that Pakistan has other ways of accessing water if India does act on cutting the country’s water supply.

It seems Mr Zardari might be able to form next provincial government in Balochistan as he himself offered this proposal to like-minded progressive Sardars and Nawabs. My advice for Zardari would be to use PPP’s veteran Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hasni strategically to woo disgruntled independent and PML-N leaders in the province as he can play a decisive role in convincing those Sardars to join PPP or form coalition government in Balochistan.

Secondly, the way PPP lead government restored the belief of the people of Balochistan in democracy after coming to power in 2008 by announcing its Balochistan package, can also work to its advantage. The name given to the package was Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan (AHB) package; which was aimed at bringing down the sense of alienation, grief and deprivation and to provide privilege to the people of Balochistan with political, cultural and economic rights. The package had 61 policy actions and it was implemented rapidly. In that every individual especially the youth would have benefited, it would have lifted the living standards and this encouragement would have helped the people to grow out of the shells of ignorance and despondence.

The way the PPP lead government increased Balochistan’s share in national resources is true proof of functionality of the then reconciliation policy. This would have eradicated the sense of deprivation and grief and sustained the integrity and solidarity of the country if continued by the present government of Pakistan.

By giving love, importance and due share to the people of Balochistan like in the past, PPP can form the next government there without a shred of doubt because apparently the present government of Balochistan is more loyal to Takht-e-Rawind than the masses of the province.

 

Hassan Naqvi

The writer is a Lahore-based journalist who covers politics, economy and militancy. He can be reached on Twitter at: @Hassannaqvi5



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