Woes of the PPP’s legacy

And what is to follow

In PPP’s case, what needs to be deciphered is the party’s growing political isolation and in this regard the available ideological wherewithal which the party’s continues to use to ensure its relevance in the country’s politics

 

The Pakistan People Party (PPP)’s leadership has again raised questions about the party’s alleged systematic isolation in the country. This time around the party is putting up a show of protest due to the recent abductions Asif Ali Azrdari’s close aides. A few days ago, the party’s senators walked out of the Senate due to the government’s inability to address their concerns about the abductions of the party workers.

The reason behind the PPP’s predictable attitude of going into protest mode to remind everyone of the party’s victimisation deals with the fact that besides such hollow slogans which the new leadership continues to cling to, there is nothing left to secure the party’s future. While it’s unfortunate to see PPP collapsing on its own weight, the party’s leadership cannot expect to bypass all measures of accountability by citing victimhood and isolation any longer.

In PPP’s case, what needs to be deciphered is the party’s growing political isolation and in this regard the available ideological wherewithal which the party’s continues to use to ensure its relevance in the country’s politics. While there is no denying what the party’s previous leaderships have done for the country, the current leadership’s adherence to the PPP’s sacrifices to rally around its traditional vote bank cannot be used as an excuse to hide its governance failures which reflect in the form of massive corruption and incompetent administration in Sindh.

As a result of corruption and mismanagement, the party’s isolation has deepened in the last few years. Rural Sindh is the only region where the party’s traditional vote bank remains intact and that too due to the province’s landed elite’s influence on the working class which remains dependent on the former.

Despite the prevailing governance problems across Pakistan, Sindh is the only province that is bent upon moving backwards in terms of introducing better policies to ensure effective administrative management. In Punjab, the provincial government is seemingly taking the lead when it comes to governance and infrastructure, social sector, education, healthcare and other reforms. In KPK, despite Imran Khan’s continued protest drive against the Nawaz family regarding corruption, the province has seemingly done well in the last four years with the PTI government introducing some radical reforms in sectors such as bureaucracy, police and education. Baluchistan which has traditionally remained behind all provinces in terms of development is quickly becoming the highlight of Pakistan’s potential economic success. The development which is taking place in Baluchistan through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), places the province at the top of Pakistan’s economic success in the next one decade.

Sindh on the other hand is the only province which continues to face the burden of an outdated political legacy. Underdevelopment and backwardness define the province’s fate even after the PPP has ruled the province of Sindh for more than two decades.

In Sindh, the nepotism of the PPP resembles a regime. The perceived corruption and authoritarianism of Zardari to retain uncontested control of the party has turned the PPP into a business where loyalists of the leadership – irrespective or their credibility or expertise – are awarded and ideological and committed workers are largely sidelined.

A few weeks ago, the Inspector General of Sindh police was removed by the PPP’s leadership for not toeing the party’s line which demanded unfair transfers and also questioned number of tech based interventions led by the IG to improve the performance of the province’s police. Besides, the PPP’s current leadership had its fair share in the lawlessness of Karachi: the recent confession of Uzair Baloch that his mafia cell used to take orders from the province’s political elite has only confirmed his ties with PPP’s leadership. Baloch, who has been sent to a military court for trial, confessed before a Magistrate that “On directives of Senator Yousuf Baloch, I met Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Faryal Talpur and “on directives of Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur my head money and several cases were withdrawn.” Uzair also revealed that he “executed a number of ‘jobs’ for senior PPP leaders and police officers.”

It’s predictable that the party is going to cling with its provincial government to defend itself against any measures associated with the crimes which the party’s leadership has been committing in Karachi and the province at large. In this regard, the only weapon which the PPP is left with is the constitutional cover in the form of its provincial government in Sindh that it remains dependent on to offer legitimacy to its crimes and corrupt political practices.

In Sindh, the nepotism of the PPP resembles a regime. The perceived corruption and authoritarianism of Zardari to retain uncontested control of the party has turned the PPP into a business

Zardari’s image of a deal maker has had its round, for he cannot continue to use the legacy of the Bhutto family or the party’s obsolete ideology based on victimhood to make political deals at the expense of people’s interests and lives.

 

Umair Jamal

Umair Jamal is a graduate of the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University. He is a research fellow with the Centre for Governance and Policy. He regularly writes for various media outlets. He can be contacted on Twitter: @UJAmaLs.



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