September 20, 2017
Imran Khan’s Speech in Hyderabad Sindh was Impressive
By Saeed Qureshi
Imran Khan the mercurial yet inimitable chairman of the political party “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf” (PTI) is emerging as front-line confident leader as borne out by his speech in Hyderabad city of the Sindh province. The public meeting was certainly huge despite being far from his home turf in Punjab or in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province. It demonstrates that the PTI could be gaining ground in Sindh which primarily has been, a political haven for the PPP and MQM all these years.
In his speech, Imran Khan stated that one of the PTI’s political opponent Mian Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified and had to leave the slot of the prime minister because of PTI pursuit of corruption case against him in courts. He announced that PTI was going to do the same about Zardari; the co-chairperson of the PPP. By directly addressing Zardari He thundered that, ““After Nawaz we are coming after you” who in his reckoning was the “biggest problem of Sindh”. It is quite candid that Imran is also going to launch an anti- Zardari campaign both politically and through the judicial and legal channels.
Imran Khan pledged to lay the foundations of a good and corruption-free leadership and governance. H talked of taking measures and induct reforms that could benefit the downtrodden and poor sections of the society. He pledged to bring a genuine justice system, a universal educational and healthcare system.
He spoke on issues with eloquence and emphasis that is the hallmark of a politician aiming at capturing power through the peoples’ mandate. Besides he promised equal opportunities for jobs and advancement in life to the poor, deprived and lower sections of society. He promised to empower the neglected and impoverished people and abolish the over-lordship of the rich and privileged classes. All this speaks for a social revolution that is what happened in societies sunk in similar degrading conditions as Pakistan presently is.
Bu what one would appreciate and indeed marvel that he launched a frontal attack on Asif Ali Zardari a political maverick and the co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party. Simultaneously aiming at Bilawal Zardari Bhutto the incumbent chairman of the PPP, Imran Khan denounced him by observing that Bilawal Zardari Bhutto was occupying a position which neither did he earn through hard work nor deserves to hold that.
It is quite clear that the political arena in Pakistan is now assailed by three parties namely the PMLN headed by Kulsum Nawaz but in effect by Nawaz Sharif, the PPP headed by the Bilawal and shared by his father.
The political clout and standing of the PMNL in Sindh is not as robust as that of the PPP whose founder and most of the political rank and file hail from that province. Sindh province, politically belongs either to Muhajir Qaumi Movement(MQM) mostly confined to Karachi city and Hyderabad or to the PPP. The PPP has been leading other political parties in elections in Sindh as it enjoys support and sympathy of the most of the Sindhi speaking population. Although over a period of time, there have been dents in the citadel of PPP but still this party somehow remains as the leading political force of that province.
But the reputation of Asif Ali Zardari is not edifying due to his image of being a thoroughly corrupt person who allegedly enhanced his wealth astronomically by devious means and is maintaining huge accounts and properties abroad. Its amazing that with a besmirched reputation of being incorrigibly corrupt person he had been the president of Pakistan (Sept 2008-Sept 2013) which is the highest position in any country. That aspect demonstrated his political acumen. After the murder of his spouse Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi city in December 2007, he had been the Co-chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party until December 2015. When General Pervez Musharraf had to relinquish power, it was Nawaz Sharif who assailed into the prime ministerial office with the cooperation and collaboration of PPP with Mr. Zardari as its chairperson. As such, both Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, despite their ill reputation and avarice for wealth accumulation through right or wrong means deserve the appreciation for taking Pakistan back to the democratic tracks.
While Mr. Zardari has been recently cleansed and acquitted of all the corruption charges by the courts, the stigma is not going to be washed off as far the people of Pakistan are concerned. It is with that dimension in view that Imran Khan tends to revive the corruption scandals and saga of Mr. Zardari and simultaneously offering a better and clean leadership under PTI.
Zardari escaping all the previous hurdles by hook or crook may also be contemplating how to manage and deal with this latest challenge that could prove to be a Waterloo for his reputation and even take him to the jail once again if the charges of corruption are proven in the courts.
It is therefore, going to be a three-dimensional political battle that might not go this time in favor of Zardari. As far the PPP leadership is concerned some of them don’t enjoy good reputation because of gross and uninhibited corruption including two former PPP prime ministers: one being Pervez Ashraf and the other Yousaf Raza Gillani.
If by any stretch of imagination, PTI cannot win majority votes in Sindh because there are well-entrenched heavyweight political contenders one of which is the MQM. But it would certainly emerge as a strong force in the political landscape of Sindh. It is true that people of Sindh are divided politically between PPP and MQM with JI on the sidelines. Yet the possibility of PTI emerging as the third political force in Sindh, an uncharted political landscape, cannot be ruled out. I plead this aspect because of a huge crowd in attendance at the PTI’s recent public meeting at Hyderabad city.
Let PTI, for a change, take up the reins of the governance both in provinces as well as the center. One good outcome of such a development could be the possibility of the formation of a neat and accountable government. That PTI dispensation might succeed in curbing or eliminating the curse of corruption as well as lay the foundation of an accountable and clean political culture in Pakistan.
It is yet to be seem that in that rather improbable scenario how the notorious political and non-political thugs neck deep in corruption would be dealt or react. It’s a scenario that only future holds and it may take a pretty tough and prolonged political battling and campaigning by the PTI leadership to unfold. Let us wait and watch what appears on the political horizon of Pakistan.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com