By Usman Khan
The Pakistan Peoples’ Party is ruling Sindh since 2008. It has continuously enjoyed the power for ten years now but did not serve to the province in these years. It has literally wasted the precious ten years in corruption, bad governance and worst performance, that’s why the huge cry has emerged at public level both at urban and rural areas.
Although they (PPP) claim that they have done unprecedented work in last decade,which can be presented as an example for other provincial governments, however reality is different than their claims because both urban and rural of the Sindh province are suffering from their continuous bad governance. The infrastructure has gone down, education ratio has declined due to drop out despite of unprecedented investment in the sector. Health sector has depleted despite of tall claims. Roads, Civic amenities have reached to lower level. The quality of life has declined gradually and entered in minus zone.The people of Sindh have been voting for PPP in General Elections but masses have only received disappointment in return, despite an annual development budget of $2 billion, Sindh has remain unchanged. Although some of Sindh’s roads have improved however poverty, unemployment and a poor literacy rate continue to reflect the poor performance of the PPP.
Attempts to showcase the positive changes that have taken place at a few hospitals in the province over the last 10 years have done little to change perceptions. The general discontent among the educated classes is deep. Social media presents many stories that depict injustice, corruption and foul play. Above all, people can see the growing inequalities within their respective constituencies.Generally the bad governance and continuous poor performance have made life miserable for the residents of Sindh Province, that’s why a new debate has emerged at different level about the change or option to replace the old and stagnant PPP through political or electoral process.Currently other than PPP in Sindh, Awami Tehreek, led by Rasool Bux Palijo, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), led by late Bashir Qureshi’s son, Sanan Qureshi – and the Abdul Khaliq Junejo leading Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) are active in the masses but they do not have routes masses or in power corridors to acquire power. Perhaps they do not have resources to compete with very rich and resourceful PPP and its feudal Club, led by Mr. Zardari.
The above mentioned parties largely comprise the downtrodden lower classes and only five percent of members belong to the middle class. Sindh’s urban middle class maintains a distance from politics. It is mostly the landed aristocracy – pirs, tribal chieftains and neo-rich feudals – who engage in politics.Intellectuals have blamed society’s inability to form a third force – an alternative to the forces of the status quo – to bring about a political change in Sindh and confront the ruling PPP and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Analysts believe that there is a political vacuum in Sindh that only a third force can fill. The PTI was once welcomed as a third force in Sindh. But after the same old faces were seen in the party’s rank and file, the party lost that its popular appeal. Over time, the PTI has become another party with status-quo politicians.Every citizen talks about change and cultivating an alternative to the status quo. But we do not see many people bringing the change that they wanted to see in society. The only exception is Ali Qazi, a senior journalist, who turned politician has been doing his homework and analyzing the dynamics of electoral politics. Qazi recently announced the creation of the Tabdeeli Pasand Party (TPP) during a large public gathering in Hyderabad and plans to contest elections. With the exception of bonded labour activist Veeru Kohli, no other known politicians or civil society activist was seen with him at his rally, which was attended by around 20,000 people.The Tabdeeli Pasand Party comes across as a non-mainstream third force in the politics of Sindh. It operates on an agenda to ensure social justice; good governance; and the provision of clean water, health and education. Ali Qazi is a pioneer of modern Sindhi print and electronic journalism.
Through his columns, Ali Qazi has been drawing attention to the need for change in Sindh since the decade of 1990s. He is vehemently against what he calls the ‘bhotar’ class’ (feudal hold over politics). Ali Qazi is among the first Sindhi politician who hails from the urban professional class.
In the past, Ali Qazi united the people of Sindh by encouraging them to celebrate Sindh’s Cultural Day. He does not rely on ideology-driven, worker-based parties. Qazi’s focusing to bring change through the votes.
Chances of the success of the third force depends on many factors, including whether nationalist activists will respond to Qazi’s call. Will he be able to turn their anger and frustration into hope and victory? At this stage, Qazi and his party view victory in their own distinct way and some civil society members have exercised caution about supporting him.
There is bound to be a tri-party competition.
Meanwhile, the PPP has not only solidified its own position but has also emerged as a common enemy for opponents and forged a sense of unity among them. If we are to view the outcome of the upcoming elections on the basis of the alignment of traditional electable, the PPP seems to be winning.It is unclear whether Ali Qazi will be able to establish himself as a third force or the GDA will give a tough time to the PPP. But one thing is clear: like KP and Punjab, Sindh is going to see a political competition during the polls. The stakes are high in politics and are attached to power, status and money.
Generally people of Sindh believe that the change is now inevitable for them. They are tired with feudal mindset and desperately looking for someone either from lower middle or poor class to emerge and replace not only the feudalistic party but a feudalistic mind set too, which has been major cause of various evils in Sindhi society.
Emergence of enthusiastic Qazi Ali on political scene of Sindh should be welcomed and supported not only to create a political threat for traditional rulers but for the political process of Sindh.