Zardari’s fool proof plan to end corruption (read: save himself) in Sindh

Published: July 26, 2015

Mr Zardari is wise, or at least wiser than most in his league, he knows he is not fooling anyone into withdrawing from their stance against PPP and Sindh government's corruption.

Recently, the Chief Minister of Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah, along with some of his cabinet members travelled all the way to Dubai to attend a meeting co-chaired by the co-chairman and chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), neither of whom, by the way, hold any office of authority in the government of Sindh or Pakistan, yet are ‘powerful’ enough to have the Sindh government come to them for directions.

What were these directions that could only be given in Dubai, only in person and not via a teleconference, letter or a phone call?

Well, first off, it is an established fact that Mr Asif Ali Zardari alone is heavier than all (aik Zardari sab pe bhari), so maybe it was cheaper and more convenient for the Sindh cabinet and CM to go to him, than he, the ‘heavy one’ coming to Sindh.

Also it was during Eid and, God forbid, if these ‘popular’ leaders were forced to spend Eid amongst the people they ‘love so dearly’. So it makes sense to have a dozen people travel to Dubai instead of two travelling to Sindh to decide Sindh affairs. Any criticism on this particular aspect of the meeting is thus unjustified.

As for the agenda of this meeting, recent actions by law enforcement agencies, Rangers to be precise, in Karachi have become a cause of concern for all stakeholders. The higher your stakes in Karachi, more the concern. Ever since the Rangers have hinted upon widening the scope of their operation to ‘economic terrorism’ and that even to parties other than Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), PPP has been a little edgy.

When Rangers started arresting government officers who were likely to spill the beans, PPP became defensive, then suddenly offensive and then again defensive. The bhari Zardari’s bhari outburst just before leaving the country, revealed how Rangers had touched a bhari nerve.

MQM was already a target and now PPP was a promised next. Corrupt elements within the PPP could have been exposed, tarnishing the party, its leaders, its leaders’ siblings, and their ‘adopted’ brothers. So when some powerful ‘others’ had taken notice of mammoth corruption in Sindh, the ruling party also decided that it is time to take notice of their own.

PPP decided to start taking measures against the flourishing culture of corruption in Sindh, or at least look like taking these measures. Anti-corruption and inspection teams were directed to become visible, government officials were asked to act like they were doing all they can against corrupt subordinates. Rumours were leaked of axing some ‘corrupt’ ministers from Shah ji’s cabinet.

This meeting was called to decide the fate of these ministers and their departments on the basis of ‘performance’. Basically, it was decided to make some changes and not change anything. No minister was axed, only departments were exchanged.

The portfolio of Ministry of Information has been taken from Mr Sharjeel Memon and given to Nisar Khuhro, whose portfolio of Education and literacy department has been given to Mr Mir Hazaar Khan Bijrani whose portfolio for Works and Services has been given to Sharjeel Memon. So if Memon had failed to manage the affairs of information and local governments department owing to corruption or incompetence, he will now be given an opportunity to fail at running Works and Services department.

The Works and Services department was previously suffering under Mr Bijrani, so he has now been given a shot at the Education department. The Education department suffered large scale corruption and mismanagement under Khuhro who will now be heading the Ministry of Information.

Similar changes have also been made in Sindh’s bureaucracy. The Sindh government also recently decided to take action against corrupt government officials, and give more authority to the anti-corruption establishment. The object of all these measures seems to create the perception of fighting the menace of corruption, instead of taking any real steps in that direction.

Mr Zardari is wise, or at least wiser than most in his league, he knows he is not fooling anyone into withdrawing from their stance against PPP and Sindh government’s corruption, or from their plans to act against it. But he also knows that he only needs to fool the masses into believing that PPP is sincerely working to eradicate corruption and clean Karachi. If and when actual steps are taken by Rangers or any other, PPP can play their ever green, ever effective ‘victim’ card.

zafar.zulqurnain.sahi

Zafar Zulqurnain Sahi

A Lawyer by profession. A Gold Medalist in LLB from Punjab University and has a LLM degree from University of Warwick, UK. He is also a former Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab (2008-2013). He tweets @ZafarSahi (twitter.com/ZafarSahi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mohammad Khan

    Mr. Ten Percent maybe a little bit worried about his own holdings but I doubt he has any property left in Pakistan, most of his percentage is already gone overseas. Now about the sindh CM, he may have some crores of rupees inside the country, but again have to doubt this.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely laid out…….what you have not said is what all know, that Zardari and the PPP-Z are corrupt to the core and incapable of change …….accountability through NAB is a joke……so the people are looking to the armed forces for action and they too have their failings but there is a hope that a serious clean up MAY happen. I say MAY because allowing them to leave the country and wallow in their looted wealth in Dubai and London etc with all their local properties intact does not inspire much confidence.Recommend

  • Emad Qazi

    In Pakistan the most effective card is the ethnicity card, MQM plays the mahajir card,ANP plays the pakhtun card, PMLN will plays the Punjabi card so we can probably expect PPP to play the Sindhi card because after all we are not Muslims or Pakistanis but we were all just ethnicities since we prioritize division of Muslims over unityRecommend

  • EAGLE STRIKE

    @Zafar A former Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab (Author). Wow now people like him will lend lessons to others. Isn’t it self righteousness. I think you should check billions of rupees plundering in Punjab also these days.Recommend

  • Bashir

    The wolf is taking care of the sheep. Pakistan ki qismat.Recommend

  • Sane

    Zardri, his aides and his government has one purpose only to rule……loot…..loot…..and loot. Almost all politicians (not leaders as none of among them is a leader) are same. They are least bother about the prosperity and safety for people of Pakistan. Even the required vision to rule a country is missing totally from this lot.Recommend

  • Dipak Mehta

    HA!!!HA!!!HA!!! The biggest corrupt of Pakistan wants others to not take bribe. Bribe is basic right of Bhutto family only.Recommend

  • AbdulBaqi1

    zardari is a clever man he will bribe his way out of this mess in no time.Recommend

  • Golnath Agarwal

    Surprise ! Surprise ! You stood up and sad it in black and white !
    That was gutsy. No sitting on the wall.Recommend

  • Sane

    Wolf has run after howling and became sheep himself.Recommend

  • lovely no ?

    Didn’t you know ? Zardari has a copywrite on corruption ! No one else can infringe his ‘entitlement’ !Recommend

  • Kickass
  • Sarfaraz Abbasi

    What Arbab Rahim failed to do with the Sindh (i-e destroy) along with MQM… PPP (led by Zardari and his corrupt and incompetent team) have done it all on their own.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz Abbasi

    Your forgot PTI

    PTI also uses Pakhtun and Punjabi cards (but inwardly). PTI leader has done nothing about the people of Balochistan or Sindh… like, Shaukat Khanum Hospital (like he’s done it in Lahore, and the news is another would-be hospital to-be built in Peshawar). PTI leader establishes the UK based university campuses in the Punjab and KPK, but not in the Sindh or Balochistan.

    (now don’t tell me that people of Sindh or Balochistan did not elect him; since he did all the above-mentioned endeavors long before coming to political arena)Recommend

  • Sarfaraz Abbasi

    He is Zardari not the Bhutto. The Bhuttos were born rich; they had the money even before Pakistan was born :-DRecommend