I am a Sindhi and I have no sympathy for PPP anymore

Published: September 2, 2015

I’m one of the thousands of Sindhis who feel no sympathy for PPP anymore and do not have the same allegiance towards the party as my forefathers did.

Thar’s veteran politician, Rana Chandra Singh, once commented on the size of Umerkot’s Lanba ground in Dhatki,

“Lanba ground Kachhi menhan Bhari ya Bhutto re Dikri.”

(Either the southern rain has the power to fill the Lanba ground, or the daughter of Bhutto.)

Those were the days when Sindhis, both Muslims and Hindus, chose to name their children after the famous Bhuttos. There are many Zulfikars, Bhuttos and Benazirs in Sindh and people once took pride in such names. Similarly, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, many who had named their children Ziaul Haq, changed their children’s names immediately. Now, you will rarely come across a person named Zia in Sindh.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) represented the people; PPP represented the icon that was Bhutto. They, in fact, were correlated. But now the Bhuttos are gone, and the ardent following has disappeared as well.

For years, Sindhis have shown reverence and unconditional support to PPP because of the Bhutto scion. But now that era of sympathy seems to have come to an end, since its current leadership has failed to live up to their expectations. The people of Sindh have had enough of disorder, lawlessness, nepotism and, of course, corruption prevalent in the province.

I’m one of the thousands of Sindhis who feel no sympathy for PPP anymore and do not have the same allegiance towards the party as my forefathers did, and hence today, I’m one of its biggest critics.

I am often questioned whether I still support democracy, and if I do, then how can I criticise PPP? Most times, people strangely equate opposing PPP to harming democracy, which subsequently means one supports dictatorship. I am told that bad democracy is better than a good dictatorship and hence I should support PPP.

At times, it even makes me wonder whether I am anti-democratic. But a big ‘no’ echoes back. Thus it leads to a series of other questions – why don’t we feel sympathy for a party we loved so dearly once upon a time? Why do I feel this innate satisfaction when a noose is tightened around the neck of its moguls? Why do we cheer when authorities such the Rangers, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) make arrests in Sindh and conduct a raid on government offices?

I don’t remember a single Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) when the people stood with PPP during Zia’s toughest era. But I do remember Pervez Musharraf’s time and how people abhorred him as much as they loved PPP.

Do they feel love towards Benazir Bhutto because they are indebted to this selfless woman who had lost her father and two brothers in the struggle for democracy?

But the question is, was there even a struggle for democracy?

A series of reasons follow my questions.

1. Seven years of sheer incompetence

Who would have thought the ‘emblem of federation (PPP)’ would be swept away from the country in just a span of seven years?

PPP was brushed aside in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in the 2013 General Elections. Subsequently, in the Cantonment Board Elections, PPP only secured seven seats across the country, and hence, the nation’s biggest and oldest party was shot down to the fourth ranking simply because of its incompetence.

If this was not enough to prove the fact that PPP was standing on a slippery ground, PPP’s leaders continued to harp on about reaching the stars. Recently, in Azad Kashmir, where PPP is a ruling party, it seized six of the eight reserved seats.

Asif Ali Zardari continues to remind us time and again of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), but if this trump card of theirs was sufficient to win over the hearts of the public, it would have translated into winning the elections. But the fact of the matter is that it could not. It was Zia’s mission to finish PPP, but he could not achieve what he aimed to do. Although keeping PPP’s current leadership in mind, I feel Zia’s dream has come true.

Over these seven years, the law and order situation has deteriorated. This can be highlighted by the fact that both the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and the Federal Minister for Minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti were killed during PPP’s tenure. What’s more tragic is that the party could not hold a protest demonstration, let alone arrest the murderers.

Similarly, Karachi remained a battlefield for criminals, murderers, mafias, and political parties until the Rangers swung in to action. A report shows that out of the 1,180 killings in Sindh last year, at least 96.18% occurred in Karachi alone.

Forced marriages are still a common practice in Sindh, so are forced conversions. Women are killed under the pretext of honour and are given in Vani.

Every city of Sindh seems like a trash can and a pond of drainage. There is not a single city in the province that any PPP leader could present as an example of a new, revitalised Sindh.

Moreover, the first and foremost promise the Zardari government made was to arrest the murderers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. However, that remains to be a forgotten promise. If a party that could not even gain justice for its founders, how can you expect it to do justice to its people?

2. Incompetent leadership

The Bhuttos fought for the rights of the people and the democracy of this nation which manifested in striking the right chord with the people.

On the other hand, Bhutto’s son-in-law, Zardari tried to save his power by striking for mufahimat (reconciliation). In all these years, what he could have excelled at was reconciliation, regardless of what price his party paid for it. But evidently, he couldn’t be least bothered about it.

The country’s largest party which is confined within one province is struggling to save itself in its own home town.

After six years of being in power, in September 2014, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto realised that his party had committed mistakes in the past and apologised for these blunders. Bilawal requested the workers to not leave the party and assured them of their commitment by winning back the trust of the people. But his leadership style proved him spineless, since not the slightest change has taken place. Many senior leaders have been side-lined in the party and many were forced to leave.

In Punjab, workers are deserting the party in complete desperation, simply because Punjab is no more of a priority for the party leadership. Remember how Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was with the people of Punjab during the floods in the 70s, or Benazir who on the very next day of the October 18, 2007 bomb attack went to Lyari to sympathise with the relatives of the victims?

But of late, when the searing heat wave was brutally killing people in Karachi, the current PPP leaders intended to visit Larkana but instead chose to stay in Dubai. A leadership that has nothing to do with the common man would never garner the support of the people.

3. Corruption, nepotism, and much more

People continue to ask what the PPP government has done for its people in these past seven years. Did their pro-poor and ‘roti, kapra, makaan’ slogans during two of Zardari’s tenures in Sindh materialise into anything productive? I don’t think so.

Town Municipal Administrations (TMAs) have become ATMs for the leaders.

Health, education, and irrigation are not as bad as they used to be, but the entire system as a whole has witnessed a downfall. There are several stories of land grabbingcorruption, and nepotism in rural Sindh.

PPP ministers made a thousand fake appointments in different departments, and many people have paid piles of money to win a job, but they’re still clueless. No one in their right mind would apply for any job in Sindh, as they know that the pre-requisites for any government position in Sindh are two things – money and political favour.

Initially, Zardari acquired the title of Mr 10 per cent, since he would keep most of the allocated budget for a particular project for himself. Recently, Lyari ganster Uzair Baloch spilled the beans on committing murders allegedly on the orders of PPP leadership, including its co-chairman and former president Zardari.

Zardari even allegedly transferred money to Swiss bank accounts illegally.

But that’s the past, so let’s bygones be bygones.

However, Zardari has failed to save himself from such allegations even after becoming the party’s co-chairman and elected president. A case in point is the Ayyan Ali’s case. Hostility towards Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, is not only felt on the public level, but can also be seen within the party.

Many officers and politicians who have been arrested have allegedly confessed to corruption in the ruling party. But despite all these facts, when Asim Hussain is arrested in Sindh, it happens to be an attack on Sindh.

Why would people support a party that faces a cyclone of corruption charges?

4. Pushing Bilawal aside

If one gets a chance to flip through PPP’s newspaper advertisements during the last two elections, all one would see is pictures of Zulfikar, Benazir, and Bilawal splashed over the pages to rein in votes, instead of Zardari himself or Faryal Talpur as epitomes of leadership. But as soon as the elections finished, Zardari and Talpur suddenly showed up again, occupying a large portion of advertisements, replacing the original Bhuttos.

In all these years, Bilawal has just remained a showpiece. There are stories of Bilawal being at loggerheads with his father because of anti-people policies, corruption and other matters. He also ran away from the country and came back silently. He still seems mechanically controlled and is only launched whenever needed.

For example, after the Rangers’ raid on the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), which triggered Zardari’s outburst against the establishment and several arrests were made, Bilawal was the complete opposite and remained calm. Even though Bilawal disagrees with his father, he continues to remain a puppet and I feel he will never be able to muster enough courage to stand up against him. Based on these incidents, it’s clear that he will be unable to bring about a change in his own party.

Now, in the face of corruption charges on the party’s leadership, Bilawal is forced to stay back, perhaps, in order to calm the situation and show the public that he is one of them. But he, as a chairman, finds himself unable to purge his party of the corrupt and the incompetent.

Why would people support PPP, a party that cannot even be controlled by its own chairman?

Manesh Kumar

Manesh Kumar

The author has a Masters degree in Mass Communication from the University of Sindh. He tweets as @Muneshkumar15

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

  • Rashid Khoso

    Well said Manesh. I am a Sindhi and like you i also have no sympathy for PPP.Recommend

  • Saad

    Correction, PPP was never a party of people, it was just a deception whether it be bhutto, or benazir or zardari, Pakistan never progressed under them, let me remind you of bhutton times, economic conditions were at worst there was no roti kapra or makaan, under benazir Karachi was again a battleground, strikes was a norm and even her own brother got killed during her tenure, all were equal , what people of Sindh want is to free themselves from bhutto ism , its just a shackle and they are mental slaved, ppp should he wiped from political and social sceneRecommend

  • Zazzy Zain

    YOU’RE RIGHT MANESH.Recommend

  • Zafar

    Couldn’t have said any better.. I am a Sindhi and I feel PPP is biggest enemy of Sindhi people.. Dragging its people back to Stone Age. Any respectable person hiding himself from corrupts who roam freely. Feudal system have gotten too much strong in seven years of PPP tenure and people have become slaves of feudal lords of Sindh which is divided like any kingdom in older days. If there is conflict between two parties one simply can’t go to police station and lodge complaint but innocent party is forced to resolve conflict with guilty and that is forced by local mna or Mpa which belongs to PPP. I still feel people of Sindh don’t have enough of PPP yet and they will continue to vote for PPP because they have become slaves in their mind and no hope for them in recent future! Recommend

  • umair qureshi

    Good article. Public needs to stop supporting political parties based on emotion, support them based on performance.Recommend

  • Haroon shah

    Yes Manesh, like you, I also have no sympathy for PPPRecommend

  • usman777

    Manesh, Brother I am Urdu-speaking karachiite and I have no sympathy for MQM. The minute we Pakistanis rise above entho-linguistics groups is the day we become an Asian Tiger.Recommend

  • Uzma Kat

    Having no sympathy(it’s being very polite brother ) we literally hate PPP we have had enough..Recommend

  • Fareed Ahmed Quidwai

    Excellent Manesh. I am also Sindhi (New) and despise PPP at this stage. left PPP and joined PTI.Recommend

  • Tariq Ali

    I am a Sindhi, belonging to Larkana NA-207, the very constituency from BB used to get elected, we had emotional attachments wth their family,, and no body ever thought abt voting against PPP, but current corrpted leadership has weaken it so much that we hate PPP and hope that a grand operation be started against these morons,,, all the stolen wealth be taken back,, and they all shall be banned from politics forever,,, but unfortunately NAB,, has left many TMOs after geting certain amount back,,, which means again a compromise can happen which will again isolate sindhi`s from patriotism,,,, which could be seen after many years,,,,Recommend

  • Dileep kumar

    Munrsh , agree with u ,, no more PPP now ,, Recommend

  • masooma

    I am Sindhi & UNLIKE you I Support PPPRecommend

  • Allah Bachaio

    Please give few reasons rather than parroting.Recommend

  • Dili Jan

    Well done ada Manesh Kumar… Im Sindhi and i hate PPP.Recommend

  • Paras

    Beautifully elaborated Manesh. This is what we Sindhis feel for the current PPP dictatorship.Recommend

  • سـقـر الأسـود

    PPP is now the most corrupt party this country has ever witnessed.Recommend

  • سـقـر الأسـود

    Don’t worry brother…. let the next elections come. They’ll surely be wiped out forever (insha Allah)Recommend

  • A.kiyani

    well written.. i guess every sane mind will agree with it. we shud come out of dis sense of slavery: be it of Bhuttos, Sharifs or now Khan.Recommend

  • Sharjeel

    you have explained the miseries of Sindies very well. Excellent Bro, I am a Sindhi and don’t support Zardari’s occupied PPP since 2009.Recommend

  • Arjammand Arbab

    Absolute Truth, You gave the shape of words to the emotions of Sindhi educated class. Sindhis are no more with PPP, Specially the young generation.Recommend

  • Arjammand Arbab

    very good, it means you were happy on divide of sindh, Keep supporting them, what a pity that morons come from federation and speak about the spiliting of Sindh which has its own sovereignty, and more than that those federation guys were sent by person who born on the same soil, to whom he wants to divide. you should keep them supporting masooma jeeRecommend

  • smalik

    excellent article.Recommend

  • Mehreen

    What an excellent article. As a PPP supporter it breaks my heart to see the rubbles of a once great party, one that laid the foundation of democracy in our country.

    It pains me to say this but maybe they have served their purpose, it was their destiny to bring democracy to our country but perhaps not to take it forward.
    Others should come and take their place, as is the way of democracy, but PPP’s contribution to awaken the people to their rights should not be forgotten in the history of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Urpa

    I am from Larkana and I no longer support PPP. If any other party, PML(N) for example, is ready to run in elections. I will be there to vote them.
    :)Recommend

  • Shaiban

    Manesh, although you have not said that specifically but your tone suggest that the leadership of PPP only belong to the Bhuttos. My friend that is the biggest problem in Pakistan Politics. Even if there was a good Bhutto, I would have preferred that there are party elections, only then you can claim that there is democracy, otherwise its an eyewash. We have to stop following Sharifs and Bhuttos to bring about a change in our country.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was hard hitting………and so, so true.Recommend

  • manzoor

    excellent article….all the corrupt political parties who haven’t been able to deliver should be side lined by the people in elections…..but whats the most appreciable thing is that a sindhi brother is rising to the occassion and making the people realise that the parties should not be allowed to play the provinsal or athenic cards….performence during ones tenure should be the source of judgementRecommend

  • Ibrahim Sindhi

    very well elaborated, Sindhis are tired of hearing that PPP represent Sindhis.Recommend

  • lathee charge

    And how much were you paid for your blind and logic-bereft support, if you don’t mind us asking ?Recommend

  • lathee charge

    Between the two, PPP and MQM, difficult choice on which is the worst ? However since PPP seem to be more of a nationwide party rather than Karachicentric, I would agree with you on PPP being number uno in the Hall of Shame.Recommend

  • Saad

    PPP didnt awoke any one, it destroyed Urban and Rural Sindh along with MQM. They have been enslaving minds of rural people, promoting “undemocratic party” system (not once PPP held elections within party) so how can they be democratic, Bhutto, Benazir , Zardari, Faryal Talpur all destroyed Pakistan and Sindh. If PPP had done something for Pakistan they would have been the strongest party , but all we see is that the people are slaves and they worship the name “Bhutto” not the services of party (which arent any) , if there were any services that PPP had offered they would have been remembered and forever lived . But we can see our institutions getting destroyed due to Bhutto’s policies of Nationalizing institutions , the list can be a long one, but sorry to burst your bubble, PPP is just a deception, its good that now it is on the decline path. I wish it is wiped of from the face of Politics and Pakistan, and it will be good if they only remain as history !Recommend

  • Saad

    This is how I read your comment “I am Sindhi and unlike you I am a slave and would love to remain one”Recommend

  • mohsinsidhu89

    Wonderful Article,
    There is no doubt that PPP destroyed entire sindh.Recommend

  • PatelPara

    I am amazed to see people still supported PPP after Zardari became the leader in a concocted will from BB.Recommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    If only more supporters were just as critical of other parties as well instead of blindly following them we wouldn’t be such a mess.

    All the major parties have taken their supporters for a ride and yet they cheer them on.Recommend

  • Justice Hunter

    That’s a real realization Manesh. We need to come out of this following of personalities. Democracy is about developing a system and not to follow dynasties rather this kills the very concept. As Abraham Lincoln said “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”. I hope your realization spreads all over the country.Recommend

  • Mercury Reborn

    a very true picture of Sindh and its ppl… Well done Adda.Recommend

  • Tariq Khan

    Massoma you seem to be nonsense Recommend

  • masooma

    hahaha ! so if I support one political party I was considered to be a slave what if I was supporting MQM /PTI /PMLN ? FREE CREATURE ? Certified Patriotic Pakistani or Certified Punjabi Muslim? You read what u wanted to understand ! please accept my sympathizeRecommend

  • masooma

    I have paid the same amount what you have paid for insulting my democratic right to support a Political party & my freedom of speech ! By the way your ID telling us about your ” Farsightedness & Logic” huh !Recommend

  • masooma

    Confusing ideas threw by youRecommend

  • masooma

    I reciprocate the writer ! you should ask the writer why he was Parroting the media stories against PPP ‘s governance & corruption !
    Wish if some punjabi writer got some guts to write “I a am Punjabi & I wanted to expose shameful Child Abuse in kasoor for last many years, Dangue spray on poor girls student ( media brushed aside the horrific incident) , 9000 rape cases out of total 10000 during 2014-15 in Sharif’s Punjab , the Pork/Donkey/Dog meat selling since last seven years in Punjab, killing of Okara Farmers by state, the enormous damage to property and lives Punjab during floods … Nandi pur corruption , Mansha Monopoly ,Sharif nepotism & Hamza poultry farms & so on ” But alas ! Punjabis and urdu speakings have least capacity to tell the truth !Recommend

  • lathee charge

    Your so-called “political party” is nothing more than a self-serving gang of fraudsters sitting in Dubai. What have they done for the nation over the last 5 years other than line their pockets, huh !??Recommend