Zulfikar Mirza and PPP’s list of woes

Published: December 18, 2010

While PPP is already facing a tough time, Zulfikar Mirza worsens matters by going on a public tirade at an event organised by Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry

That the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is facing a tough time is an understatement.

The PPP was barely getting any support for its Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) bill when one of its own members, the current Sindh Interior Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, went on a public tirade making matters much worse. Mirza was invited to speak at an event organized by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Instead of enlightening the business community about perhaps any progressive steps on behalf of the provincial government toward economic stability, Mirza chose to spend 95 per cent of this time attacking another political party. Mirza’s rant was targeted at Karachi’s dominant party, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM)—which, he might have forgotten, happens to be a coalition partner of the PPP.

It is completely understandable that as Interior Minister, Mirza has been under stress due to the law and order situation in Karachi. In his speech, however, instead of taking responsibility of the situation, Mirza threw all the blame on the MQM in a not so subtle manner.

In a recent television interview, PPP representative Shahnaz Wazir Ali defended Mirza’s statements by saying that the Interior Minister must have some incriminating evidence against the MQM backing his claims. Well if that is true, it certainly begs the question: why has the PPP not lodged a case against the MQM in court?

If  the MQM, as Mirza so eloquently points out, is actually perpetrating crimes in Karachi, then surely it must be taken to court. If these accusations had any truth behind them, Mirza would be making his case against the MQM in the court of law instead of putting on a dramatic show in a desperate attempt to score political points.  Mirza’s statements were uncalled for. They were politically inappropriate and quite literally provoked hatred and violence amongst Karachi’s ethnically diverse population.

While he spoke about the need to remove the seed of hatred from society, Mirza threatened the entire Urdu-speaking population by stating that if the different ethnic groups of Karachi (Pathan, Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi) sought retribution, all they would have to do is open their gates and let their automatic weapons do the work. He challenged the business community to speak out against the MQM, which he sees as enforcing its will through the “barrel of the gun.”

It is important to note that this is all coming from a man that has publicly admitted to issuing countless weapons licenses in Sindh as a solution to the escalating illegal weapons trade. Not only did he wrongfully attack MQM, Mirza was clearly trying to perpetuate Pakistan’s ethnic divide. In a time when diplomacy is preached across the board, Zulfikar Mirza has chosen the easier path of heightening political hostility and instigating civil unrest.

Whether the statements made by Mirza reflect the sentiments of his entire party remains yet to be seen. According to Dawn News, MQM has “given a ten-day deadline to the Pakistan People’s Party to distance itself from the views expressed by Dr. Zulfikar Mirza,” after which it will decide whether to remain in coalition with the government.

Many people suspect that Mirza’s outburst was in response to the MQM’s opposition of PPP’s RGST bill. The MQM, however, is not the only party to commit the crime of opposing a critically flawed piece of legislation that is more likely to harm the people of Pakistan than do any good.

The PPP has failed to secure the number of votes necessary for a simple majority in the National Assembly because along with MQM, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has also rejected the bill. Despite the PPP’s desperate attempts at wooing them, both parties have remained firm on their stance to vote against the bill in the assembly. And due to the sacking of a Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) minister, the JUI-F has recently pulled out of the government.

As their supporters are deserting them, the PPP must scramble to fix the mess it has gotten itself into.  The PPP leadership needs to clarify the party’s stance, put an end to the hate-mongering and focus their efforts toward cooperation and progress.

Maliha Khan

Maliha Khan

A graduate from Pace University in political science and minor in middle eastern studies. She currently lives in Washington DC and actively follows international politics.

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

  • http://allpicxs.blogspot.com tipu

    If there is a brave man in PPP it is Mirza but unfortunately man at his top is killing the brevity in him.Recommend

  • parvez

    There was nothing in the write up, just a repetition of the news and events.Recommend

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbkNcXgU8RY Imran A. Azeem.

    Some more aspects about his speech should be covered as well.

    1) From his speech it is clear that Shershah massacre was a trailer (by gangsters well known for working on PPP’s backing) as an attempt of ethnic cleansing of Urdu-Speaking community from Karachi.
    2) He is very much upset with Businessmen of Karachi for supporting “MQM”, and unable to answer the real question of extortion slips from Lyari Gangsters.
    3) On RGST issue, When PPP failed to get its coalition partners on-board they offend them both.Recommend

  • Ali

    The blog is against PPP and its Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza. One can easily draw a conclusion after going through the write up that the author is but biased.Recommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali

    According to Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 153 A (a), whoever “by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or incites, or attempts to promote or incite, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities” shall be fined or imprisoned for up to one year or both.Recommend

  • Muhammad Fahed

    When anyone label allegations of corruption against PPP, they said these are all allegations, same is with Zulfiqar Mirza Statement, he only labeled allegations, he should go to court present all the evidences against all the target killers of all the parties and ask for punishments.
    His emotional speech is more political and ethnic rather than based on facts.
    According to law, Mr Mirza himself ruined the case against those so called Target killers by not presenting them in court, can Mr Mirza describe under what charges those so called target killers are in custody?
    Statement of a person in Police custody can not be accept as evidence, I request Zulfiqar Mirza to present them in court and sought punishment from there as according to law of Pakistan, “A Person is Innocent Until Proven Guilty”.Recommend

  • Ajaz

    For all whom has an opinion as this column is in favor of MQM I think otherwise. Everyones opinion should not be bias. As interior minister he should take action regardless if MQM people are guilty they should be accountable but action is needed no words or smear campaign. Recommend

  • khurram Nizami

    what he said in his speech every one already knows about it but I salute him for speaking it out in public that too in khi,mqm ll always threat the govt but is a weak party wont sit in opposition ;Recommend

  • x-man

    fuedal lords at their best .. its the height of hipocracy Recommend

  • Waqqas Iftikhar

    The only part of his speech I will take exception to is the fact where he says that ‘sindhi, punjabi, balochi pathan aik ho gae to maasoom urdu bolnay walay maaray jaen gay’…..that is uncalled for, completely uncalled for. If MQM has target killers then prosecute them, why does he need to threaten a particular ethnicity. People need to get rid of the mentality that all the descendants of ‘immigrants’ support MQM – that is a completely wrong assertion. Recommend

  • Sufi

    the writer makes one good point…take them to court. But then again, whats the point of court when lawyers and judges can be bought?Recommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali

    @Sufi, you make a good point. What is the point of anything within the confines of the law then?Recommend