Sindh: rise and fall in political temperature
Governor’s rule in Sindh is out of the question. Well, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has made it loud and clear that it will take him two minutes to undo any such move, also cautioning that “democracy must not be derailed”. The caution from Justice Saqib Nisar, the CJP, came just as the Federal Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, was set to fly to Karachi to exploit a window of opportunity to topple the PPP government in Sindh province that opened up in the wake of a damning report by a joint investigation team (JIT) in connection with the fake bank accounts case. The report accuses the party’s top leadership, including Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, of massive money laundering under a nexus with businessmen and bankers, besides portraying Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto in a bad light.
Even though a ‘forward block’ within the PPP is very much an option, Chaudhry’s visit to Karachi — that was meant to meet allies and like-minded leaders for extracting maximum support from provincial lawmakers to outnumber the PPP members in Sindh Assembly and take the driving seat — now stands cancelled. Is it that the PTI has had a second thought and realised that it should not be resorting to a move which is perceived as undemocratic, like a forward block within the ruling party? Or is it Bilawal Bhutto’s warning that “If Zardari allows us, we can dislodge them [PTI government at the Centre] and [even] send them behind bars” which has apparently put the PTI on the back foot? Or is it an even more vocal threat from PPP Senator Murtaza Nawaz Khokhar during a television programme that his party, together with the PML-N, has the numbers to make change at the Senate helm?
Whatever the case, a short burst of activity surrounding the situation in Sindh appears set to recede, and the political temperature set to drop. The fake bank accounts case, however, continues in the Supreme Court, and does herald a troubling time ahead for the PPP. Well, if things really turn serious for Zardari, a change in Sindh cannot be ruled out.