Saturday, 1 November 2014

PPP, Thar, Death & Hunger

In the second week of October it was revealed that around 300,000 bottles of mineral water, meant for the drought victims in Thar had expired in a government warehouse. Earlier in the year, wheat meant for the victims had met the same fate. At least 31 lives were lost there in October and 234, mostly children, in the preceding episode.

A reporter revealed that the district administration of Thar at that time was in the hands of Makhdom Amin Fahim’s offspring. He is the senior vice chairman of the PPP. Meanwhile an inquiry commission formed to probe the handling of the drought back in April determined that the Sindh Health Department and elected representatives of the area were to be blamed. They belong to the PPP.

In between the deaths in Thar was of course the PPP’s jalsa in Karachi. Where Bilawal, and the rest of the PPP leadership, failed to elaborate on their plans for dealing with the situation in Thar. After all, death in Thar is hardly new. In fact, it’s been here for a while. Over 1000 people died there in the last couple of years. Just because the media made some noise this time doesn’t mean priorities should change.

What was worth mentioning then? Well, Bhuttos for one. Bhuttoism for another. Shahadat. Jamhoriat. & Bhuttoism. Sprinkle some “causes” that you never did anything about when in power on top and glorious leadership is born.

Unfair perhaps, they did do something about them. In his speech that day Bilawal took credit for the PPP responding to the Hazara-Shia sit-ins in Quetta & sacrificing their government. Hmph.

Syed Nasir Ali Shah, the Hazara MNA from Quetta staged a sit in at the entrance of Parliament house in October of 2011. He belonged to the PPP & resorted to protesting against his own party after 14 Hazaras were gunned down in Quetta, and no action was taken by the government. 2011.

Why didn’t the PPP government in the province take any action? Nawab Aslam Raisani was the Chief Minister of the province, the tribal head  of Raisani tribe, influential in Mastung. Mastung, coincidentally, houses the biggest ASWJ seminary in Balochistan and witnessed numerous attacks on Shia pilgrims.

One of the first acts of Nawab Raisani after taking over as CM Balochistan was to appoint Nawabzada Humayun Jogezai as chief of police in Quetta. Jogezai, often accused of having links to the LeJ, in the past had ordered police to open fire on Hazara protesters killing 25. He is Nawab Raisani’s son-in-law. Coincidentally, Hazara killings picked up after he was appointed.

The sacrifice of the PPP government, for two whole months, wasn’t the first course of action either. Initially the PPP CM had proposed to settle the Hazara mourners issue by sending them truckloads of tissue papers. The PPP’s tissue paper strategy worked for a couple of years. Finally protests broke out throughout the country & tissue papers ran short. Hence the PM descended upon Quetta. Where Hazaras were reminded that there would be no dialogue with him, prompting one to ask;

“Kyun PM viceroy hain ya hum jaisay insaan nahin hain?”

Once the PPP made the ultimate sacrifice and removed its government, a couple of peculiar incidents took place. One PPP minister, Ali Madad Jattak, was arrested with 15 guards because Hazaras had complained he had ties to a “defunct militant group”. Chatter was that the guards were LeJ men.

Alamdar road had witnessed two blasts, one a suicide blast inside a snooker club and then a more deadly one from an explosive laden car. In February the Hazaras were targeted again, this time an explosive filled water tanker was used.

Later in the year, FC recovered 104,480 KGs of explosives from a warehouse in Quetta, the largest such find in the country’s history. The officials described the warehouse as a “car-bomb factory” complete with mixers, detonators, remote controls and of course lots of explosives to fit into vehicles. Coincidentally, the car-bomb factory belonged to a PPP leader who was later arrested.

Clearly the PPP, contrary to popular opinion, did a lot to the Hazaras.

Where did the bright speech come from any way? One influence clearly was the party old guard, who themselves spent the night recounting medical benefits of Bhuttoism. The other is the group of supposedly neutral journalists, intellectuals & NGO workers who were more excited by the PPP rally than the actual participants bused-in from around Sindh.

Is it a coincidence that almost everyone losing their shit about how many pressing issues Bilawal mentioned in his speech has been totally oblivious to the drought & the deaths in Thar? ALL of them didn’t read the last week?

Having party loyalists embedded in the media cannot possibly be a disadvantage, but the PPP is well versed in the impossible. Propagandists are a valuable resource but for external consumption, not for internal evaluation. It was just silly how Bilawal lifted his arguments from PPP apologists ever present in the media, & social media.

Sindh is underdeveloped since partition and because we had no resources. Everyone wants the blockades around Bilawal House removed because they want me to be killed. Corruption allegations are just an excuse to malign us. Governance isn’t that better elsewhere either.

Finger on the pulse.

This I am not making up; in his first interview after the 18th October jalsa in Karachi, chairman of the PPP Bilawal claimed that 60% of Pakistan’s population is young, and so is he. Therefore, he can relate to them more than any other leader in Pakistan.

Just like Justin Bieber can.

Yes, a billionaire kid who has lived most of his life outside Pakistan, doesn’t even know the language, believes he can relate to a country where, according to World Bank, 60% of the population lives under the international poverty line, more than anyone else; because he is young.

The level of delusion is staggering, breath-taking.

So while the young prince lives in his bubble, relating to his darbaris in the party & the media, where does that leave the people? After all, it is the Pakistan “Peoples” Party.

Among death & hunger, of course. Those are the gifts the party has brought them. Thar & the Hazaras are but just a glimpse.

Consider that all over Pakistan 6,126 lives have been claimed by suicide bombings, in our history. By just 2011, the PPP had lorded over, and participated in, the killing of over 7,000 people in Karachi alone. The figure must be over 10,000 now, as the killing hasn’t stopped.

Hunger is the bigger hallmark though. Shortage of food & malnourishment is not just an issue in Thar, it persists throughout Sindh to a disgraceful extent. In Ethiopia the stunting rate for children is 51%, in Eritrea it is 44%, in Sudan 40%. In Sindh it is 56.7% and in the loyal PPP stronghold of rural Sindh, it’s 63.3%.

63.3% in 2014.

Death & hunger.

1 comment:

  1. PPP is the most corrupt political party of Pakistan and it is no worry about hunger in Thar.