THE PPP predicament


    The tide is slowly turning against the PPP leadership as the corruption cases against Zardari and Faryal Talpur are picking pace. The PPP workers appear to be standing in solidary with the leadership and Bilawal has emerged as the face of PPP’s campaign against the ongoing cases. PPP is also working towards displaying its street power by hosting rallies across Pakistan. Speculations suggest that despite the divergences between PPP and PML-N, the two parties may now expedite efforts to form a stronger opposition alliance. This was evident when Bilawal and Zardari visited Nawaz Sharif recently. However, it still needs to be seen how closely PML-N would collude with PPP. Back when the PML-N was undergoing its own cases, PPP played the middle ground to project its loyalty to the state and ensure that its position in Sindh politics is not threatened. Now it is clear that the new government’s broad-based accountability drive is not sparing PPP either. It was also formerly believed that the PPP leadership, namely Bilawal and Zardari are divided and maintain an estranged relationship. But the recent coming together of the family to fight out this battle as a united front has led many to believe that the pretense of estranged relationship was a political tactic to ensure that Bilawals political future is not tainted by Zardari’s past. The recent days have garnered a lot of criticism towards Bilawal. The PPP leader was questioned by many over his speech in English in which he criticized the state for not taking adequate actions against banned organizations. This was seen as a tactic to malign Pakistan in front of the international community, amidst the growing pressure against his father, and as a means to gain some international support. Nonetheless, this speech instead compelled people to question how effective PPP has been in maintaining law and order within Sindh- cases such as Uzair Baloch and Rao Anwar highlight PPP’s selectivity in tackling criminals.

    Currently more and more witnesses are coming forth to testify against PPP leadership. PPP appears to be adopting the politics of confrontation- just as PML-N did. The final verdicts will determine the fate of the PPP leadership. Recently a precarious precedent was set when Nawaz Sharif was relived of his jail sentence on medical grounds. Many are questioning what impacts this move would have on the future of Zardari, who too suffers from health crisis.

    Pakistani politics tend to abide by a personality centric view, political parties are valued and trusted based on how much support the populism of a single leader manages to amass. This leads to less attention paid on party manifestos and objective public assessment of the governance. Perhaps, the accountability drive, which is aimed at ridding the nation of corruption, feudalistic and dynastic politics and corrupt leadership should not be seen as a move to decapitate the opposition. Instead, it could be a genesis of political maturity in Pakistan’s democratic evolution. Under which parties are elected based on their agendas, which are shaped by new and dynamic civil servants.