Mending fences: PPP cabinet body off to a bad start

By: Jan Khaskheli

SINDH – Karachi :- A Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) federal cabinet committee, which was scheduled to meet politicians, writers, intellectuals, and civil society activists in Sindh to allay growing resentment against the party, faced a number of impediments during a recent trip to Hyderabad, The News has learnt.

Contrary to the rumours, the committee did not meet with Awami Tehreek (AT) President Ayaz Latif Palijo, the man considered one of the main stakeholders in the politics of  Sindh. Palijo told The News that he demanded the committee to show its terms of reference to prove how serious they were in alleviating the grievances of the people of Sindh.

“Their seriousness can be gauged by the fact that they preferred to discuss a very important issue with a handful of civil society representatives instead of political parties,” he regretted. The committee was also boycotted by a number of writers and civil society representatives, who questioned the authority of the body. When the committee met with members of the civil society, only a handful of academics and two representatives of nongovernmental organisations were present on the occasion.

The majority of participants remained silent during the meeting, while the rest largely raised irrelevant issues such as the falling educational standards and water shortage.Veteran scholar and writer Mohammed Ibrahim Joyo, who was supposed to represent writers and the civil society, plainly refused to participate in the meeting. Similarly, the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS), a literary body that claims running about 120 branches with hundreds of writers and poets, also boycotted the meeting.

“We had a number of demands to put before the committee, but we refused to attend because the organisers prohibited us from raising any controversial topic during the meeting,” SAS Secretary Dr Mushtaq Phul told The News.

A number of civil society representatives rued that the police were cracking down on nationalists. They also claimed that those, who tried to express solidarity with the victims of the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally, had been “whisked away” by the law-enforcement agencies.

Many PPP activists have also expressed their reservations over their party’s silence on the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally that left 12 people dead.

The spokesman for the Sindh United Party said his party has announced an all parties’ conference in Karachi, Sindh on May 29 in which all parties have been invited – except for the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “They [the PPP and the MQM] are involved in the conspiracy to divide Sindh,” he maintained.

Although Sindh has traditionally been a PPP stronghold, the increasing political instability, the calls for the division of the province, the deteriorating law and order situation in the rural areas, the kidnapping and subsequent murder of political activists including Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz General Secretary Muzaffar Bhutto and the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally have left much of Sindh disillusioned with the current leadership.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-111062-Mending-fences-PPP-cabinet-body-off-to-a-bad-start

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