The national political parties should have come forward to organize themselves in Sindh revisiting their manifestos in accordance with the sensitivities of Sindhis. They failed to do so. As an alternative course, the political activists and conscious sons and daughters of Sindh, shunning their political differences, thought of coming together to form a broad based democratic political party with an easy and understandable manifesto diagnosing the problems facing the people of the province and suggesting practical solutions to provide an alternative option to the electorate. They understand that the powers having vested interests in this rotten system, by design, keep them divided to subdue and prevent their province from demanding the ownership of its resources.
The formation of the new political party has been prompted by a number of factors reflective of the utter failure of Pakistan People’s Party and the political alliances formed at the time of the general elections in addressing the chronic social and economic issues of Sindh. The splinter political groups claiming ideologically nationalist complexion since decades have not been less callous than the mainstream political parties in exploiting the sentiments of the people of Sindh for votes and later betraying their confidence shamelessly. All this only has exasperated the disillusionment of the people and gradually pushed them to a state of resignation to suffering and sufferance which testifies to the slow death of a society.
The feudal politicians have hijacked the politics of the province sidelining or banishing the old ideological activists, liberal, democrats, secular and leftist political workers from the middle class. They have established their control on the administrative structures and financial resources of the province depriving the common people of jobs, business, education and healthcare, security of property, honour and life. Unfortunately, the PML and PTI did not go beyond the political patchwork in the province embracing disgruntled and disaffected landlords without tapping the politically rich and informed middle class ever willing to lock horns with the political barons.
The people of small provinces particularly of Sindh need a new voice today as ever before, a candle to pierce through the thick darkness of disillusionment, a hope to rejuvenate their sagging spirit, a beacon light to illuminate their path to reawakening and change, a rallying cry to be the master of their destiny and the guardians of the tomorrow of their posterity. The nationalists squandered the opportunity of shunning their parochial and narrow factional differences and leaguing together to chart out an alternative political course for the people. The political and bureaucratic moguls have assumed the brutish form of carnivorous animals trying to devour the last morsel of the flesh of the people during the past three two decades or so. They have shut their eyes to the thickening dark clouds of misery, poverty, ignorance and disease hovering over this dear land. They have left the poor masses to fend for themselves in poverty and misery.
Should the people of this land be abandoned to sulk in their helplessness, in this political stagnation, this frustrating and suffocating atmosphere or the conscious and informed sons and daughters of the land should come forward to pay back the enormous debt they owe to it. God will not descend from the heaven to hammer the last nail in the outdated tribalism; bridge the ethnic division in the land; arrest the growing institutional decay; redeem the crumbling educational structure; ameliorate the healthcare; challenge the endemic corruption that have sealed the fate of the people and stunted their advance to progress and prosperity. We have to do all this if we feel an iota of obligation to the people and to this land.
The task must be difficult but it is not impossible to free the poor masses from the iron claws of the oligarchs and the political chicanery they have woven. The politics has unpredictable dynamics and requires strong organizational structure, unwavering commitment to the cause, unshakeable courage for a fearless and constant struggle and unflinching faith and confidence in the collective strength and wisdom of the people. The era of political idealism has lost to the issue-based politics. The explosion of the information technology and the globalization has impacted the thinking, life style, needs and aspirations of the people all over the world.
This phenomenal change is apparent everywhere and even in the far undeveloped rural regions of Sindh. People want good schools, functional healthcare centers, social justice, economic equity, rule of law and equality before law. They want freedom from the existing deprivation, poverty and powerlessness, insecurity and oppression. The young work hard and graduate and aspire to find an honorable livelihood. How painful it is to find young men with the well bounded files of their degrees and diplomas crowding at the doorstep of Ministers. The rulers have monopolized powers of recruitment, transfers and postings and promotions destroying merit and using Sindh Public Service Commission as a tool for promoting cronyism, favoritism and corruption reducing the entire administration of the province to a cesspool of inefficiency and ineptness.
The question is could a few retired bureaucrats, academicians, teachers and agriculturists undertake this enormous task and challenge the well established political parties, feudal sardars and landlords. When the shadows of political darkness lengthen and engulf the space, there should be some people to muster the courage to light a candle or give the call for the assemblage of the warriors and sound the bugle for battle. The human capacity for turning to a good cause is an inherent urge and can’t be bounded by time and age. We have good and bad people in every society, community and profession. To judge persons by pre-conceived assumptions or from a warped perspective is erroneous. Good initiatives in any field reflect the vibrancy of a society.
In the recent history of nations, leaders of advance age have performed wonders for their countries. The need is to amalgamate the wisdom of the old and the energy of the youth, courage of men and cautiousness of women. The hopes of the people of Sindh have been shattered over and again by political opportunists. They look at every political initiative with suspicion in the midst of the sinister propaganda by the supporters of the status quo creating doubts about the aims and objectives of any new political party even if it is in the embryonic stage. This reflects the deep sense of insecurity of the so called established parties. The main challenge of a new political initiative will be to redeem the confidence of the people as sovereigns of their destiny, to reawaken their power of dethroning the oligarchs and crowning good people – being the real owners of this land.
They have identified the immediate problems confronting their people in their basic needs for good education, healthcare and security of life, honour and property, livelihood, prosperity, social justice, economic equity, rule of law and equality before law and above all, relief from the oppressive thana culture. They are also well versed with the concerns of the people of Sindh on the main issues of geographical integrity of their land, ethnic division, provincial autonomy, and fair division of resources from the central pool, honest distribution of waters from the Indus river system, federal jobs and the settlement of the outsiders in the province. The province needs to have honest and bold leadership to drive home their position on these complex issues. The leaders with lot of skeletons rattling in their cupboards cannot properly advocate the province’s case with the federation. Time has come to look for a new dawn, new era, new equilibrium in the society, new leadership in politics. This will have a domino effect in other provinces also where the poor masses will support the middle class leadership to dethrone ruling dynasties.