Mumtaz seeks radical steps for Sindh

KARACHI: Veteran politician Mumtaz Ali Bhutto feels that drastic steps alone can now save his home province from collapsing.

“Things are extremely bad (in the southern territory),” he remarked and referred to the general demand for harsher measures, including Governor’s Rule in Sindh as the incumbent chief minister was just a rubber stamp, and has totally destroyed the administration because of his incompetence.

“I am not demanding that, but others have been asking for radical steps to salvage” the sinking ship of Sindh, he said during talks with a group of newsmen at his residence in Karachi Wednesday evening.

Confronted directly with the question as to whether he himself would be willing to be the next governor of the province, he said he was “not canvassing for any post” but if given the opportunity, may consider such an offer, only if vested with authority to implement his policies.

“Merely sitting in palace and enjoying perks and privileges of a high office at public expense” was not his cup of tea. It would do no good. Unless he is empowered to do something positive in Sindh, it will be of no use.

Mumtaz who has merged his Sindh National Front into PML(N) on workers demand, felt that time was opportune for the Nawaz party to strike now and secure successes in local government elections as the ruling PPP is being looked down upon with contempt by the Sindhis themselves. The reason is simple.

He said: “Peoples Party has turned into Zardari Party, did nothing for the people of Sindh and for the country during its five year in government, and still was suffering from paralysis. Qaim Ali Shah was removed by Benazir after seven months as chief minister for failing to deliver, and now has been in the saddle for six long years only because of being the rubber stamp for others, who actually are calling the shots in the province.”

Agreeing that the PML(N) leaders must focus on Sindh to uproot the PPP, he nevertheless felt sorry that not much attention was paid by the party for Sindh, and much less is being done now. Asked whether he would remain in PML(N), his response was quick as he unhesitatingly stated that “we have decided to remain in the PML(N)”, adding that he was not used to switching parties. He never quit the PPP, but was thrown out of it.

He said the country suffered immeasurably during the 5-year of PPP rule, as neither Zardari, nor any of his ministers did anything for the people. They were only interested in loot and plunder. Corruption was at its peak. Economy was destroyed, and disappointment despondency ruled all over. In rural Sindh situation was so bad that people are afraid to travel at night. “We used to have meetings, and people came to us at night because of hot summer. Now they come to us in daytime as they feel insecure after sunset to leave their homes”

The Thar famine was a massive tragedy. PPP or its parliamentarians were nowhere to be seen. He himself visited the area, distributed money to people, looking for heavenly help for their care. An army camp was their only relief, huge queues were seen before it but the PPP administration was missing from the scene. Even now 4 or 5 deaths are taking place almost daily, which reflects poorly on PPP and its leadership, he felt disappointed with the state of affairs in the famine hit area.

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