KARACHI – Political analysts are of the view that instead of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza could be a threat to the Sindhi nationalists in future parliamentary politics.
However, nationalist leaders have rejected the idea that Mirza could replace them in nationalist politics with only “a cosmetic nationalist stance”.
Following the massive publicity in the media due to his outburst against the MQM, Mirza has started a mass contact campaign in the province.
He has addressed public meetings, met political personalities, visited the families of the citizens who were killed in different incidents, and held media talks in different towns.
In the media talks and his speeches, Mirza supported restoration of the commissionerate system and criticised some provincial ministers belonging to his own party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
He is being portrayed as a nationalist politician in the province, and according to political analysts, Mirza’s current stance would be beneficial for the ruling PPP during the upcoming general elections.
Analysts believe that he would be able to counter the nationalists’ criticism of the PPP-led government’s performance and what nationalist groups term as the party’s “anti-Sindh policies”.
“Mirza’s criticism of some PPP ministers is insignificant. He can gradually become a [political] problem for the Sindhi nationalists,” said senior journalist Akhtar Baloch.
According to him, Mirza would eventually make a formal return to the PPP and reconcile with his close friend President Asif Ali Zardari.
Awami Tehreek’s Ayaz Latif Palijo also expressed the same apprehension that Mirza would ultimately return to the PPP, but Palijo is optimistic that the nationalists would benefit from Mirza’s return to the PPP.
“If Mirza stands by his party during the upcoming elections, our belief that waderas (landlords) do not stand by their words will prove true,” Palijo added.
He said criticising the MQM would not do enough for Mirza to be a true nationalist.
“If he really wants to do politics of Sindh, he should also have a clear stance on other issues of the province, including its water and financial disputes with Punjab,” he added.
According to him, while criticising Rehman Malik and Babar Awan, Mirza should also tell the people of the province who had appointed them in their offices.
“Criticising only a station house officer (SHO) is not enough. Mirza should also talk about the district police officer who has appointed the SHO,” he added.
Palijo said Mirza is trying to adopt the MQM’s style of politicking, but the people support politicking on genuine issues of the province. Dr Qadir Magsi-led Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party (STPP) also has a similar opinion of the future impact of Mirza’s politics in the province.
“Mirza has been brought forward only to pressurise the MQM into making a bargain with the PPP in national politics,” said STPP press spokesman Muzaffar Kalhoro.
He also was of the view that criticising the MQM alone is not a criterion to gain entry into the nationalist politics of Sindh.
Mirza is trying to make his way into the hearts of the people who have anti-MQM sentiments, but he would not be able to capture the support of the people, who stand by nationalist leaders, only because of his anti-MQM stance, he added.
According to him, the forces that have brought Mirza to the forefront would not be able to continue supporting him for long.