die-hard PPP zealots ask this and find no answer why the PPP is becoming unpopular. What is wrong with it what wrong it has done? True, the party chiefly earned the power after Benazir Bhutto was brutally killed that was largely a sympathy vote. That phase is over, now. The party is struggling with itself and some seasoned workers openly say there are no leaders left, only ministers and advisors and assistants, they are running and ruining the party formed by Bhutto. Indeed, Bhutto factor remains pivotal but mere slogan of 'roti kapra and makan' is not enough to sustain support. The party has silently abandoned this motto and now it is facing testing times.
There is no denying the fact when the PPP secures power expectations run high and every body wants some position. It is impossible to accommodate all. The first priority according to senior leader Professor N.D.Khan is the worker. That worker is becoming restless now after eight month of his party's rule. He needs jobs for himself and shelter for his family. He is in some cases desperate to get even form of income support programme. He finds himself in a difficult situation in Karachi and Lahore and in Peshawar where the PPP is not calling the shots alone. In Karachi itself there is an army of unhappy but loyal workers who run from pillar to post and remain deprived.
Workers open up whenever they find any opportunity. This week I went to Peoples Secretariat where I saw a large number of workers with applications in their hands. They had come from all parts of the city and belong to various ethnic backgrounds. One old man had come all the way from Khairpur he wanted to see Syed Qaim Ali Shah genial and available chief minister. He had tried to visit Shah at the CM House but failed as security refused to allow entry. Now he was trying his luck at the secretariat.
Seasoned but young looking Habib Jan needs no introduction to describe his long association with the PPP and with the slain BB. Jan was in the rally at Karsaz where bombs exploded. He contested general election against the MQM and faced all sorts of problems. The situation did not deter him, he lost and he accused the rival party of wrong doing now the party has asked him to withdraw his petition in favour of the MQM. Jan is in a fix; he is going back to London where he has sought political refuge. Even though Jan is unhappy he still never shows his emotions. ' I want nothing from anybody, when my leader is not in this world. I demand nothing. I leave every thing to Allah.'
Others are not that generous like Jan, they want return of their sacrifices and they want it quick and they can't wait. They waited too long. Some complain some don't. Sidique Mughal is sick and frail; this man has been struggling for the party for the last three decades now he is struggling for his life. He never seeks any plot; he just wants a decent treatment. The party tended to sideline him and nobody bothers to take care. This person misses Benazir Bhutto day and night. Others also miss her including Latif Moghal, Habib Junaidi, Sathy Ishaq, Khalil Qureshi, Salim Moghul, Anwar Zakhmi, they say nothing but anguish could be seen on their faces. A majority of workers asks why Taj Haider and N.D.Khan are not being accommodated as yet. Why there is an army of new recruits deciding the fate of tested and tried 'jialas'.
'The PPP is becoming unpopular even in native Larkana,' a journalist from Larkana said this week. ' The common folks just want to see killers of Benazir at the end of the gallows, young people say our parents failed to save Bhutto's life they were cowards. Now we have lost Benazir, we feel sorry and curse ourselves.' This feeling is not confined to Larkana alone, it is everywhere. There is sudden emergence of new zealots who surfaced from nowhere and they pushed old and faithful workers around and successfully. Some of these new and strange people are allegedly close friends of the co chairman or they pose as such. Some were inducted as advisors while others were rewarded with profitable positions. There is, it seems, no end to their greed they want to achieve every thing quick and believe firmly in the motto of 'today is the last day.' Some are dubbed as 'jail kay sathy' (partners of jail).
What could be done in this scenario? Top leaders say they are doing their best but look at the economy this is the most difficult phase in the life of the country. Not much could be done and the party is not the sole arbiter of the country the master designers have imposed various characters in the political theatre.
The role of the PPP is a limited and defined one; it has to work within the orbit. Common workers dismiss this as a lame excuse and question heavy expenditure on ministers and advisors and officers. Some PPP men and women are very happy while others are very unhappy. This state of affairs is a sad reflection on the party leadership.
Is President Zardari is solely responsible for this or he still deserves some benefits of doubt is hard to figure out. True, he was in no way candidate for the position that was imposed on him in the wake of the assassination of immensely popular Benazir Bhutto. He is rightly or wrongly considered responsible for every thing from tackling war clouds with India to appointment of a salesman in Utility Stores, they involve him in every thing. This is wholly unfair. Sadly, the man seldom believes in decentralisation and that poses problems and raises new issues for him every now and then. Even that accomplishment proved short lived as appointed salesmen failed to receive any salary at all and after tree month of fatigue and anguish, they threw their appointment letters in the dustbins while some opted to burn them in disgust.
Common workers ask where are Nahid Khan and Safdar Abbasi and Oras Mama, if Benazir Bhutto were alive they would surely be around. They are not as this is Zardari era.
No doubt President Zardari has accepted a huge responsibility on his shoulders to become a successor of Bhutto and Benazir. The era of obliging friends and 'jail partners' should be over by now. Zardari should prove as he once voluntarily offered, ' I am Bhutto's son in law, not of any Nathokhera. I will prove one day.' It seems he is lonely at the top right now with no real friend or a sympathiser around; his close guys pay him lip service and allegedly make fun of his actions. A man of destiny is suffering at the hands of fate. This is life.