The political scene in Pakistan was shaken when a number of changes occurred throwing into doubt the continuity of the policies at home and abroad.
Removal of Syed Qaim Ali Shah from the slot of chief minister and bringing in of younger Syed, Murad Ali Shah the son of former chief minister late Abdullah Shah was in a number of ways a unique incident.
During the tenure of Abdullah Shah Z.A Bhutto’s eldest son Murtaza Bhutto was gunned down by Sindh Police just few hundred yards from 70 Clifton.
Bowing out of Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, the architect of Zarb-e-Azab and Karachi Operation and change of guards at Corps V, ISI and Sindh Rangers were some of the major changes of the year.
However, the most shocking change occurred when the longest serving Governor once nominated by MQM Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan left his office after a stint of 14 years and was replaced by a perpetual unwell former chief justice of Supreme Court Saeed-uz-zaman Siddiqui, who had allegedly made some decisions as chief justice that cast doubt on his integrity.
IGP Sindh AD Khowaja, known for integrity and honesty was sent on leave, some say in the administrative terminology (forced) because he was not seeing eye to eye with the political heavy weight who wanted to administer district Malir and ferrying sugarcane from fields to the sugar mills of a powerful individual.
All these changes, the A.D Khowaja episode may prove disastrous for the current chief minister and the ruling PPP in the light of the petition that is being filed in the Sindh High Court before the Sindh Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who is not very good friend of incumbent administration after kidnapping of his son six months ago.
The petition filed by civil society is seeking justice for non politicization of Sindh police will heavily weigh against the chief minister and the PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari, who retuned home after a self-exile of 18 months only to announce entering the parliament along with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Year 2016 saw peace return to Karachi after the paramilitary supported by Pakistan army carried out heavy handed operation that earned both bouquet and brick back mostly from the city’s political party which complained of an alleged uneven handed operation which resulted in a number of alleged extra judicial killings.
No doubt the peace prevails in various areas of Karachi and target killing has reduced remarkably but there has been unprecedented rise in street crime which has cast doubt on the efficacy of the operation.
The year also witnessed severe cracks in solidarity of MQM led by Altaf Hussain. Just at the start of the year once blue-eyed boy of Altaf Hussain, former city Nazim Mustafa Kamal launched a political outfit which he named as Pak Sar Zameen.
On August 22 while addressing via telephone from London Altaf Hussain in front of Karachi Press Club made derogatory remakes about the court which brought severe reaction from the law enforcers and a number of arrests were made immediately.
MQM’s most senior politician Dr. Farooq Sattar intervened to steer the party from the whirlpool that could have drowned it. A day later on August 23 he announced that MQM will be known as MQM-P and it would be an independent political entity not taking any instructions from London. The outgoing year also saw law enforcers raiding the office of a local business man known for his close association with Asif Ali Zardari. The timing of the raid at the office of Anwar Majeed almost coincided with the arrival of former president at Karachi airport from Dubai.
The PPP for the second time experienced the heat after Dr. Asim was caught and sent behind bars. The people of Sindh had a good time the whole year for watching talk shows but the governance in Sindh was at its worse. The law and order in the interior remained as bad as one could feel. Like always the PPP made high claims of improving governance and cleaning the city and other cities and towns in the province but still there is no relief for the people who are suffering from various diseases caused by stinking filth. Chikengunny which engulfed Malir the stronghold of PPP suffered the most from new diseases.
Murad Ali Shah with Syed Qaim Ali Shah