Razzaque Khatti/Marvi Aslam –
The mystery behind the establishment of Zulfiqarabad is still unsolved. The decision has been taken to erect the city in Southern Sindh, within the territory of the historical city Thatta as per President Asif Ali Zardari’s wish. It is still unclear whether Zulfiqarabad is being erected in Sindh’s favor? Or it’s a result of involvement of any foreign power? Nobody knows about the factors that lead one’s mind to think of establishing the new city as I, once questioned Qaisar Bengali, the notable economic expert regarding erection of Zulfiqarabad; where he, instead of answering asked me to tell the reason behind establishment of the new city first. This perhaps seems the reason that why Qaiser Bengali, who has authority over planning in Sindh exists nowhere in the issue.
New stories regarding President’s directives to execute the plan of establishing Zulfiqarabad from June 15, 2012 have been publishing in different newspapers since beginning of this month when he was in Karachi for some reasons. Moreover it seems that all the directions from the President are being approved without any amendments and nobody dares to raise any question against it.
People of Sindh, who have remained pro PPP for ages and who sacrifice anything for the sake of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto have shown a great aggression against the erection of the proposed city. The decision of immediate erection of the city has resulted in a new wave of frustration and depression among Sindhi people who are already worried; as the issue of establishment of Mahajir Province in Sindh has suddenly been speed up.
A wide negative public opinion among Sindhi people against PPP has been observed that is increasing simultaneously. Whereas, PPP is now feeling guilty after observing increasing radicalism in protests staged by STP and Awami Tehreek.
Sindh Minister Sassui Palijo was fired off her Ministry when she expressed her reservations over the policy to establish Zulfiqarabad in the Cabinet. This government action clearly describes that whoever spoke against the President’s or party’s wish would be treated like Ms Palijo and sent home.
On the other hand discharge of Ms Palijo from the administration opened new doors of objections against PPP across Sindh. This compelled PPP to formulate a four member team that will hold meetings with different bodies across Sindh and satisfy them on the Zulfiqarabad establishment plan.
According to our sources, Senator Sindh Peoples Youth Ajiz Dhamrah, raised a question in meeting of the Executive Committee Peoples Party Sindh that was held this month. He asked the authorities to consider the criticism over the erection plan seriously. He also said that if the project is in Sindh’s favor then journalists, public and the saner elements across the province should be told about the misunderstandings and clarified.
In the meeting, some people marked Ms Palijo’s father Ghulam Qadir Palijo’s agricultural land as the reason behind her reservations and objections against Zulfiqarabad whereas, some more loyal then the king also criticized on the public appraisal gained by her.
Moreover, a four member committee to hold meetings with the stake holders across Sindh has been formulated that would consist of General Secretary PPP Sindh Syed Taj Haider, Senator Ajiz Dhamrah, Sindh Minister Makhdoom Jamiluz Zaman and Media Co-ordinator CM House Syed Waqar Mehdi . The members later on will invite stake holders in congregations for detailed briefing and solve their queries.
The point to wonder here is that the four member teams along with the Chief Minister Sindh doesnot know about the said Zulfiqarabad Plan which, they have to brief to the stake holders and defend. Moreover, notification of Zulfiqarabad Development Authority (ZDA) has been issued some two years ago and its high profile officials have also been recruited.
Head of ZDA is expected to give briefing in the current week or after approval of budget in the National assembly and Senate. Reports regarding performance of M.D of the newly proposed city have left nothing hidden therefore any briefing for the controversial project in no way would be able to satisfy the committee.
An MPA PPP also answered in negative when he was asked whether the assembly members have been given any briefing by the party regarding the plan. The question that rises here is that Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman is the only committee member who belongs to the National Assembly and has been selected due to his personal relations with Sindhi writers.
If PPP want to save its vote bank and sustain good relations with people of Sindh it should select the most active and senior members from Sindh assembly who could satisfy people on the basis of respective facts and figures instead of useless debates.
Committee members should prove what Zulfiqarabad contributes in Sindh’s and Sindhi’s favor and development. Otherwise the government is not in the position to provide any guarantee for execution of what it commits now as it’s going to complete in tenure in few months.
The legislature and the blue print for the proposed plan should also be clarified by PPP and those people should be selected in the committee who are trustworthy for common man. On the other hand people along with the political parties should immediately send their reservations to the committee. So that all the issues regarding divisive city should be clarified.
Sindhi people should also remember that if PPP would have proposed a city in their (Sindh’s) favor, its blue prints must would have been got made by the experts of the house building authorities over some proposed amount of money. Unfortunately the committee made for planning is not expert in house building or construction.
Moreover, the committee could not step back of the President’s wish, therefore experts should inform the committee of the different aspects.
As far as the establishment of a city like Shenzhen is concerned it is impossible in Pakistan as the economic and political situations of the both countries are quite different. Gawadar is an existing example of it, where millions of rupees were invested in Musharraf Government. Now when US objection over it, millions of rupees went waste, the value of land worth millions decreased to few lacs that sat whole Baluchistan on fire.
There were two clear reasons for this, one collision of US and Sino interests in Gawadar and second Baloch’s consensus over the opinion that their right comes first on their land. Here, circumstances of Karachi should always be considered that are now no more a mystery. PPP should think government on the basis of dialogue, wrong parameters and reconciliation is neither going to facilitate party itself nor its voter bank (sindhi people).
People of Sindh will never accept any project like erection of Zulfiqarabad where conspiracies to division of Sindh (separation of Karachi) are in air. Majority of the people are still of the opinion that Zulfiqarabad Plan is another big game for personal sakes and business instead of public welfare.