Debut entry of a leader

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Can we make something striking out of Bilawal Bhutto’s Oct 18 speech which is being propagated as his debut entry into Pakistan’s politics? I don’t think so — the speech was full of contradictions showing how the party is making a last ditch effort to keep it relevant in Sindh and in Pakistan’s politics. It’s like a blind man is trying to get out of a dark room. Bilawal roared to snatch the rights of Seraiki people by carving out a South Punjab province but in the same breath he threatened MQM against any attempt to divide Sindh. He highlighted bad governance in different provinces but forgot how Sindh had been governed by his party in the last seven years.

He criticised others not devolving the power at grass root level but ignored how Sindh government had dodged all attempts to hold Local Government (LG) elections since 2010. He questioned Punjab government about growing influence of religious and sectarian extremism but ignored the unchecked growth of seminaries and sectarian outfits in Sindh. Outskirts of Karachi are under Taliban’s control and who is responsible for this? Not his party’s government? He talked about Asiya Bibi but didn’t mention if his party’s successive governments had done anything about the blasphemy laws, even when it got the opportunity while working on 18th amendment in the constitution. He failed to mention the forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh and why Hindus families were migrating to India.

His party shall realise that it’s not 1980s and 1990s wherein ‘Bhuttoism’ may bring devoted votes, even the sympathy vote in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto murder has evaporated. The 2018 elections will be based on performance, rhetoric and Z A Bhutto style speeches won’t work. His party has got Sindh to prove its performance; it’s the same for Imran Khan’s party that has KP province to demonstrate its capabilities. If no performance, then one day Sindhi nationalism card will also not work and the party will be limited to Larkana and Nawab Shah only.

Benazir emerged as a leader in a period of military oppression but Bilawal is being groomed and launched as a leader. Money can buy anything but not political maturity and traits of a leader.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail, Saudi Arabia

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