KARACHI: Senior PPP leader Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza announced resigning as senior Sindh minister and from his party office in apparent protest against the operation conducted by the Rangers today in Lyari, a Baloch-dominated slum area in the port city.
He is said have been contacted by President Zardari and efforts were on to convince him to withdraw his decision in the Chief Minitser’s House Karachi. Zafar Baloch and Shahjahan Baloch local PPP leaders have also resigned from party posts.
Local PPP leaders had expressed deep reservations over the operation as they believed the action targeted Baloch population in the city. Senior provincial minister Dr Zulfiqar is Vice President of PPP Sindh and also a Central Executive Committee member besides a close confidant of President Asif Zardari.
He said he had severe differences with Rehman Malik and Governor Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ibad, adding Rehman Malik was working for MQM. Dr. Mirza alleged that Agha Siraj Durrani wanted to remove Qaim Ali Shah with the help of the MQM. Mirza had close friendly relations with Agha Siraj Durrani another power minister in Sindh and close friend of Mr. Zardari.
He has been vocal on Karachi situation and openly alleged his party’s former coalition partner MQM of being involved in target killings and extortions in the city.
His firebrand outburts and lately his remarks for Urdu-speaking migrants created storm in the province.
He was called twice in the presidency and was refrained from issuing such statements.
His anti-MQM stance has paid him well in Sindh’s ethnically divided politics and he is considered a daring man in PPP’s inner circles.
Although many PPP leaders are not happy with his style of keeping the things viz-a-viz MQM, and his support for Baloch militants, they still believe he is the one who speaks truth.
A PPP cabinet member said he could only win political battles through political means; his support to the criminal element would not result anything in longer terms.
On condition of anonymity, he said he (Mirza) literally disgraced Rehman Malik in a meeting Prime Minister chaired in Karachi recently. “Everyone was in his support, no matter many do not subscribe to his style of facing challenges in violent Karachi”, he revealed.
His resignation is to make him a hero in a province where Sindhi’s have started receiving dead bodies after a recent bloody spell in the city.
Chakra Goth attack and firing on Bilal Colony–both house a considerable Sindh population–has sent negative messages in the countryside of the province.
In an atmosphere of mistrust and docility of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and his Home Minister Manzoor Wassan who seemed acting as subordinate to Malik would pay him off to be the most popular in Sindh’s Sindhi population.