Since February, the PPP Sindh government has been one of the most proactive governments in handling this deadly outbreak. Sindh’s Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was actively trying to apply safety logistics for these Pakistanis who were returning back to Pakistan from abroad. And his and PPP’s stance was absolutely correct as PML N, liberals and Sipah e Sahaba misused this pandemic for their disgusting sect baiting tactics.
Sindh under PPP took the lead and did their best to work with the intransigent PTI Federal government. PM select Imran Niazi remains obstinate and is more concerned about serving the elite interests of his powerful corporate backers.
While the Sindh PPP government has proposed multiple relief brackets for the most vulnerable sections of Pakistan, PTI is more concerned in giving subsidies to corrupt power companies, wheat and sugar hoarders and construction moguls. PPP has proposed exempting the workers and low wage earners from power, gas and water bills. It has devised multiple brackets and recommended 100 % exemption for those with the lowest usage of power and gas. PTI has refused and powerful private corporate like KE refuses to cooperate with PPP. After all, PPP had opposed KE’s privatization.
Since KE’s privatisation, it has bribed both PML N and PTI as per the Wall Street report. During last year’s rainfall, the highest casualties were due to KE negligence in ensuring secure infrastructure. KE has slashed compensation for its labor and its revenue is directed towards political bribes and padding its useless and heartless management. During the Covid – 19 pandemic, KE has refused PPP’s initiative to provide relief to lower income consumers.
For weeks, PPP has implored the PTI Federal government to share data from the national database NADRA. This data is essential to provide online financial relief via PPP’s BISP program.
Last week the PPP Sindh government diverted its own resources to provide partial relief to 200,000 families. Instead of acknowledging that this program works, PTI resorted to its typical petty tactics. It renamed BISP to “Ehsas” out of spite against the memory of Pakistan’s slain leader, Benazir Bhutto. PTI, like PML N before it, wanted to end BISP or at least limit it.
After blocking BISP payments to the most vulnerable Pakistanis for the last 3 months, PTI released half the dues after renaming the program as Ehsas! It has not allowed new applicants to register either.
Meanwhile, PML N has made itself more irrelevant and its alleged “good governance” has been proven to be largely a media myth based on manipulated statistics.
It is now clear where PTI and PPP stand on the Covid 19 pandemic. While PPP remains focused on the plight of the most economically vulnerable, PTI remains obsessed with protecting elite privilege. We have seen how the Trump government has misused this crisis to provide trillion dollar bailouts to the richest and most corrupt corporations.
Niazi is the Pakistani equivalent of a hard right wing demagogue. PPP must continue the good fight and struggle harder to fight for the Pakistani masses. We are back to the Ayub oligarchy.