By M. Tahir Khan.
In today’s Sindh Assembly session, Murad Ali Shah has been elected as the new Chief Minister of Sindh. Finally, Pakistan People’s Party, in a high level party meeting in Dubai headed by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and co-chaired by Co Chairman Asif Asif Ali Zardari, had decided to shuffle Sindh Cabinet and replace their long time Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah. In the meeting, it was decided that Chief Minister will be replaced by a young and more energetic member of parliament none other than Murad Ali Shah who was serving the Sindh Government as Provincial Finance Minister and is also considered to be a close ally of party leadership.
This was not a sudden decision, the thought process to replace the old Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah was under discussion even before General Elections 2013, but it could not be implemented in letter and spirit. However, after the success of Pakistan People’s Party in Sindh, the name of Awais Muzaffar commonly known as Tappi was in lime light for the position of Chief Minister Sindh, but finally it was Syed Qaim Ali Shah’s name forwarded by Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari as the party nominated Chief Minister.
Qaim Ali Shah was not a new name for the position of Chief Minister. This was his third tenure as Chief Minister Sindh. First time he was selected as Chief Minister Sindh in 1988, second time in 2008 and third time in 2013. Qaim Ali Shah remained party loyal for many decades who supported party in all difficult times, but the current decision was made to replace him with a new and energetic Chief Minister. The decision to replace Qaim Ali Shah will be considered as a wise political decision in the larger interests of Pakistan People’s Party in many ways, it will provide an opportunity to the party to reform up to some extent and some major policy shifts can be witnessed in near future.
First of all, party leadership including Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto had realized that it’s time to bring change within their Sindh Government and this change cannot be possible without replacing Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. The Elections 2018 is already in sight, without changing public perception specially in Sindh, it would become really difficult to enter into elections, PPP needs a new, young, energetic Chief Minister with clear background in respect of corruption allegations to reform party’s image in masses.
Syed Murad Ali Shah as Chief Minister will add up all flavors that party desperately need, he is smart, foreign qualified, belongs to the political family with roots in Sindh, on top of it what Pakistan People’s Party need is a clean name. Murad Ali Shah is popular name in his own constituency who established schools, dispensaries, constructed roads and also provided jobs to poor on merit. Additionally, Syed Murad Ali Shah is also related to Pir Pagara of Muslim League Functional and it was expected that he will also gain some cooperation from them as well. This can also determined from the fact that after 2002 General Elections, Pir Pagara was ready to support the Peoples Party on the condition if Murad Ali Shah will be appointed as Chief Minister.
Secondly, with the change of leadership at the provincial level, Pakistan People’s Party will be in a better position to deal with the Federal Government on their terms and conditions, as it was believed that Qaim Ali Shah was not able to convince or better to say will be able convince and force Federal Government on their provincial subjects. In the recent past Federal Law Enforcement Agencies including Federal Investigation Agency remained very active in the province on which party leadership had serious concerns.
Third, there is a thought process within the leadership that Qaim Ali Shah was not able to take up the important matters including the cases of Dr. Asim Hussain and model girl Ayan Ali.
Fourth, with the new leadership at the provincial level in Sindh, People’s Party will easily trade off the interests of their party starting from the extension of Rangers Powers and creating a better Civil-Military relation which was earlier harmed after Ex-President’s last year’s speech.
It can be concluded here that Syed Murad Ali Shah will be called in to take over the reins of PPP’s Sindh government and has to take charge to cleanse the image of party in the masses. The task given is not easy, expectations are high too, and we have to wait and see how new Chief Minister will perform for the party and its future politics.