KARACHI- AMIR SHEIKH - At a time when the entire nation is discussing the consequences of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s long march, the only political personality that is playing cool and taking latest development in stride is President Asif Ali Zardari. He has been camping in the city for the last two weeks, not much caring for the gathering of political storm in Islamabad and is seen busy strengthening his party position in its oldest bastion, Sindh.
Asif Ali Zardari has already proven his credentials as a sharp politician that was why he has been able to remain president, though controversial, for five years. He has won over his once-enemy Nawaz Sharif. His policy of reconciliation and sharing power has paid rich dividend to Zardari who is moving on with the design to continue his rule for the next five years.
According to political analysts, Qadri’s long march is expected to benefit Zardari more than PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif who seems to be shivering not because of the dropping temperature in the Punjab but because of the rising political temperature in his province.
Any faulty move at this critical time by Mian Brothers against Tahir-ul-Qadri will prove disastrous for PML-N which is already showing signs of nervousness. So tense are the PML-N leaders that they have started talking about the death toll that may occur due to the long march. This is nothing but a poor instance of their statesmanship, political analysts say.
No leader from PPP has so far violated the accepted norms of civility in criticising Qadri. They may be against the Shaikh ul Islam and his proposed long march, but in their political wisdom they are keeping quiet and watching the tide of anti-Mian Brothers taking shape in the Punjab.
Analysts believe President Zardari has better political acumen in planning his way to deflect and deflate criticism from his opponents. One of his masterly strokes that almost nullified the PML-F’s anti-PPP move in Sindh was appointment of Makhdoom, a close relative of Pir Pagara as the Punjab governor. Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood came to visit his cousin Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi only to tell him about his appointment and not to seek permission from the leader of his party. That deflated the talk of the political wisdom of Pir Pagara who had started moving around like a political successor of PPP in Sindh.
In a bid to sort out differences among influential tribes of upper Sindh, President Zardari has held meetings with the party leaders and legislators at district level. The first meeting was held with Ghotki leaders to resolve differences of Sindh Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo and his brother MPA Ikram Dharejo with former Sindh chief minister Ali Muhammad Mehar and his brother Ali Gohar Mehar who have recently joined PPP.
The PPP co-chairman persuaded the local leaders belonging to main communities of Ghotki district, Mehars, Dharejos, Lunds and Pitafis to resolve their local differences and focus on strengthening the party position there.
Support of MQM Chief Altaf Hussain to Qadri, who visited Nine Zero to express solidarity with them, was a plus point for the Islamic scholar who is known for his mild religious views. MQM is also a secular party and its support to long march has stirred the political atmosphere before the general elections at the extraordinary time.
Within a fortnight, the MQM chief has raised his own personality by taking two steps. The other step was his unconditional apology to the Supreme Court on a contempt of court notice. It has brought to MQM in good light in the political arena.
The MQM chief is on the verge of unleashing a political drone in the next two days that may prove fatal to all the feudalistic and status quo forces. Recently, he said he had delayed the political drone and was waiting for a couple of important components that will make his announcement an extraordinary one before the long march.