It is not possible to write off Dr Zulfiqar Mirza's outburst against the MQM and Rehman Malik, as a political game engineered by his close friend President Zardari. His charge sheet against Altaf Hussain and the party that the leader in self-exile has controlled from London for nearly 20 years is far too serious and Dr Mirza has presented evidence to support his damaging assertions. The fiery PPP leader from Sindh has not spared his own party's Federal Interior Minister either and accused him of protecting target killers and extortionists in complicity with the MQM. The fact that Dr Mirza was Sindh's Interior Minister for three years in the current setup adds more weight and significance to what he is saying. It won't suffice for those accused to call him mentally disturbed, as the MQM has done, or to call him an estranged younger brother, as Rehman Malik did immediately after Dr Mirza's explosive press conference at the Karachi Press Club last Sunday. A similar no-holds-barred speech by Dr Mirza targeting the MQM and its activities in the troubled city of Karachi had forced his PPP to replace him as Sindh's Interior Minister earlier this year, eager as the PPP boss was to retain the MQM in the coalition. Once again, the PPP has distanced itself from Dr Mirza's bold position and is talking about reconciliation with the MQM and bringing it back to the coalition. There are no indications that President Zardari would show the door to two of his closest affiliates in the PPP and his point men on Karachi, Rehman Malik and Babar Awan, individuals that Dr Mirza has squarely blamed for aiding the MQM in its anti-people activities and plans. Even if one were to buy the conspiracy theory about President Zardari using Dr Mirza to kill two birds with one stone, compromising MQM's bargaining position and reclaiming PPP's position as the voice of Sindh challenged by the rise of Sindhi nationalist parties, it is hard to explain why the President would have him launch an attack on his right and left hand men? In any case, the importance of what Dr Mirza is saying should not be diminished by speculative theories about his motives. After all, he is not talking in the air. He's put before the nation specific cases, he's named names. Now it is the responsibility of not only the MQM, but also the Sindh and federal governments to give satisfying explanations and come clean on the matter. But none of that seems to be happening, and the parties put on the mat by Dr Mirza seem to be hoping that the storm will blow over in time and whatever dirt has been kicked up would be neatly brushed under the carpet. Unfortunately for them, Dr Mirza has decided to keep the issue alive. After the press conference in Karachi, he's spoken to the media in Hyderabad and Badin, and on Friday he addressed a rally in Lyari where he was greeted by political workers from various parties. Despite media's cynicism and its propensity to smell an invisible rat, Dr Mirza has come across as convincing and motivated by his conviction more than anything else. He's resigned as Sindh's Senior Minister, the Senior Vice President of PPP Sindh and even as a member of the Provincial Assembly. He has earned the displeasure of his party boss and there is talk about cancelling his basic membership of the PPP. The general impression is that he's risking his life by saying out in the open things that were only whispered about behind closed doors. Somehow, it is hard to believe that he would go through such a test for some half-baked ulterior motive. Though political observers have a tendency to read between the lines and discover hidden motives behind every political act, in Dr Mirza's case it would be difficult to put together a credible analysis to discredit his conviction regarding what he is saying. To displace the attention from his charge sheet and evidence, some commentators have chosen to criticise him for petty issues of personal conduct during the press conference, which matter little as compared to the thrust of his contention. Besides calling him a mafia don himself, his critics raise questions about the timing of his outburst and ask why he chose to remain silent about it for so long. To begin with, Dr Mirza did raise the issue in public earlier. Besides, when you are serving at such a senior position in the power structure as Dr Mirza did, the impulse is to sort things out within the structure before going public. And as he has told the nation, that's exactly what he did in the first place, informing the President, the Prime Minister and the Director General ISI about what he knew. He took the decision to come out in the open with full force after these efforts did not bear any fruit. So bringing Dr Mirza's past or present conduct into question and creating spins around his motive to expose elements that he considers as biggest hurdles in the way of creating peace in Karachi, won't do. His accusations are not small and they are coming from a person who had been in charge of law and order in Sindh for three important years. They need to be answered in detail and with counter-evidence. He should be asked to present the evidence in the Supreme Court's suo moto hearing on Karachi violence and those accused must be asked to answer those accusations in court. Time and again, the MQM has been accused of running a terror and extortion network in Karachi for retaining its hold on the besieged city. This is a good opportunity for the party to clear its name of these accusations and to remove the impression that it is involved in criminal activities. Dr Mirza's blind faith in President Zardari might be a bit misplaced though. After all, if Rehman Malik is engaged in the kind of activities that Dr Mirza has accused him of, it is difficult to rationalise his continued importance as President Zardari's right-hand man, despite the fact that Dr Mirza had communicated his reservations about the negative role of the Federal Interior Minister to the President. Similarly, it is surprising that Dr Mirza's faith in the President is not shaken by his continued hobnobbing with the MQM and his attempts to keep the party in government. Perhaps, Dr Mirza should be getting ready for another leap of faith. The writer is an independent columnist. Email: