Chief Minister Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah, has cut a rather forlorn figure the last weeks. He took the brunt of the blame for the heat wave mismanagement, and seems to be leading the fight against the Rangers and the Interior Ministry all on his own. He may be serving as a lightning rod for unrest in Sindh, perhaps support from party stalwarts would not be a bad idea; his statements present an incoherent and contradictory line – one that will only damage the PPP.

The Chief Minister has come out challenging raids conducted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) in Sindh, saying that he considers it an invasion. He claims that Sindh already has departments investigating the crimes that the NAB and FIA are looking into, and that without his permission, these raids by the centre “interfere with provincial autonomy”. One would expect that the words ‘federal’ and ‘national’ should be enough to tell the Chief Minister that these bodies have a national mandate, and are in fact specifically designed to combat trans-provincial crime and irregularities committed by provincial governments. A man of his experience should also know that while convention dictates that the Chief Minister be informed before the centre carries out investigations in the province, but it is merely a formality; not a procedural necessity on which the investigation depends, and certainly not a issue to decry on national television as Qaim Ali Shah has so dramatically done. He went on to say that such powers of investigation are usually given to the Rangers by the government; seemingly forgetting his crusade against the Rangers investigation in white collar crime which has consumed him for the past month.

These contradictions make one thing clear – Qaim Ali Shah is extremely worried about who is investigating Sindh — which according to him, no one should be doing. The Chief Minister did bring up some pertinent issues - such as the Protection of Pakistan Act, which allows the FIA to detain suspects for up to 90 days – yet, even here his criticism is based on the wrong reasons. Allowing law enforcement to detain suspects without charging them for such a long time raises concerns over baseless arrests, forced confessions and police brutality. While such measures are not unheard of in times of crisis, they do offend principles of due process enshrined in our constitution. Yet Qaim Ali Shah is more concerned with how this law may be used against his party and his party alone – prompting the Interior Minister to assure him the powers are not Sindh specific over a phone call. His statements have found an unlikely ally in another embattled politician – Altaf Hussain – and that fact alone should be a cause of concern.