For another day, almost each member of the national assembly from Karachi took the floor to wail over the near-collapse of the system, supplying electricity to their city.

Cutting across the party divide, they unanimously held the privately run K-Electric exclusively responsible for the mess. The said company was contemptuously accused of behaving heartlessly indifferent to peoples’ misery. Karachi’s representatives also kept on pressing the federal government to mobilize NEPRA, the regulatory body, for diligent monitoring of the electricity-supply scene in the most populous mega city of Pakistan.

Omar Ayub Khan, the minister in charge of electricity-connected affairs, miserably failed to spin any convincing and pacifying story.He surely has a very thick skin of a usual politician and mostly prefers to disregard the real life pains of ordinary mortals. Instead of staying focused on immediate issues, directly related to his ministry, he often attempts to divert attention to allegedly “corrupt practices and incompetence” of the PPP-led government of Sindh as well.

He did attempt to employ the same trick on Thursday. After admitting the system collapse, he tried to make us believe that the Sindh government could also not develop an effective system for draining out the rainwater in spite of ruling Karachi since 2008. The pond-like water clogging ignites burning of transformers. The same water also causes deaths due to electrocution. 

He also alleged that Sindh government’s nominee to NEPRA habitually resists execution of the punitive authority of this body. Instead of wailing in the national assembly, the PPP MNAs should rather persuade their own government in Sindh to watch the doings of its nominee. The laughable excuses, he continued spinning, visibly embarrassed the rest of ministers.

Since 2013, Asad Omer had been getting elected to the national assembly from Islamabad. Yet, he feels too proud for being a “son of Karachi.” He also loves to behavelike a know-all and often attempts to furnish cover for foolhardy doings of his “juniors” like a father figure.

After realizing that the stories told by Omar Ayub were even annoying the ruling party MNAs from Karachi, he took the floor. Standing akimbo, he tried to repeat the hackneyed story that the task of supplying electricity to Karachi was outsourced to K-Electric by the PML-Q government; the PTI was not responsible for it.

Doing this, he conveniently forgot that the same party, the PML-Q, is now the ‘ally’ of the Imran government. Also, the fact that Dr. Hafeez Sheikh had negotiated the terms of outsourcing the supply of electricity for Karachi to K-Electric as the minister of privatization those days. And he happens to be the same ‘wizard,’ Imran Khan had to induct in his government, when our economy didn’t look delivering under the command of Asad Omer, around a year ago.

 

Disregarding such details, he tried to embarrass the PPP and the PML-N by tauntingly wondering about the initiatives they might have taken to fix things at K-Electric during their governments in previous ten years. He also “owned” Karachi with pride and assured its residents that the PTI government couldn’t afford neglecting them. After all, they have voted for this party during the election of July 2018, almost in droves.

 

The passionate feigning by the minister of planning also failed to manage calm. The PPP representatives kept demanding a cut off date, when the electricity supply in Karachi might look smooth and fault free. Omar Ayub, in response, could vaguely talk of “in about two years.”

 

Perhaps his non-committal behavior provoked Amin-ul-Haq of the MQM to announce from the floor that on the coming Tuesday, his party would mount a protesting picket outside the parliament house. Ironically, this MNA from Karachi also represents his party in the federal cabinet. Our politics had always been very colorful, for sure. But seldom we witnessed a sitting minister leading a protesting picket against the government he or she was an integral part of.

 

Since the start of the ongoing session of the national assembly on Wednesday, the PTI ministers have continuously been looking nervous and helpless for managing the noise, triggered for the lack of electricity in Karachi. They desperately wanted to divert attention to different issues.

 

Ali Zaidi, the hyperactive minister from Karachi, had already monopolized the media attention by cunningly promoting a story, which reveals juicy details from a report, presumably prepared by the Joint investigation Team (JIT) comprising representatives of various intelligence gathering and crime busting outfits. The “authentic report,” he claims to have acquired from mysterious sources, clearly suggests that the former President and the PPP leader, Asif Ali Zardari, had allegedly been patronizing hardened criminals and serial killers.

 

Uzair Baloch, a notorious Don from the Lyari-based gangs of Karachi, is being specifically named in the said report. Ali Zaidi had first read some stunning details from this report during the last sitting of the budget session on June 30, 2020. Asad Qaisar, the Speaker, did not permit the PPP to adequately respond to it.

 

That provoked the Sindh government to upload the report, a JIT had prepared on Uzair Baloch, for public consumption. Zaidi had since gone to almost each TV network to vehemently insist that the Sindh government issued a “tampered” report. He also wants the Supreme Court to invoke its suo motto powers to decide which JIT report has been “authentic.”

 

The ratings-starved media is fervently hyping the controversy. This also helps our anchors to play with ‘sensational details’ that reminds you of pulp fiction. In the process, they also wail over the “criminalization of politics” like driven characters of soap operas.

 

Murad Saeed, “the fierce PPP handler” from the federal cabinet, opted to offer another engaging ‘twist and turn’ for the ongoing drama played on TV screens, otherwise claiming to be soberly discussing ‘news and current affairs,’ 24/7.

 

Instead of referring to an allegedly “authentic JIT report,” studiously chronicling the doings of Uzair Baloch, Murad Saeed flaunted another document in the house Thursday. He claimed that the document he had recorded the detailed “confession” of Uzair Baloch.

 

Such “confessional statements” are recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) of Pakistan. Murad Saeed forcefully asserted that by recording the statement under the same section, Uzair Baloch had “clearly named Zardari and his sister” for patronizing him. The PPP-basher in him was determined to read all the gory details of serial killings, land grabbing and extractions from the said report to “fully expose the criminal practices of Zardari and his sister.”

 

The PPP benches felt too agitated. They accused the deputy speaker, Qasim Suri, of acting like a facilitator for launching a reputation-demolishing attack on their leadership. Suri preferred to act deaf. In sheer frustration, the PPP decided to walk out of the house; the PML-N MNAs also joined them.

 

Murad Saeed still had all the time to carry on the lethal attack. But a PPP MNA walked in the house to point out the lack of quorum. The house had to be adjourned for the lack of it. During the recess, the PTI failed to collect the required number and the house was to be adjourned until Friday morning.

 

The PTI certainly appears to have deliberately launched a full-throttled attack on the PPP by passionately hyping the story related to Uzair Baloch. So far, it has surely helped the Imran government to divert attention from many issues, deepening the feeling of doom and gloom, especially on the economic front.

 

While feeling too good and comfortable for pushing the PPP to a tight corner with ceaseless promotion of sensational stories related to Uzair Baloch, the PTI strategists are surely not realizing that the law of diminishing utility also covers political games. For the moment, however, I wouldn’t want to discuss the possible consequences.