A Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader from Sindh, Naz Baloch, announced she would be joining the PPP on Sunday, a first in defections from the PTI to the PPP. Baloch alleged that the PTI’s focus is centred on Punjab and not Sindh. Her complaints against the PTI were that the party had lost its way, that women were not given importance in the PTI and that Sindh and Balochistan had been left by the wayside. She claimed the party’s organisational structure in Karachi and Sindh had been damaged, and that the PTI was run by four people who were consistently appointed president of Karachi and Sindh on rotation.

This is no surprise; the PTI has never really been successful in structuring itself as a truly national party. The sad fact is that Punjab is so politically important, that the other provinces will never really be a priority for major parties. But this habit has to be unlearnt. Though such a defection may not be a trend, it signals that PPP is seen as a Sindh centric party. While there is limited scope for the PPP to dominate Punjab, it can still be very successful in Sindh. This would be no small victory, since Pakistan is a federation.

The provinces have equal legislative powers that the federal assemblies cannot infringe on is a power source that political parties have not caught on to yet. Power can be balanced, if power can mean legislating for the people of Sindh. Power does not have to mean majority in the National Assembly in federal models, and right now it seems to mean just that. And while this may seem very academic, and PPP and PTI will do whatever they can for Punjab seats, their constituents are being thrown under the campaign bus for unrealistic personal ambitions.

Sindh is in trouble and as the bastion of the PPP it has seen meagre development. Roads and rural infrastructure is disappointing and 75% of the population in rural areas is now living in abject poverty. The political parties of Sindh are sleeping at the helm. Ms Baloch, if she is in earnest about the lacklustre politics of the PTI will soon find the same in PPP; the party is a shadow of its former self. It will survive in Sindh as a major party no doubt, but even in Sindh its success margins will shrink if a major move towards local uplift is not made, starting with water and energy problems.