ISLAMABAD - The provocative speech of former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and reaction of the government, particularly from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has put the two major political forces in the country on confrontation course, causing irreparable damage to the politics of the consensus and reconciliation that was being pursued by both the parties for strengthening the democratic order.

Sources say former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had brought the widening differences between the two major political forces into the notice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on several occasions, but to the annoyance of Pakistan People’s Party leadership, the prime minister took no remedial measures.

Sources in the PPP said that most of their concerns and complaints were regarding the squeezing of the PPP government in Sindh by the ever-increasing role of Rangers which reduced the provincial government to just a ceremonial setup, the proposition not at all acceptable to the PPP leadership.

The more irritating factor in the whole affair was the inaction and inability shown by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to put the things in order, a source in Pakistan People’s Party informed The Nation.

The unilateral decision of the prime minister to change the Sindh governor without consulting the provincial government was another point of discord, the sources said, adding the Rangers overstepping their mandate and their action against the officials of various provincial departments allegedly on charges of corruption was the breaking point which compelled the PPP leadership to come out to confront it, the sources in the party added.

These sources said that actually PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had tried to pre-empt the government’s move to impose the governor’s rule in the province, which seems imminent because an impression is being developed that the political dispensation in the provincial metropolis is crippled and incapacitated to handle the governmental affairs.

The silence and indifference shown by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his interior minister completely showed that they are helpless before the army which is calling shots in Karachi, a senior PPP parliamentarian said.

It was in this backdrop that PPP Senator Farahatullah Babar had taken up the matter in the upper house of the Parliament and questioned the mandate of Rangers that, according to him, was exceeding its constitutional role.

To a question, a senior PPP leader said Charter of Democracy and politics of reconciliation had suffered a major blow in the past couple of days’ happenings. Particularly, the prime minister’s decision to cancel the scheduled meeting with the PPP co-chairman was a fatal blow. It has caused the fear that forces of status quo would take undue advantage from the situation to the disadvantage of the democratic order.

To another question, he said it would be a major blunder if the federal government imposes governor’s rule in Sindh and hoped Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not commit such a blunder.

When contacted, a federal cabinet member said PML-N was in no mood to clamp the governor’s rule, but if the things did not improve in the port city of Karachi and the provincial government continued to show slackness in governance, the Centre would be left with no choice but to go for this extreme step.

To a question about the appointment of a new governor, he said the matter was put on hold, but in case Dr Ishratul Ebad tendered his resignation, a new governor would be appointed in consultation with all the stakeholders, of course, including Pakistan People’s Party.

Meanwhile, in another development, PPP has devised its strategy against any possible attempt to impose governor’s rule in Sindh. PPP would utilise all means to counter such a move, including challenging the matter in the judiciary and tendering resignations from the Senate and the National Assembly, besides launching a mass movement across the country against the Centre.