Benazir Bhutto, the ‘Iron Lady of Pakistan’ kept the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) intact after the ‘judicial murder’ of ZA Bhutto in 1979 through her unwavering and undeterred political struggle. She is best known for a long political resistance against the authoritarian rule of a military dictator. Sadly, this great political leader of Pakistan was assassinated on December 27, 2007. Thus both the ‘Daughter of Destiny’ and the PPP met their ultimate fate together in Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi. I believe, like many other people, there is hardly such thing as the PPP after the death of its last great leader, and the last politically-active progeny of ZA Bhutto. After the demise of PPP, there has been a ghost of this party to readily replace it in Pakistan. This ghost has gotten a unique opportunity to rule the country for five years following the 2008 general elections. As a ghost is generally believed to be a horrible, dreadful and terrifying sort of a creature, so was the five-year rule of PPP in the country. Now, let history decide whether this ghost was holy, or simply otherwise.

The political legacy of the Bhutto dynasty somehow devolved upon Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari jointly in accordance with the testamentary will made by the deceased Benazir Bhutto. The son was nominated as the chairman, and the father took over the party as its co-chairman. Following the 2008 general elections, the PPP formed government in Pakistan under the leadership of Asif Ali Zardari. This government has successfully managed to complete its five-year tenure. During this period, the very doctrine of ‘political trinity’ was evolved and extensively propagated by various party stalwarts. It was maintained that there was a sort of ‘unity of being’ vis-à-vis the three distinct entities: the father, the son, and the PPP. The proponents of this doctrine have been forcefully rejecting any kind of difference or disharmony among the three components of this trinity all the time.

The ghost of PPP has a unique distinction of representing one of the most unpopular regimes in the history of the country following its victory in 2008 general elections. Ironically, democracy has been the ‘best revenge’ that this ghost could take from the unfortunate people of the country. During this five year rule, it ignored altogether the party manifesto and the political ideals set forth by its founder. Strangely, having buried the political ideology and legacy of ZA Bhutto, it has been trying to resurrect the very personality of its founder all the time. Now, this ghost is known for its fixation with the Bhutto family graveyard in Gharhi Khuda Bakhsh. This graveyard has somehow become its favourite abode for some time. During the elections, the ghost has frequently been witnessed in this graveyard making emotional appeals to the general public for political support for both father and son.

In fact, administrative inefficiency, economic mismanagement and lack of transparency have been the hall-mark of this five-year ghost rule. In the name of ‘politics of reconciliation’, unique traditions of political expediency and opportunism were introduced in the country. The then chairman NAB also revealed some shocking facts about the state of corruption in the country. Internationally, this government was also referred to as the kleptocracy. The stories of corruption and plunder of national exchequer have been surfacing one after the other. Rental Power Projects scam, NICL scam, Hajj corruption scandal, Pakistan steel Mills scam, LPG quota scam, Ephedrine case, BOP scam and OGRA scam are some cases that were brought to the limelight by the media during this time.

Following the 2013 general elections, the ghost of PPP, once again, managed to govern the Sindh province. Now an unenergetic octogenarian chief minster is running the administrative affairs of this province. Presently, like the ghost itself, the very governance of Sindh government is almost invisible. From the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi to the famine in Thar, there is a stockpile of unresolved public issues. The ghost along-with so-called political stakeholders, rather ‘trading partners’, in Sindh are extensively exploiting the material resources of the province to the disadvantage of people of Sindh. The city of Karachi is in the grip of land grabbers, extortionists, drugs peddlers and different criminal mafias. In the event of recent heatwaves in Karachi, the indifferent attitude of the Sindh government over the loss of more than one thousand precious human lives speaks volumes about the empathy and dedication of the ghost towards the people of Sindh.

The ghost also looks a bit uncomfortable with the so-called establishment since the law enforcing agencies have formally launched the Karachi operation to get the city ride of all undesirable criminal elements this year. During this operation, many fingers were pointed at the ghost for its involvement in the criminal activities in Karachi. A few weeks ago, the DG Rangers Sindh revealed that black money worth Rs 230 billion was being collected in Karachi annually through racketeering. As soon as DG Rangers made these shocking revelations, we saw Asif Ali Zardari publically and openly intimidating and criticising the military establishment for its current manoeuvring in Karachi. However, this intimidation by Asif Ali Zardari is absolutely incompatible with the current political capacity of the ghost, which, at the moment, can hardly pose any danger to the all-powerful establishment owing to its internal weakness and handicap.

Bilawal Bhutto Zaradari has earned the reputation of a ‘social media leader’. However, he has also formally marked his entry into the politics by making aggressive speeches against his political opponent some time ago. Some of these controversial speeches has also irked his political rival party in Sindh, the MQM. He has also been active in promoting some cultural symbols associated with the Sindh like Sindhi Topi and Ajrak. Ironically, the party, whose founder was obsessed with the concept of ‘Pan-Islamism’, now looks only concerned with promoting Sindhi nationalism.

Now, Bilawal Butto Zardari is the only component of the so-called political trinity that can somehow revive the PPP as a political party in Pakistan once again. For this purpose, the son has to get rid of other undesirable trinity components. He has to abandon the ghost which has severely damage the public image of the PPP. He has to relieve his party of the political baggage of his father. He has to focus on the ideology of the founding father of the party rather than his legacy. He has to come up with some pragmatic future plans for the disillusioned and deprived masses of the country.