The calamitous famine in Thar earlier this year pushed the province of Sindh into the limelight underlining the short sightedness and inadequacy of the PPP Government to handle the crisis. If it had not been for private donors and the Armed Forces, Mr. Qaim Ali Shah’s administration would have remained in a state of blissful somnolence, while children and livestock lost their lives due to lack of sustenance, on a daily basis. There were some, who naively thought that Shah Sahib and his team of ministers had drawn lessons out of the experience and would therefore take steps to ensure that such a crisis would never recur and even if it did, it would be mitigated efficiently – regretfully they were wrong.

Information coming out of Thar indicates that the situation was never dealt with or at best was tackled cosmetically, to project visits of Government VIPs in the media and photo ops. Television footage has now revealed sealed packs of mineral water and bags of grain that have lain in storage for months and are now unusable and rotted. Why these items were not distributed to affected people is a conundrum that only the Chief Minister of Sindh can unravel, but the venerable Shah Sahib appears to be suffering from a disease, whereby reason (and intelligent reason) appears to have forsaken him. This infection has perhaps trickled down to his team of ministers, who take pains to justify their apathy and callousness to deliver good governance.

News is being received that child mortality due to hunger has once again reared its ugly head in Thar and images of emaciated children, near death, are being beamed into every home through television screens. It is however the Chief Executive of Sindh, who remains unaware of the situation and standing up on the floor of the House emphatically states that he will apologize to those present if anyone proves that children are dying in Thar because of starvation. Mr. Shah is either delusionary or in a state of happy intoxication or suffering from both, for he has the audacity to deny what the camera is showing – and the eye of the camera (unlike our politicians), does not lie.

The Chief Minister’s statement itself reeks of a callous disregard for the people of Thar. Apologizing to the House if one case of death by hunger is proved is, to say the least, no atonement for the cardinal sin that falls under the category of ‘murder by misgovernment.’ Under all norms of democracy, the man should resign from office if proved wrong or if he fails to do so, should at least be removed from the job by the party leadership. Such an act will at least restore some respect for the iconic political setup that Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto created; bringing Pakistan into world prominence.

In a second development involving another Shah Sahib, a loose sentence initiated a chain reaction that appears to be escalating. This time it is the MQM that has once again severed ties with the Sindh Government and embarked on a course, which if persistently followed, may change the game in Sindh. Frantic efforts by PPP to diffuse the situation are being reported by the media, but this time or more appropriately ‘so far,’ the MQM is sticking to its guns in reaction to what could be construed as a slur against every individual who took the risky trek to Pakistan during the great transmigration of 1947.

The truth of the matter is that the once great Pakistan People’s Party appears to be going through bad days and even poorer luck, putting the political genius of Mr. Asif Zardari to great test. The combination of a witless Chief Minister and an Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, who has a maverick tongue, the Party is moving from crisis to crisis - all of its own making.

 The writer is a freelance columnist.