The Rift between Sindh and Islamabad

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As the opposition parties rule each region, the Federal and Sindh governments are always standing across each other on almost every issue

In the fight against corona virus, each government is having a war on taking credits

The Rift between Sindh and Islamabad is not old. It has been there since the taking over of governments in August 2018. The two governments have been acting like warring tribes from the beginning. And it is relate-able as the two have been staunch political foes for years before coming into power.

The Real Issue

If we see the things through simple prism, we can understand the situation. The PTI always claims that PPP is a group of corrupt political leaders; a claim also made about PML-N and other political parties in Pakistan. The party has taken its vote on promise of wiping out the political elite. Whether they have achieved or not is entirely another discussion. However, the current political divide is on its basis alone.

Amid corona virus pandemic, the case of Pakistan is interesting. Sindh has the first ever reported case of corona virus in Pakistan. It is also the first province to go for a curfew-like lock down. A strong case was brought by Chief Minister Sindh Mr. Murad Ali Shah on how imperative the lock down was for his province. He has also proposed a similar action at the federal level.

On the other hand, the federal government has an entirely different view on the subject. Initially, it was against the idea of lock down. However, they left it later to provincial governments to make a decision in this regard. A partial or full lock down or a curfew on cards, whatever; it has left the public confused as to what the federal government wants.

Amid this crisis, CM Sindh came up as a hero for providing facilities to patients efficiently. The Sindh Government has shown quite a leadership at this important moment. Although, the Sindh Government is often criticized for bad governance, its steps changed the perception.

Read: PM Imran Khan Announces Multi-Billion Package Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

What is the rift?

As we have put in preamble, the issue is more of a political nature. The Rift between Sindh and Islamabad has different aspects. The rift flourishes in the existence of this structure as to who will win the war against corona. It includes aspects of governance, actions to be taken, impact of actions and so on. It is like two warring countries to win, rather than a uniform policy as a single entity.

Initially, the rift began with the distribution of kits. There were contrary claims by the federal and provincial governments.

Later, the provincial government claims that Islamabad is not taking this pandemic seriously. It claims that the kits provided by federal government are not enough. They allege that these kits are without Viral Transport Medium (VTM) and swabs. On the contrary, Islamabad claims that enough kits are given as per their need. “We are preparing to provide more kits to Sindh Government in upcoming days,” claimed Mr. Shahbaz Gill from PTI.

Another split came with the distribution of aid and ration to needy people. Sindh Government’s Local Bodies Minister Mr. Nasir Shah stated, “we cannot provide cash through mobile banking due to certain reasons.” He further added that PPP is only relying on the distribution of ration bags.The PTI opposes such a mechanism and again alleges corruption.

Government official stie:

On the other hand, the federal government took initiative of “Ehssas Emergency Cash Program.” It focuses on providing emergency cash for needy and the target is daily wage laborers. Here, the PPP criticizes the federal government for a wrong policy. They claim that PM is just playing a game of credit and we’ll not be the part of it. “The prime purpose of this program is to remove the picture of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto,” says Nafeesa Shah of PPP. She further adds that the color scheme and branding of program matches with PTI’s flag color. Amid this political chaos, the people are yet to see the real leadership required to fight this pandemic.

Press Conferences against Each Other

Amid all this on-going political drama, CM Sindh Mr. Shah holds a press conference. He claims that Islamabad is not providing us the data of needy people which is kept under Benazir Income Support Program. He adds further and claims that the federal agencies are not cooperating with Sindh government.

To counter the version of Sindh government, PTI’s Sindh leaderships come upfront. Mr. Faisal Vawda and Mr. Syed Ali Zaidi blame Sindh government of doing politics in this national emergency, separately in their press conferences. They also claim that Sindh government takes all the credit in times of appreciation and puts all wrongs on Islamabad.

Not an Unusual Thing!

Though this pandemic exposes the serious political crisis in Pakistan, it is not the first time of collision. Whether it is a matter of selection of IGP Sindh or wheat shortage issue, a rift exists. There always is a tug of war between the two governments.

The shortage of wheat in the country also became the apple of discord. Islamabad blames Sindh government for not sending wheat for crushing on time. They claim that the storing it results in shortfall, and allege PPP for doing it.

However, it is time for us to realize that it is damaging Pakistan and its interests. It is also severely damaging the democratic norms of this country. And, of course it is in no one’s interest. If we are going to do politics even at such occasions, we are humiliating our democracy, our traditions, our culture and even our faith.

The Rift between Sindh and Islamabad is damaging the entire political landscape in Pakistan. It is the time that Islamabad must gather all political leadership and ensure that there is consensus to fight this pandemic. It will surely increase people’s will to fight the corona virus. And it will definitely help in creating a pleasant environment politically.


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