Multan offers no choice, either
August 19, 2011
Does someone among you remember the times when Shahbaz Sharif used to sing the verses of Habib Jalib? He used to warn of bloody revolution if the problems of the commoners were not duly addressed.
Sharifs as well as the rest of the political clans that emerged successful in the 2008 general elections have prolonged their rule without bringing any positive change in the lives of the people.
Not only the opponents of the General Pervez regime have entered into the corridors of power, but also his staunch ally is also in the ruling camp.
For all this, everybody should be thankful to the vision of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, who proudly says he is a businessman and wants to make the country a hub of regional trade, for taking all and sundry on board while he is in the driving seat.
One of Zardari’s unique choices is premier Gilani, who has been tasked, other than heading cabinet meetings and taking hold of the seat of the House of the Leader in Parliament, dealing with Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of the province which he belongs.
Lahore and Multan both have benefited during last three years. At least Rs.32 billion has been spent on the premier’s home town. How much Lahore has consumed? You just imagine. The lions deserve more share than any body in the jungle. Does any body have statistics of the expenditure on the Ring Road?
One is not sure whether Multan needs more next time. All the efforts of the premier are now for Southern Punjab, which understandably has suffered during past sixty-four years as well as during the times Sharifs are in-charge of the province.
God knows what came into his mind that he announced this March such a plan in Jalalpur Pirwala, a town on the northern bank of the Sutlej River that falls in the constituency of his brother. The first and immediate reminder came from nowhere but from the other side of the river: “Bahawalpur will go its own way”.
Premier Gilani thinks, perhaps, believes that after spending the whole funds of Southern Punjab on Multan, his city, now qualifies for the position to be the centre of regional politics. Gossips are there that his son has started receiving the protocol of the chief minister of the province his father has proposed.
Mr. Gilani has amended his stance a little bit on August 14 when he was in his hometown to inaugurate a project completed in record time of one year. He did not mention ‘Saraiki province’ in his speech, but repeatedly talked about Southern Punjab. He did say that the politics of reconciliation will continue, but it should not be taken as the sign of his government’s weakness.
How Takht-e-Lahore has responded to the call of dividing Punjab? The PML-N has come up with a plan to create four provinces rather raising hopes in Potohar, Thal and Bahawalpur. Besides that, it has started paying more attention to Sindh where PPP-MQM alliance has become a cause of outrage among the Sindhi nationalists and they are up in sleeves in Karachi and elsewhere in the province.
I am not against Multan or Multanis, but it is fact that I belong to the other side of the Sutlej River where people are trying to adjust with the ground realities that have surfaced after the drying up of the Sutlej River.
Being pressed hard by the hot winds blowing from Thar Desert, which Bahawalpur makes a part, does not mean that we will cross over to Multan, for it will take enough time to undo our belief that Multanis are swindlers. Why they simply don’t talk about ‘Multan province’? Politics is about material interests, why it should be done in the name of language/ ethnicity?