Which new virus is hitting Pakistan?

Published: 11:25 AM, 1 Oct, 2021
Which new virus is hitting Pakistan?
Caption: Bilawal Bhutto welcoming Sanaullah Zehri and Qadir Baloch into PPP fold. (File photo)
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

Pakistan, like other countries, has been experiencing deadly coronavirus for the past couple of years. So far, over 27,000 people have lost their lives in the country and another 1.2 million have been affected because of this pandemic. As a result of measures taken by the government, the severity of infection has considerably come down, although nobody is in a position to say how long it may take to banish it. 

While the fight against this contagion is going on, another deadly virus is rearing its head. 

The new virus, experts recall, was also seen in the past but it disappeared with the passage of time.  

The prevailing situation is very conducive for the new contagion and it can be said with a degree of certainty that it will spread in the times ahead. 

A particular class of people is the target of the new virus

Those suffering from the new virus have a feeling of suffocation and want to change the environment as on this change depends improvement of their health. 

It has been noticed that the victims of the new contagion – on bed or while moving on roads – curse themselves for whatever they have been doing in the past and want to change their friends, colleagues at the earliest. 

Observers say that the new virus first targets the conscience of its victims, as a result of which anything like ideology becomes irrelevant for them. Hope for material gains, high offices and powers serve as antidote for them. These ambitions, in fact, blind them.   

Two former chief ministers – Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Sanaullah Zehri – of Sindh and Balochistan, respectively, have been hit by the new virus, which is political in nature. 

Former interior minister Abdul Qadir Baloch is also among the victims.  

All three were once with the PML-N but, but hit by new virus, they have now joined hands with the PTI and PPP. 

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari personally welcomed Mr Zehri and retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch to the PPP. 

Instead of discouraging the trend of changing loyalties Bilawal said the new additions would help the PPP become stronger and win the next elections. 

"The manner in which you have joined the party, we will give strength to each other and will work hard side-by-side and struggle," he told the new entrants. "In the coming general elections — in the whole country but especially in Balochistan — we will establish a PPP government and find solutions to Balochistan's problems."

He mentioned the names of other personalities who also joined the PPP — former provincial minister Nawab Mohammad Khan Shahwani (National Party) and former minister retired Col Younis Changizi (PML-Q) — and thanked them for doing so, saying they would become "our power". 

Zehri and Baloch had quit the PML-N in November 2020 along with their supporters after they were not invited to attend a public meeting organised by the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on December 25. 

They had also strongly reacted to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s speech against the army chief and head of the Inter-Services Intelligence during a PDM rally in Gujranwala. 

Then, only a few days ago, ex-chief minister of Sindh and PML-N leader, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, along with former minister of state for water and power Syed Zafar Ali Shah, and Barrister Murtaza Mahesar joined the PTI, a strong opponent of the PML-N. 

Ghous Ali Shah had served as the Sindh Chief Minister (1985–1988) in the Zia-ul-Haq regime and later as advisor to the prime minister for affairs of the province of Sindh, with powers of chief minister and status of a federal minister in June 1999. 

He also remained the defence minister from 1991–1993 and the education minister from 1997–1999 (all PML-N terms). 

The severest attack of the political virus was witnessed during Gen Musharraf’s rule when most of the Nawaz Sharif loyalists joined the PML headed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.  

Likewise, leaders once considered close to Benazir Bhutto joined the General’s camp after setting up a forward bloc. 

The victims of this virus enjoyed powers – and also escaped accountability during this period. 

However, as the political situation changed in the country and Gen Musharraf and PML were shown the door, the same elements made another strategic move. The PML-N turncoats returned to their party, assuring their leader of their unwavering loyalty.   

The three-time former prime minister did not decline entry to anyone on account of their cooperation with the military ruler. 

Such flexibility, driven by expediency, is responsible for the virus of loyalty change. 

The virus will spread as the elections get closer.

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.