Uzair Jan Baloch declared on Saturday that the banned People’s Aman Committee was severing all ties with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) “for good”.
Soon after the declaration, former PPP activist Shah Jahan Baloch said that party flags had been removed from various parts of Lyari.
Within an hour, a large group of women was prepared to march towards the Bilawal House, where they would reportedly burn party flags to protest against the ongoing police operation in the troubled area.
With the operation set to “go on till all criminals are arrested,” as claimed by IG Sindh Mushtaq Shah in an interview, it seems that the grievances of Lyariites are not going to be addressed anytime soon. Also, the police are making sure that none of the wanted suspects flee the area. This means another week of violence, say police officials.
Speaking to The News over the phone, Uzair Baloch said that PPP was busy “appeasing its coalition partners”, which was affecting Lyari. About the increase in crime and violence in the area, he said that extortionists and mafias were found in every corner of Karachi. He asked: “Why are we being treated differently?”
The PAC leader said that the people of Lyari were being targeted today because “we are asking for better jobs and want a change in the area. We have decided it is better to part ways for good this time,” he maintained.
As for the forces the PAC would possibly want to align with, Uzair said they had been approached by various political parties such as the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI), “but we’ll decide only after consulting senior activists and elders.”
For many, the decision to sever ties with the PPP was not that surprising as people in Lyari had anticipated it for a long time. It however came as a setback for the PPP, which got the bulk of its votes from Lyari.
A senior activist from the area, on the condition of anonymity, said the PAC disassociated itself from the PPP after all the people of Lyari were labelled ‘criminals’, while public support for the ruling party had dwindled a long time ago.
“What are we left with? There is no food and no jobs and I can say for a fact that the situation would be similar if we choose to be with another political party,” he said.
The cracks in PPP and Lyari’s ‘love-hate’ relationship started appearing as an operation aimed at uprooting criminals was initiated earlier in the month and resulted in the death of a wanted criminal named Saqib.
Announcements were made by PAC workers warning people through the loudspeakers of various mosques not to attend the death anniversary of PPP’s founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 5. With the sort of clout the PAC holds in the area, no one stepped out.