Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has finally returned to the pavilion after playing his maiden innings controversially.
Nobody, except skipper Asif Ali Zardari and Mirza himself, knows when his second innings will begin.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah is not in the know either. Shah only knows that he is now the in charge of the home department after Mirza’s exit.
Mirza’s cabinet colleagues only know that he was removed because of the pressure from their coalition partner, MQM.
The chief minister claimed that Mirza was ill and going abroad for treatment. But friends and cabinet colleagues of Mirza said that he was fit and healthy.
He started his innings as an opener and stayed at the crease for over three years and played his innings well. Party leaders and workers are happy with his performance but not the MQM.
The MQM had decided on several occasions to quit the coalition in Sindh as well as in the Center, but the party stayed in the coalition after President Zardari intervened and managed to win it back.
Relations between the Muttahida and Mirza were never good, and the MQM always blamed him for backing the People’s Aman Committee. The PPP made two formal agreements with the MQM and assured them that Mirza would not act against them.
However, Mirza always defied his party on this issue and took positions against the coalition partner.
This defiance made him popular among the party workers as well as among the nationalist groups. PPP MPAs always applauded him in the assembly whenever he spoke against the MQM to the media.
On being criticised for supporting the ANP, Mirza always said he was a friends’ friend and an enemies’ enemy. He proved his motto so many times.
Mirza has, nevertheless, made a deal with his boss to have his trusted man, Sharjeel Inam Memon, appointed as a provincial minister.
Memon was administered the oath of office as information minister by Governor Dr Isratul Ebad on Wednesday evening. When Sharmila Farooqi was removed from the post of adviser to the chief minister on information a few months ago, Memon was then rumoured to be the next information minister.
When Memon had befriended Zulfiqar Mirza he was given the charge of the information cell which he established near the Bilawal House.
Memon eventually became the right-hand man of Mirza in his fight against the MQM. The PPP fulfilled the wishes of Mirza by appointing Memon as minister.
He is facing charges of contempt of court in the Supreme Court and his appointment as minister seems to be a message that the party will stand by him.
By: Tahir Hassan Khan