While watching televised brawls in parliament has always been a guilty pleasure for Pakistanis, PTI MPAs in Sindh gave us a naya twist this week, fighting with their own party members. Problems began a few days back when three PTI MPAs said they would not back the party’s candidates in the Senate elections because they were not taken on board when tickets were being awarded. This has been seen as a win for the PPP, which controls the Sindh Assembly and will likely get all three votes.
This week, when the trio entered the Sindh Assembly, some PTI members got into a shouting match with them. This quickly degenerated into a scuffle, where PPP members were also apparently involved. Once the dust settled, the action movie turned into a mystery-drama that dissident MPA Karim Bux Gabol had been “kidnapped”. Notably, Gabol also accused his own party of failing to deliver since the 2018 elections.
A PTI member claimed that all three dissidents had been kidnapped by ‘someone’, but in a plot twist, dissident Muhammad Aslam Abro said he had not been ‘disappeared’ and only Gabol was missing. He accused the PTI of taking Gabol away. Later, other PTI leaders accused the PPP of abducting Gabol and that his video criticising the PTI was made “under pressure”.
We had now transitioned into a whodunnit hostage story. PM’s Special Assistant Shahbaz Gill put on his detective hat to ‘reveal’ that it was the PPP that had taken Gabol away. As proof, he said the background in the video was similar to one seen in pictures shared by PPP leaders on social media.
A comedic ‘C’ plot also developed when a PTI leader accused journalists of being PPP agents for asking about the brawl. This, however, was resolved quickly with an apology, albeit with a few ‘buts’ involved. Unfortunately, the day ended with none of the loose plot threads resolved. We have no answers for the whodunnit or even a resolution to the ‘B’ plot. We will probably have to wait for the next episode — likely after the Senate election results are confirmed — to see how this saga ends.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2021.