I witnessed the birth of the Pakistan People’s Party in 1967 under Z A Bhutto, its cyclical rise and eclipse under the charismatic leadership of Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto and its precipitous fall under Zardaris. In the wake of its humiliating defeat in the successive general elections of 2013 and 2018 in Punjab, KPK and Balochistan, Pakistan People’s Party started facing the most formidable challenge of its existence as a national political party. Realising the gravity of the challenge, Mr Asif Ali Zardari rushed the young Bilawal from the fence as chairman of the party. The most pertinent question asked then was whether Bilawal, working under the shadow of Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur, would be able to salvage the party in the above provinces and keep its political fortunes intact in Sindh. The question still looms large. Since its inception, the PPP has proved resilient in the face of adversity; ebbing and flowing through a sea of challenges and opportunities. However, there is a marked difference between the earlier challenges and the crisis it faces now. In the past, it confronted the tyranny of the Martial Law administrators or the hostile civilian Presidents aimed at weakening its appeal to the electorate. These adverse moves galvanized its rank and file to stand solidly behind Bhutto ladies. The party has that class of workers who, under adverse conditions, show formidable courage. During the dictatorial rule of Zia, they were subjected to harsh punishments. Their valour in the face of the barbarian punishments was indescribable. Since its inception, the PPP has proved resilient in the face of adversity; ebbing through a sea of challenges. As a result of the elections of 2008, Mr Zardari emerged as the sole arbiter of power dispensing political and administrative positions. He could have utilized this unique opportunity to address the chronic problem of good governance in the country and bring about tangible economic and social changes to meet the basic needs of the people. He failed to do so. His opponents kept attacking him with the full armoury of their verbal arsenal articulating the tales of corruption engulfing his cronies and succeeded in turning the public image of his governing teams into a league of forty thieves ganged together under their Ali Baba to plunder the precious resources of the country. The long judicial proceedings regarding the National Reconciliation Ordinance, the well-projected case of $60 million alleged to have been grabbed in kickbacks and stashed in Swiss Banks by Mr Zardari, and the Rental Power Projects added insult to the injury, destroying the popular appeal of the party he was leading into the subsequent general elections. The judgment pronounced on his cronies by the masses in the successive two elections was painfully harsh. All of them in Punjab and KPK met crushing defeats. Some of them faced serious corruption charges. Their liberty was saved by the abrupt regime change early this year and drastic alterations in the accountability laws. But surely they would have no deliverance from the unquantifiable infamy already pronounced on them by that blind force called ‘the populace’ by Burke. They would continue to live with virtue without an abomination within. The PPP was reduced to a regional party in the elections of 2013 and managed to form the provincial administration in Sindh. What the sympathizers expected was that the leadership might have learned a lesson from their past mistakes and would improve their governance this time around. Unfortunately, what they would see and hear, were the same insidious tales of corruption; the same open auction of lucrative jobs and positions; the same shameless loot of the precious lands of the province. In the three successive administrations of PPP in Sindh since 2008, the administrative structure of the province has been destroyed. The two landmark judgments of the Supreme Court against hundreds of bizarre appointments, illegal shoulder promotions, and mindless absorptions of non-cadre officials into cadre posts and deputations in personal pay and grade and reemployment of hordes of retired officials have reduced the administrative structure of Sindh into a pretty spectacular shambles. These are, indeed, reminiscent of the superlative cronyism and patronage usually associated with the nepotistic utilitarian states. Bilawal would have to act to save the rich political heritage of his grandfather and mother from shrivelling into a regional political group. This will be harmful to the rightful position of Sindh as the second largest federating unit of the country. We need a strong Sindh-based national political party in Islamabad for obvious reasons. Either in power or opposition, Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto was rightfully viewed as a fortified wall against any invasion of the political and economic rights of Sindh by the Federation. The recent flash floods in the province have exposed the anti-people role of the corrupt landlords clustering in the PPP. The local media is revealing incredible tales of their audacious acts of causing breaches in dykes, saline channels and canals to divert the flood waters away from their agricultural farms and villages and drown large swaths of the province. The administration just stood as a helpless spectator. Now, we read about the pilferage of the relief goods in connivance with the district administration. The notoriety of this scandal compelled the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court to direct the district Session Judges to oversee and ensure the fair distribution of the relief goods. The judges have raided godowns and warehouses to retrieve loads of unlawfully stored relief goods. The public anger against the district administration, provincial Ministers and PPP leaders is increasing by leaps and bounds. They are confronted, hackled and pushed around by the desperate flood victims. This could be the harbinger of a big mishap in this hapless province. The PPP has lost large swaths of political space paving the way for other national political parties to step in and root out Bhutto’s political heritage forever. The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books.