Tuesday Oct 18, 2016
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A die-hard Pakistan People’s Party activist manages to live off Rs15000 a year. He is happy.
Comrade Azhar Ali fondly remembered as Samba Shah became part of the PPP in the early 70s when the party was in its formative years. After that there was no going back.
Dressed in black kurta, a red cloth on his shoulders, he roams around the streets selling partridges to anyone who wants them—he has few desires and fewer belongings.
He revers the party founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. “Bhutto Sahib was extraordinary. He treated the rich and poor with the same amount of respect.”
“He told me the party flag had three colours, and each colour explained the party ideology,” he said. “The red is for blood, give this movement blood. Then black, remove darkness around you. And green, make this country green.”
Samba Shah has never been to school. But he reads the newspaper every day. And he laughs at people who change party loyalties.
He met Benazir Bhutto once before she was shot dead and his face lights up when he talks about her. “It was a moment. I am in the last stages of my life but I still remember that meeting. When I saw her she was all around me. She was Benazir”
For him the party is everything. “I have given my life to the party ideology. Even if they don’t care. I am talking about the senior workers. When I die I will hold them accountable up there.”