Bilawal reshuffle leaves PPP headless in Punjab and 36 districts

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Monday, May 16, 2016

RAWALPINDI: Following the dissolution of local organisations by party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in April, the PPP remains headless in Punjab, as well as in 36 districts in the province.

Bilawal dissolved party organisations in the four provinces on April 13, and appointed five member committees for the reorganisation of the party in Punjab and Sindh.

The Punjab committee comprises Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Chaudhry Farooq, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Nadeen Asghar Kaira and Chaudhry Manzoor. It remains undecided on recommendations for provincial and district heads.

A senior party leader told Dawn that the committee would soon visit each district to get names from party workers. However, he added that Mr Ashraf and the other members have not given time for this visit.

Lack of local, provincial PPP organisations could cause distance between workers, leadership

“The party will face problems in the upcoming elections on special seats of the local government, mayors and chairmen of the district council – in the absence of party organisation, the party’s local leaders will not be able to support party workers,” he said.

The party leader said distance between workers and leadership would emerge in absence of party organisation. He said the Punjab caretaker committee held two meetings with former district and city presidents and party ticket holders on Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13, in Lahore which were fruitful.

He said the committee would recommend names to the party chairperson to appoint provincial and district heads, but this would take three to four months. In the meantime the mantle of the main opposition party in Punjab will be passed to the PTI, as the party cannot act as the opposition without a leader.

Mohammad Amjad, a senior party worker, said the party would appoint new office bearers to bridge the gap between the workers and the party. He said it should consult workers and supporters to ensure that the right people are brought into the organisation, to resolve problems facing the party’s workers.

Mr Amjad said senior workers from Rawalpindi and Islamabad had repeatedly asked the leadership to change the local level leadership, particularly after the 2013 elections, but the leadership had turned a blind eye.

Other senior party workers are not hopeful about the party’s revival, as new office bearers could be appointed in a year’s time and the caretaker setup will run affairs.

“We already have no representative in Rawalpindi, as the party office was not active for the last eight years. The workers were invited on the occasion of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and BB’s birth and death anniversaries only, and were left unattended on other occasions,” said Mohammad Afzal, who is a veteran worker from the city areas.

He said over the last nine years, most of the active workers had joined the PTI and the party had not made any efforts to bring them back into the fold.

“Imran Hayat, Babu Idrees and other senior workers left the party. However, Zamrud Khan, the former MNA of the party, did not take an interest in the party affairs in the cantonment areas and he even tried to make an alliance with the PTI for his supporter to win the seat in the cantonment elections,” he said.

When contacted, former PPP City president Amir Fida Paracha said: “[The party] will soon announce the new office bearers in Punjab to reorganize the party. Former provincial presidents are being consulted by the party leadership to appoint the true faces of the party in the province,” he said.

He said it was necessary to reorganise the party in the province, especially after the 2013 elections. 

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