PESHAWAR: Outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari faces the daunting task of reorganising the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after he completes his five-year tenure as the head of state – a first in the country’s history.
PPP leaders, at least in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), are hoping the party co-chairman revamps the provincial leadership after its sizable defeat in the general elections at the hands of new entrants fielded by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The party seems to be in a state of hibernation in K-P since the May 11 general elections, soon after which PPP Provincial President Anwar Saifullah Khan tendered his resignation. Saifullah accepted responsibility for the party’s loss and took the fall for it.
A source privy to details told The Express Tribune that other provincial senior office bearers along with Saifullah handed in their resignation, but the president rejected them. He claimed Saifullah is abroad due to his daughter’s sickness and is likely to return soon. “Saifullah Khan may not continue, however, as he did not seem interested in running the party’s affairs, which is why he resigned,” the source said.
“Soon after the elections, there were only one or two meetings held to discuss the party’s standing. Since then, senior ranking members have remained silent.”
The party’s re-organisation and membership drive also remains in limbo for the past three months. Workers remain hopeful though that Zardari will focus on the party’s affairs soon after completing his presidential tenure.
“Zardari is likely to visit Peshawar after leaving the presidency on September 9,” the source claimed. He said they are awaiting instructions from the party’s central leadership with respect to re-organisation.
“We are ready for an overhaul, but the leadership is yet to pay attention to the party’s organisation,” the source claimed. “Currently, we are observing the PTI government’s performance.” He added the party’s restructuring will be completed before local bodies elections are held in the province.
Senior PPP leader Rahimdad Khan says a visit by Zardari to Peshawar does not seem to be on the cards as yet. He said the president will go to Lahore on September 8 to meet the party’s Punjab leadership and then return to Islamabad to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the new president. He is likely to proceed to Lahore or Karachi following this and there are no immediate plans to visit Peshawar, he added.
“The president will visit the provinces and discuss issues faced by the party. He had handed over the party’s affairs to other people because of his office as president,” Rahimdad said.
Another party insider claimed PPP’s provincial chapter had sent a summary to the central leadership to dissolve the party’s setup in K-P, but no action has been taken to this end.
Rahimdad denied any such summary was sent. He confirmed President Zardari is likely to focus his energy on re-organisation once he completes his tenure.
PPP’s provincial information secretary Liaquat Shabab could not be reached for comments despite several attempts.
Source: Express Tribune