The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership has decided to replace Punjab PPP President Manzoor Wattoo with Qamar Zaman Kaira, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, Kaira’s appointment had been approved by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a recent meeting held in Dubai.
“Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo was not invited to Dubai where major decisions were taken,” the source said.
During Wattoo’s tenure, the party lost the seats which it had won in the 2008 elections. The PPP had won 35 National Assembly seats in Punjab in 2008, but it could win only one seat in the May 2013 polls. The party also won 80 Punjab Assembly seats in 2008, but managed to win only one seat in 2013 elections.
Former president Asif Zardari wanted to take advantage of the increasing unpopularity of the PML-N government among industrialists, small businessmen and traders due to prolonged load shedding, rising inflation and water shortage, the source maintained.
“The PPP leadership wants to reclaim Punjab from the PML-N and the PTI. Hence, change of guards is being finalized. It is likely that Zamurd Khan would be appointed general secretary. Rest would be younger faces who are Bilawal loyalists,” he said, adding that other changes were also being discussed and would soon be announced.
The source said that Wattoo had resigned soon after the PPP’s defeat in the general elections.
“Later, Wattoo got a boost when his son, Khurram Jahangir Wattoo, won a Punjab Assembly seat in by-elections. This gave him some respite and he was asked to continue until reorganisation of the party,” the source added.
When contacted, Kaira, former information minister, said that discussions were being made for the party’s reorganisation. However, he declined to confirm whether his name had been approved for replacing Wattoo.
“It is not necessary that Wattoo sahib is changed. It is premature to read the party leadership’s mind for now,” he said, but admitted that the party would be soon reorganised.