- PPP divided as Punjab leaders think party’s support to PML-N has badly damaged party’s public image, fear ‘wipe-out’ from three provinces
- Punjab group wants party’s nod to attend Azadi March, Dr Qadri’s show
- Kaira admits party’s Punjab chapter ‘agitated, enraged’ over victimisation of Punjab leaders
- Bilawal gives Gilani license to attack PML-N, prime minister
Pakistan Today has learnt that cracks have emerged in the top leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) over certain policy issues and the party is expected to fizzle out publicly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) after a major group being led by former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will violate policy on the party’s unequivocal support to the ruling party, Imran Khan’s Azadi March and some other issues.
Well-placed sources in the former ruling party said that PPP’s Gilani had taken a bold decision with a tacit approval from party’s chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to make public attacks on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government in the coming days.
A PPP leader from Punjab told Pakistan Today that the party’s top leaders in Punjab and KP were unhappy with the party’s policy over certain national issues and they believed that their political future was in danger due to party’s silence over these issues.
“Let’s call this group as Punjab Group led by Gilani and assisted by his close aides Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Nadeem Afzal Gondal, Shaukat Basra and others. All these leaders think that the PPP co-chairman’s policy of lending unconditional support to the PML-N government has badly damaged the party’s image among public and it was going to vanish from the political landscape if immediate intervention was not made,” the PPP leader said.
SPLIT IN PPP SINDH & PUNJAB:
The PPP leader said that for politicians, it was a must to raise public issues but the party’s absence from the political scene had badly damaged the party’s public image.
“We feel that Zardari was happy to have his government in Sindh and he was hoping that the PML-N would not press cases against him and his close aides. However, at the same time, party leaders in Punjab, KP and Balochistan felt disenchanted. PPP has almost been cleansed from Balochistan and same will happen in Punjab and KP if the party did not return to its strength,” the source added.
PPP’S SELECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY:
The source said that the PPP’s leaders were also upset on the selective accountability of the party leaders.
None of the party leaders from Sindh had been victimised by the PML-N government while all cases were registered against top leaders from Punjab, including former premiers Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Nazar Gondal and others.
“We think that the PPP leaders of Sindh, led by opposition leader Khurshid Shah, are happy to enjoy alliance with PML-N as neither they are being targeted nor their political future is under threat. However in Punjab, our political future is being threatened due to PTI and other minnows. One can assess the threat to the PPP leaders by the fact that we failed to find a candidate in the recent by-elections held for a provincial assembly constituency,” the PPP leader said.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZAZRADRI, BB’S POLITICS:
Referring to the politics of PPP’s martyred chairwoman Benazir Bhutto, the PPP leader said that the party’s martyred leader never remained absent from public issues and she used to respond to issues like bad governance, price hike and load shedding.
“However, the PPP under Zardari is sleeping on such issues. We need to take a stand and raise these issues otherwise we will be nowhere in terms of politics,” the source said, adding that the emergence of Dr Qadri’s party like PTI had only been possible due to the political space created by none other than PPP.
He added that this group was upset over the party’s silence over certain issues, including the party’s line adopted over the PML-N government’s tensions with the Establishment, Imran Khan-led Azadi March, the killings of workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and massive hours of load shedding during the holy month of Ramazan.
The PPP leader added that Gilani had already unleashed an attack on PML-N by talking about a deal with the Establishment over a safe passage to former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf.
“This is only an effort to soften and please the Establishment which is unhappy with the government over Musharraf’s trial,” a source in the party said, adding that more lethal attacks would come soon.
The source said that Gilani and his comrades thought it was right time for the PPP to take a stance over major political issues or the party would be eaten up by other political powers like PTI.
PPP MAY ATTEND AZADI MARCH:
“There is a proposal raised by Gilani and some other party leaders to send some party leaders to attend Imran Khan’s Azadi March as a goodwill gesture. We think that the party leaders should also attend anti-government public meetings planed by Dr Qadri and PML-Q leaders just so that PPP could be dubbed as an opposition party,” the PPP leader said, adding that the matter would be discussed soon with the party’s chairman and co-chairman.
However, the PPP leader ruled out any anti-government protest movement to be launched by PPP itself in near future as the party lacked a nod from the top, public support and even courage to go solo.
KAIRA ADMITS FISSURES IN PPP SINDH, PUNJAB:
When contacted, PPP’s Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira admitted of a thinking pattern among some PPP leaders of Punjab, stating that the PML-N’s Punjab government had adopted a course of vengeance and selective accountability was being conducted against PPP leaders.
“Though we have governments in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan other than Sindh, but the Punjab government has adopted a politics of witch-hunt against PPP leaders. Perhaps they think us as their enemies and the highhandedness of Punjab administration is still continuing. It seems that the PML-N leaders have learnt nothing from the past experiences and neither do they want to implement the Charter of Democracy (CoD),” he said.
Kaira said that this was the reason that the PPP Punjab leaders’ attitude towards PML-N government was not only agitating but also they were furious on being targeted by the Punjab government.
About PTI’s Azadi March against poll rigging of 2013, Kaira said that it was actually PPP leader Asif Zardari who had termed the election of 2013 engineered by the returning officers (ROs).
“PTI raised the issue later. However, we have decided not to launch an anti-government movement as the law enforcement agencies are already battling against terrorists,” he concluded.