PPP gets deeper into trouble as another senior leader forms pressure group

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AAMIR MAJEED

Days after former Sindh home minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Dr Zulfiqar Mirza announced formation of his own party, another senior leader of PPP Iqbal Yousaf, who served as PPP Karachi division president twice besides holding various positions in PPP Sindh, has formed a pressure group for the removal of co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister MNA Faryal Talpur.

Yousaf has demanded party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to remove Asif Ali Zardari and his team and to revive the party by giving due representation to the provinces in the party’s central executive committee. Yousuf has also announced to field his candidates in the upcoming Local Government (LG) election in Karachi.

PPP senior leader Iqbal Yousuf has named his party Bhutto Benazir Group (BBG). However, he made it clear that he won’t merge his group with former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza’s party in future.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Yousaf said that he had been serving PPP since 1969 and that he had played a key role in strengthening PPP in Sindh. He claimed that workers of PPP under the Zardari group had felt disenfranchised.

“I have decided to form a group to get ‘orphaned workers’ together under one umbrella to accomplish the mission of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,” he said.

“I have formed a group, not a political party,” Yousaf clarified. “PPP is a political party, but Zardari group is running it as a private company. If PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accepts our demands and removes Asif Ali Zardari and his sister MNA Faryal Talpur from the party, we will rejoin PPP,” he said.

Discussing his future plans, he said that he would field his candidates in the upcoming local bodies’ election. “I have directed my followers to choose the best people irrespective of their political affiliations to field them in LG elections,” Yousaf said, and added, “Political worker of any party, who is willing to contest LG polls and cannot get a ticket, can contest election on the BBG platform in Karachi.”

“I have submitted an application to the Election Commission (EC) to allow our candidates to contest polls on BBG ticket,” Yousaf said. “If we think that PPP candidate is better than our selected candidate, then we will withdraw our candidate in his favour.”

Responding to a question, he claimed that he accepted Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the new chairman of PPP but that he would not accept ‘opportunists’ around him.

PPP Sindh General Secretary Senator Taj Haider said while talking to Pakistan Today, that formation of a new group would result in ‘anarchy’ within the party.

“Yousaf might become a tool for establishment willingly or unwillingly in the future,” Haider said. “I will not call Yousaf as an agent of establishment,” he continued, “but past experiences suggest that establishment divides party in groups first before getting rid of it.”

He said that Yousaf left the party after developing differences with the leadership. “This is not the right way to get your demands accepted,” Haider said. “I will appeal to him to rejoin PPP and play his due role in strengthening the party,” he continued.