PPP mounts prepoll offensive with president’s visits

Published: April 23, 2012

Zardari hints at including Sahiwal division into south Punjab. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: 

After his Lahore outbursts, the president made two more key stop-overs in Punjab – one to Multan and the other to Okara.

The visits by President Asif Ali Zardari are the official beginning of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Punjab strategy for the next general elections which are under a year away, sources privy to the plan told The Express Tribune.

The PPP’s plan comprises a number of estimations. First, it will look to consolidate its strongholds in Punjab. According to officials, the PPP has 51 directly-elected members of the National Assembly from Punjab.

Here the PPP will up its game politically, with visits by high-level members, including the president himself, and rolling out large chunks of development funds. The projects in these areas will be announced by President Zardari himself, according to sources. In tandem, the prime minister is already actively touring southern Punjab districts.

Having travelled to Multan earlier, where the president announced a number of projects, the president played up the Seraiki/south Punjab province rhetoric.

A few days later, on Friday, President Zardari visited Okara district, where he also inaugurated a number of projects. The exact location of the projects and his visit is interesting.

Okara district is located in the Sahiwal division – which comprises Sahiwal, Okara and Pakpattan districts. Sahiwal district is the headquarters of the division, which has a total of 12 MNA seats – seven held by PPP, four by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one by PML-Q.

However the president visited and based himself exclusively in Okara – where there are five MNA seats, all of which are held by PPP candidates. Other areas, traditionally strongholds of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), were ignored completely. The seats are held by prominent PPP leaders such as Manzoor Wattoo and Sumsam Bukhari.

President Zardari inaugurated some key projects, among which was the Benazir Education City, Sweet Homes – the keys of which were distributed among farmers hailing from district Okara, some PPP strongholds in Sahiwal districts. Pakpattan was completely ignored, being a PML-N stronghold.

Ignoring these areas for now is a gamble – but a considered one. Sources in PPP told The Express Tribune that the party’s study of Sahiwal division, and other similar ones, resulted in the conclusion that they would let PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) duke it out in districts Sahiwal and Pakpattan in the upcoming election. PTI has already recruited many hot candidates from these districts. The sources said PPP would later see how it could take advantage of the PML-N-PTI head-to-head.

Another interesting aspect of this area is whether or not the PPP looks to have it included in the south Punjab province push. PML-N is reluctant to include it in South Punjab but President Zardari during a meeting with representatives of the area expressed his willingness to include the division in south Punjab.

The president’s next visit will be to Bahawalpur and then back towards Gujrat.

Correction: Gujrat was misspelt in an earlier version of this article. The correction has been made.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • Apr 23, 2012 - 9:37AM

    Gujrat or Gurjat?

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  • Atif Razzaq
    Apr 23, 2012 - 9:56AM

    How they are thinking they will elect for the next election?????
    Inshallah this Azaab inform of Government will go soon. And next time if the election will be fair and the people of pakistan give vote to the Government like PPP,PML-N and other corrupt Governmet then it means they donnot want to true Leadership.
    These kind of Govt. just takecare about their personal Assets not the people of Pakistan.
    Please think when give the vote…..
    Regards

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  • Ahmad
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:09AM

    HH Zardari should consider the entire presnt Punjab into so-called Southern Punjab..

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  • Beatle
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:20AM

    ET Edoterial Staff, Please do not present political commentary as news.

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  • Kaleem
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:23AM

    “Pakpattan was completely ignored, being a PML-N stronghold.”

    We don’t want such biased president. PPP will receive historic bashing in next elections, for depriving us of electricity, food and peace. We are not horde of sheep.

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  • Jan Sher
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Its time that Mr. Percent must start revealing his looted wealth that he empties the PAK treasury than to issue such idiotic statement about dividing provinces according to his own will. Who is he. The Monarch, a dictator or even worse? This nation has enough of him. In the last 4 years what he and his criminal cronies has looted the nation, the nation’s debts are doubled. I think warrants of embazzelements of Funds, Treason and other criminal charges be registered against all his cronies including Mr. Ten percent. May God save the nation from Mr. Ten Percent and His criminal son.

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  • Chilli
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:33AM

    Supporting PPP in this election means end to one’s political career. All politicians should stay away from PPP and either join separate parties or run as independent candidate.

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  • Rehman
    Apr 23, 2012 - 11:19AM

    The point is why PPP os assessing only those seats where PMLN and PTI are going to face other. Why PTI is not active in any regions where there is ppp weather it is Sindh or parts of Punjab is another question needs to be answered. ? Why PTI is not actively campaigning in any region of PPP in Punjab that now even PPP dont consider PTI a threat but actually supporting PTI against PMLN?

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  • Zameer
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:40PM

    PTI is nowhere to be found in PPP dominated regions and PPP is now considering PTI as a strategic asset against PMLN to have a smaller opposition next time and they will win again.

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  • Sheikh A. Bukhara
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Reading the comments, I find it amazing how much the chattering English medium class is out of touch with the ground reality of electoral politics in Pakistan. These people cannot comprehend why the PPP is so popular despite all the corruption propaganda. they’re going to have another surprise the morning after the election.

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  • Rehman
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:52PM

    Yesterday i saw an interview in which ppp included Mianwali in South Punjab which is actually in north of Punjab or upper Punjab. And now Sahiwal which is actually in Upper Punjab is included in South. Someone please give geography lessons to ppp.

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  • Adnan Ajmal
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:58PM

    We expect nothing good from such a corrupt President and Prime Minister. What they have given to Pakistan during last four years? They dont respect honourable courts. They are doing maximum corruption. Inflation, lawlessness and load shedding are at peak in the country. Economic situation is very unhealthy. I request Pakistani people to reject these corrupt persons in the coming elections.

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  • hunain
    Apr 23, 2012 - 1:03PM

    If people get flattened with these tactics, then humari Quom ka Allah hi malik hai!!!

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  • pakistani
    Apr 23, 2012 - 1:05PM

    the big acheivements of zardari.

    forced real estate purchases in clifton, blockage of public passages in and around clifton area, forced land purchases in nawabshah and nodero…………..all in name of ‘presidential security. after sometime these lands will be developed to build huge residential / commercial properties. indeed he knows how to make a quick buck.

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  • Zabandraz
    Apr 23, 2012 - 1:18PM

    Isn’t this another form of pre poll rigging???

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  • Atif Razzaq
    Apr 23, 2012 - 1:31PM

    Devil’s Team
    The head of the Devil and Devil’s Team is preparing themself for the next election.Unfortunatly, i have a doubt that they will elect again ………………
    They already destroy our lovely Pakistan in regard of :
    Economy
    Suicide Bombing
    Corruption
    Dishonesty
    No Proffesionalism
    So please donnot goive this time vote to this and other devil’s. Try to give your vote to a geniune leader who can really takecare of the people instead of taking care of their own Bank balance and assets
    Regards

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  • Vigilant
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:21PM

    Incentives for Jayalas……….typical PPP move……..nothing new

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  • Hakeem
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:54PM

    ppp mounts prepoll offensive with presidents visits simply means peoples money is being burnt mercilessly for election campaign!!

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  • Beatle
    Apr 23, 2012 - 4:17PM

    @Atif Razzaq:
    I got your point, that if IK & Co gets through, it will be fair, otherwise rigged election elections. Is that what you mean?

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  • Saad
    Apr 23, 2012 - 5:07PM

    @Sheikh A. Bukhara:

    True indeed my friend. Perhaps it would help the chattering middle classes to get hold of ground realities them selves. PPP is poised to win the next elections with a three digit return to the assembly in Islamabad.

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  • Rehman
    Apr 23, 2012 - 11:04PM

    Zardari-haters, for genuine reasons or personal vendetta, had been predicting that he would not spend New Year’s Eve in the Presidency. Making that a starting point for the PPP government to get squashed or emasculated, our fortune-tellers have been projecting different scenarios. This has not happened and the PPP government, along with President Zardari, is still in place. Media pundits have been forecasting on the basis of their past experiences when, apparently, the overthrow or demise of the ruler at the top, resulted in a total overhaul or change of the system. But in current scenario any move to dislodge incumbent stake holders of Govt would open a new chapter of clash. However President Zardari or the PPP government is mandated by masses for the five years, could be sent packing only by an outright military takeover, although some forces are using Judiciary instead of military at this point. It might also be a wise tactics to create situation by using Judiciary, so that military top brass forced to crush the democratic Govt under its boots. In fact this situation does augur well neither for PPP and democracy nor for Judiciary. Judiciary must avoid the clash if does want to keep its respect in minds and hearts of people.

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  • khurram kaleem
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:17AM

    i think PTI and imran are toxic assets of mr zardari against people of punjab and khyber pukhtunwa.

    Zardari should be given Double PHD in politics!!!!

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  • Mirza
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:39AM

    The next election results are not going to be any different from the last elections. In addition Zardari is going to stay as president because of the provincial assemblies and would have majority in the senate. Eat your heart out, people have spoken time and again for the PPP who has not run away from sacrifices. All the voters cannot be bought and all of them are not stupid. Let us respect the rural majority even if they are not vocal elite.

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