The Pakistan People Party (PPP) has suffered a big blow in Punjab as its two top office-bearers and members of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) have refused to contest elections 2013, on party tickets.
Sources told Express Investigation Cell (EIC) that repeated efforts from the top party leadership have failed to persuade the estranged party office-bearers to contest the elections on PPP tickets. The pair has also ignored a special message of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Rana Aftab Khan, a former president of PPP Punjab chapter, refused to become a PPP candidate for PP-63 on the grounds that the party has failed to deliver during its five-year rule. Khan has won this seat thrice (1988, 1993 and 2002) as a PPP candidate. During his 15-year-long association with the PPP, Khan has held various offices before becoming president of the party’s Punjab chapter.
Khan had developed differences with Raja Riaz, former opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly over intra-party issues. This pushed Khan into isolation as he was not taken in the loop over the party matters in Punjab.
Khan confirmed to the EIC that he has turned down a PPP offer to contest from PP-63 but refused to share reasons. “I have decided not to contest elections from PP-63 for some personal reasons,” he added.
Fida Paracha, another jiyala and two-time party ticket winner for NA-55 (Rawalpindi-VI), has also declined to contest from the constituency on a PPP ticket. The PPP had awarded him ticket for NA-55 in the 2002 and 2008 general elections, though on both occasions he lost. Later, he was made party’s president for Rawalpindi district. Analysts believe that PPP ticket for NA-55 is not an attraction for Paracha whereas the PML N is expected to field its heavyweights like Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhary Tanvir from NA-56 and NA-55, respectively. Paracha was not available for comments.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2013.