Marred by corruption charges and awaiting the superior judiciary’s decisions, leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party - Parliamentarians is wary of what holds for them in the future.
Little wonder, the ruling party has worked out a contingency plan to deal with any untoward decision from the judiciary that may adversely impact its ECP-registered wing PPPP.
Corruption cases against PPPP President Makhdoom Amin Fahim and General Secretary and incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf are at critical stages and the party suspects that decisions from the superior courts may impact the party unfavourably – especially in the run-up to the elections.
Fahim’s possible disqualification – since his name features in the NICL corruption scam – could lead to grave legal implications for the party; as under clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002, a convicted person cannot hold office in a political party.
Moreover, last month, while hearing the Rental Power Projects (RPP) case, the Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau to arrest the incumbent prime minister and Secretary General of PPPP.
Under such fickle circumstances, sources in the PPP said that a number of names have been discussed within party circles in case the top two office-bearers are convicted. Among them, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah is a probable candidate to replace Fahim as party president.
A man of a relatively clean background, PPP believes Shah can run electoral matters of the party adequately. Moreover, PPP sources said President Zardari wants the religious affairs minister to contest next elections for the Sindh Assembly and it is speculated that he may become the next chief minister in the province.
As far as Ashraf’s replacement as secretary general of PPPP is concerned, Qamar Zaman Kaira has emerged as a possible candidate. However, a senior PPP official also said that it is likely that someone from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa may also be considered for this office.
Rental power plants case
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in January this year ordered that all those concerned, regardless of their rank, who have been booked in the case should be arrested and if someone leaves the country then the NAB chairman, along with his investigating team, will be held responsible.
Last year, the court directed NAB to proceed against all government functionaries involved, including the then ministers for water and power and the incumbent prime minister and former minister Liaquat Jatoi during whose tenure the RPPs were approved.
Liaquat Jatoi and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf were water and power ministers in 2006 and 2008, respectively, while Shaukat Tareen was the finance minister in 2008, when the down payment was increased.
Of the 19 RPP deals signed initially, only nine were allowed to function after an Asian Development Bank evaluation report slammed the project. Subsequently, six of those nine RPPs were discontinued. The case is still pending in the apex court.
The case involving Amin Fahim in a corruption scam is also in its final stages. The Federal Investigative Agency’s (FIA) inquiry found the PPPP President Fahim involved in the NICL scam.
In July 2012, the FIA was restrained by the Sindh High Court from arresting Fahim in the NICL scam case without the court’s order.
According to the FIA inquiry, Amin Fahim was a beneficiary in the scam.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2013.
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