ISLAMABAD: Jehangir Badar, secretary-general of the ruling PPP, has suspended Senator Safdar Abbasi from the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party.
Badar told journalists that show-cause notices have been issued to Senator Safdar Abbasi and MNA Sherry Rehman for participating in a talk show on a private TV channel in violation of the party’s instructions.
Senator Abbasi confirmed that his membership in the CEC has been suspended. “I sent a reply after receiving suspension orders from the PPP secretary-general,” he said, adding that he would not respond to the show-cause served on him on October 20. “The party leadership is making decisions in haste,” he said. “We have never been asked in writing not to participate in the private TV’s talk show.”
Senator Abbasi said that the PPP has suspended membership of four to five members in the name of party discipline. “But I don’t know what is party discipline,” he said, adding that the party co-chairperson should look into the matter. “The policy of boycotting any TV programme will not succeed,” he said.
PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab confirmed the development, saying that every organisation has a disciplinary code that must be followed. “Show-cause notices will be issued to any member who violates party discipline,” she said.
Meanwhile in Karachi more than two dozen women staged a protest in front of Rehman’s house. Carrying banners and placards, protesters told journalists that Rehman violated party discipline by participating in the TV talk show. Strangely enough, Shama Mithani and Shamim Mumtaz of the PPP women’s wing said the protesters did not belong to their party. Reacting to the protest, Rehman said she had never imagined that speaking in a TV talk show could result in such a demonstration of violence against an unguarded house.
“I had no official communication from the party about any ban on any channel, because I had heard several different members speaking on all channels, but bizarrely, I am being targeted,” she said. “In the absence of any communication, I followed the announcements of the prime minister and the president that we have no war with any media channel.”
Rehman said that she expected that the orchestrated demonstration outside her home in Karachi would be investigated and condemned at the highest level.
She also that she has not seen the show-cause notice yet. “I have never spoken against my party despite whatever has been done, so I will see what this ‘show cause’ is about and certainly respond.” (Online with additional reporting by our correspondents)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2010.