Reservations: Party leadership divided ahead of Bilawal’s Punjab tour

PPP leaders upset over Badar’s role as coordinator for Foundation Day.

Ali Usman November 12, 2014

LAHORE: As Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto prepares to take up reorganisation in the Punjab, the party leadership in the province stands divided on the recent appointment of his political secretary.

Bilawal has appointed Senator Jahangir Badar as his political secretary and chief coordinator for the event of November 30 activities which are scheduled to continue for around a week.

“PPP leaders are unhappy over Badar’s new assignment. He has not been in contact with the workers and many do not have a good opinion of him.

Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was not on board in Badar’s appointment. The decision was taken by Bilawal alone,” a senior PPP Punjab leader, who did not want to be named, told The Express Tribune.

“Badar accompanied Bilawal to London and France and it was there that this decision was made. The earlier plan of Foundation Day activities was an elaborate one. It was decided that former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani will oversee the efforts to mobilise workers in south Punjab. Since Bilawal will stay for several days in the Punjab, Gilani was also to take care of his meetings with party workers, office bearers from south Punjab. The responsibility to coordinate party activities in north Punjab was to be given to former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. However, now Badar has been made in charge of the coordination. This has displeased other party leaders, who consider him unsuitable to handle and manage Bilawal’s first comprehensive tour of the Punjab,” another provincial leader said.

“Such disputes may not allow the chairman to strengthen the party in the Punjab,” he said.

Media Cell in charge Senator Saeed Ghani said that Badar would coordinate with all senior leaders to make the November 30 event successful. “Gilani and Ashraf will still be consulted.

They have important responsibilities to play in the Punjab,” he said.

Provincial president Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo said that Badar was a senior leader in the party and fit for the job. “Badar is coordinator of all Foundation Day events,” he added.

Badar said that he would soon announce a plan of Bilawal Bhutto’s activities in Lahore. “I am one of the senior-most leaders of the party. Those objecting to my role were supporting dictator Pervez Musharraf when I was with Benazir Bhutto for the restoration of democracy,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2014.



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