KARACHI: Contrary to his promise to consult senior leaders and reorganise Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) during a grand convention in Lahore on November 30 (PPP's foundation day), the party's chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has apparently changed his mind about attending it. The move has reportedly caused resentment among old stalwarts who were desperate for the party's revival in Punjab.
Talking to The Express Tribune, PPP secretary general Latif Khosa said, “Bilawal had to chair the convention, but he has suddenly cancelled it. Now the party's co-chairperson, Asif Ali Zardari, will preside over it,” he said, adding that around 5,000 participants, including district presidents, officer bearers and workers from south and central Punjab are expected to attend the event.
There were reports that Bilawal wanted to reshuffle the party by replacing a host of senior leaders, who have been enjoying key positions for a number of years now. However, a strong lobby within the party has opposed the move, prompting Bilawal to opt out of the event.
But Khoso rejected these reports, terming them mere speculations.
“The party is united. Both the chairperson and co-chairperson are on the same page for re-organising the party, but the former cannot attend due to his busy overseas schedule,” he claimed.
When asked about re-organisation of the PPP, Khosa said, “I don’t think drastic changes will take place at the convention as the chairman had announced, but we will discuss about how to revive our party in Punjab.”
Khosa added that shortfalls, as well as a route for progress will be discussed along with evolving a strategy to bring disgruntled leaders back into the party fold, and continuing ZA Bhutto’s mission. Bhutto had formed the party on November 30, 1967.
The party convention will be spread over multiple legs with the first leg due to be held on November 30 for only members belonging to Punjab. The second leg will be held on December 2 where party workers and leaders hailing from Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir will be invited.
“Earlier, we had planned to abolish dual positions of leaders serving in the government, such a chief minister should not be the party’s provincial president. This idea is yet to be implemented,” added the PPP secretary general.
Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a central executive committee member of the party, said that the main focus of the convention would be the party’s revival in Punjab.
“The leadership has asked members to come up with recommendations and ideas to revive the party. All recommendations will be considered and implemented after the next CEC meeting,” he said, adding that the PPP should bridge the worker-leadership communication gap if it hopes for tangible results.
Meanwhile, the PPP has announced activities in various towns and cities of Sindh in connection with foundation day of the party.
Doctor's orders keeping Bilawal from attending convention
Meanwhile, Bilawal in a message on Twitter clarified that it was his ill health and doctor's orders which were keeping him from attending the convention on November 30.
1/3 Despite my insisting, the doctor has vetoed my return temporarily. You the workers will have to guide us.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) November 28, 2014
2/3 I urge you to support AAZ & the rest of the party leadership to fulfil SMBB's vision of a peaceful, prosperous & progressive Pakistan.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) November 28, 2014
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