KARACHI: With senior Punjab party members jumping ship yet again, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vowed that he would personally visit every district and constituency in Punjab and other provinces to resolve grievances of party leaders, workers.
While presiding over a meeting of PPP’s leaders from Punjab at Bilawal House in Karachi on Thursday, Bilawal expressed his dismay over recent events where senior PPP leaders including Samsam Bukhari, Ashraf Sonha along with a few PPP office bearers of Okara who had jumped ship to join Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
The meeting was attended by Former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, PPP Punjab president Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, former Governor and president PPP south Punjab Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, former federal information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senator Sherry Rehman, former information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, Shaukat Basra.
The meeting mainly discussed PPP’s declining graph in Punjab and the reason behind departure of senior leaders, re-organisation of the party and upcoming local government elections.
“Please try to woo the estranged party leaders and workers who are our assets,” Bilawal said.
This was the first party meeting by Bilawal where his father, former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, was absent.
Sources in the party told The Express Tribune that Bilawal was concerned about re-organising the party ahead of the upcoming local government elections. “The local government elections are round the corner, how we can reorganise the party bringing it past glory back.”
“I will soon visit Punjab and devise a strategy with you on how to re-organise the party at gross root level.”
Sources in the party say that PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is also expected return within a few days following which Bilawal will leave for Punjab.
“The main focus of the party is the upcoming local government election. In this connection party has decided to field Bilawal to play an active role by holding meetings with senior leadership,” a party official said.
PPP senior leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that the meeting discussed over all party position in Punjab. “Bilawal is keen on holding party’s consultative meetings to strengthen the party. During the meeting he mainly stressed that party leaders should establish direct contact with people for full preparations for local government elections.”
Ashraf said that they would also contact the old party cadre to overcome their concerns.
“Today I am very positive after hearing our young leader who not only heard us vigilantly, but surprised with his feedback with regard to re-organising the party,” he said.
During the meeting, Bilawal also condoled with Awan on the demise of her brother.
On the other hand, Senior Minister of Azad Kashmir Chaudhry Yaseen also called on the Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and apprised him about the Party issues in AJK.
In a surprise move, the PPP chairman made a surprise visit to Lyari, a longstanding stronghold of the party in Karachi. He visited the residence of Sindh Minister Javed Nagori and condoled the death of his brother Akbar Nagori who was gunned down by terrorists in May.
This was Bilawal’s first visit to Lyari after the general elections when he had visited mazar of a saint in the area.