In the wake of a wave of defections from his Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced on Thursday that he will visit every district and constituency in Punjab to resolve the grievances of estranged members and reorganise the party.
Bilawal was presiding over a meeting of PPP Punjab leaders at Bilawal House. The meeting was attended by former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, PPP Punjab president Manzoor Wattoo, president PPP south Punjab Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senator Sherry Rehman, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira and Shaukat Basra.
The PPP huddle discussed the party’s declining popularity ratings in Punjab, the defection of senior leaders from the party, reorganisation and upcoming local government elections. “Please try to woo the estranged party leaders and workers who are our assets,” Bilawal asked the PPP Punjab leadership.
It was the first time that Bilawal was interacting with Punjab leadership without the presence of his father Asif Ali Zardari.
Sources in the party told The Express Tribune that during the meeting; Bilawal expressed his dismay over PPP leaders including Samsam Bokhari, who along with a few office bearers of Okara, jumped ship and joined PTI.
Bilawal called for strategising ahead of the LG polls. “I will soon visit Punjab and devise a strategy with you on how to reorganise the party at grass root level,” he said.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that the meeting discussed the overall party position in Punjab. “Bilawal is keen on holding 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.
During the meeting, Bilawal also condoled with Firdous Ashiq Awan on the demise of her brother. Senior Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Yaseen also called on Chairman Bilawal and apprised him about the party issues in AJK.
In a surprise move, the PPP chairman suddenly reached Lyari, a stronghold of the party in Karachi, and went to residence of Sindh Minister Javed Nagori and expressed condolence over the death of his brother Akbar Nagori who was gunned down in May. Talking to the party workers of the area, he lauded their commitment to the ideology of Bhuttoism.
“It is a matter of pride for the PPP that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto are heartbeats of the people of Lyari,” Bilawal said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.