Wednesday, August 28, 2013

President Zardari to focus on PPP reorganisation after Sept 8

After completing his five-year tenure on Sept 8, President Asif Ali Zardari will focus on reorganising the PPP, especially in Punjab, party sources told Dawn on Tuesday. They said Mr Zardari would deeply look into the state of the party and try to use his past and recent experience to remove its weaknesses. Soon after leaving the presidency, Mr Zardari would spend a week in Lahore to study the situation, Presidency’s spokesman and PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said. “Zardari Sahib will give more time and attention to the party and stay mostly in Lahore and Karachi for the purpose,” the spokesman said. He dispelled a perception that Mr Zardari would prefer to spend most of his time in Dubai and the UK. Mr Babar said that during his stay in Lahore, Mr Zardari would meet office-bearers and workers of the party and discuss with them matters relating to reorganisation of the PPP. The entire exercise will be aimed at preparing the party for the next general elections. The sources said Punjab PPP president Latif Khosa had met Mr Zardari on Sunday and briefed him on the situation in the province, especially on the party’s comprehensive defeat in the May 11 elections. At a recent farewell for media persons, President Zardari said the PPP had accepted the election results with some reservations. The PPP Punjab leadership described some of the decisions made by Mr Zardari as ‘unwise’, particularly the appointment of Manzoor Wattoo as provincial head of the party in October 2012. During Mr Wattoo’s tenure, the party lost the seats which it had won in the 2008 elections. A PPP leader said the party had won 35 National Assembly seats in Punjab in 2008, but only one seat in the May 2013 polls. The PPP, which had bagged 80 Punjab Assembly seats in 2008, managed to win only one seat in the general elections and another in by-polls. “We agree that we faced the biggest defeat in Punjab because the party leadership had made some mistakes,” he said. In Islamabad, the PPP could not win any of the two National Assembly seats. In NA-48, PPP candidate Faisal Sakhi Butt could get only 9,000 votes in the general elections, while Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of the PTI obtained 72,000 votes followed by PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel who secured 53,000 votes. In the Aug 22 by-election in the same constituency, Mr Butt received 3,000 votes, while Asad Umar of the PTI won the seat with 48,000 votes. In NA-49, PPP candidate Mustafa Khokhar, a son of former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Nawaz Khokhar, was defeated by Tariq Fazal Chaudhry of the PML-N by a big margin.

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