President Asif Ali Zardari. — File photo
LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari, who had to quit the chairmanship of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on court orders over five months ago, is getting back the post after completion of his five-year tenure on Sunday.
Bilawal Bhutto would, informed sources said, continue to be the patron-in-chief of the PPP.
PPP Secretary-General Sardar Latif Khosa told Dawn on Friday that Mr Zardari would be made chairman through a resolution adopted by the party and endorsed by the central executive committee.
He said his election as chairman would merely be a formality as workers still considered him as head of the party.
Some senior PPP leaders are of the view that Mr Zardari, being ‘de facto’ head of the party, should continue to chair party meetings, but others want him to be elected to the post after the completion of his presidential term.
Sardar Khosa said the PPP under the command of Mr Zardari would be a strong opposition and it would be strengthened, especially in the Punjab.
“Punjab PPP needs Mr Zardari more as we have to regain our position in the Punjab and make it a stronghold of the party again,” he said.
He said Mr Zardari would spend more time in Lahore in coming weeks and address party issues.
He also said that in the next general elections, Aseefa and Bilawal would play an active role in strengthening the party’s youth, women and human rights wings.
Bilawal would remain in contact with workers through video-conferencing, he further said.
The Punjab PPP leadership believes that Mr Zardari’s presence in the Punjab would give a boost to the PPP in the province.
President Zardari is due here on Sunday. After a day’s stay, he will leave for Islamabad to attend oath-taking ceremony of president-elect Mamnoon Hussain.
He would return to Lahore and stay here for 10 days, Mr Khosa said.
Clarifying President Zardari’s remarks that the PPP would do politics after five years, the former Punjab governor said: “It does not mean that we will be a friendly opposition. We will do issue-based politics and avoid PML-N-like politics of mudslinging. We will follow the Charter of Democracy.”