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THE last time President Asif Ali Zardari was in Lahore, the PPP had as many National Assembly seats in the city as it now has in the whole of Punjab — two. On Monday, Mr Zardari spoke of conspiracies against his party; a day earlier he had hinted at election fraud with his remark about the power of the returning officers in charge of the polling stations. He said he could win an election just by having them by his side. Delving deeper into the PPP’s poor poll showing, the president listed his reasons why the party couldn’t perform well: energy crisis, the judiciary, the Taliban threat and personal tangles which prevented the two former PPP prime ministers, Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, from campaigning. He said 20-odd seats in the election were not worth risking the life of another Bhutto.

To campaign in public or not was a sensitive decision for the PPP. But even if the party opted for caution it made absolutely no attempt to find a way around the Taliban threat to connect with the people. It left the party without a leader. Pakistanis at large were denied a choice which they had earlier exercised, regardless of whether or not they wanted to exercise it now.

Over vast areas in the all-important Punjab, the PPP had only a ghostly presence resonating in its tragic refrain about its past leaders and their sacrifices.

In line with his rather ‘journalistic’ analysis of the situation, Mr Zardari agreed with general media projections about how many National Assembly seats the PPP could have ended up with: around 60, and obviously not the number that leads to hopes of retaining power. But a bigger catch, especially in Punjab, could have perhaps helped the party avoid all these new and brushed-up obituaries about Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s invention. Without exception, the PPP’s 2013 elegy implicates its incumbent leadership in the party’s failures. Mr Zardari now regrets his decision of not giving up the presidency for leading the party’s election campaign. This admission serves no purpose other than seeking to restore to the de facto PPP head some of his old reputation as a sharp politician — sharp in retrospect. The moment has passed. An election has been badly lost and a party badly bruised. Then the focus was on the party somehow finishing its term. Now the president wants to complete his term in office. The question then and now: to what effect is it other than mere formality?

Comments (24) Closed

marghoob ahmed siddiqui May 21, 2013 06:27pm
There was no conspiracy or rigging as alleged by Zardari. It was only and only the performance of PPP Government that caused PPP defeat. No light, no jobs, no CNG, plunder by Zardari, Gillani and Raja Parvez Ashraf. You have not left even Hajis from making illegal money. Shame on you.
goodDeedsLeadTo May 21, 2013 11:33pm
Zardari should himself to authorities, if he really is regretful of his corruption. Talks is cheap. What makes the difference is the real action, toward what is just & right.
Rizwan Wasi May 22, 2013 01:50am
Mr. Zardari is neither a wheeler nor a dealer as nothing has been proven against him in court of law and he still he had spent more than five years in the jail. It is just all noise and hype. PPP did not govern under normal circumstances. Conspiracy after conspiracy, scandals after scandals marred the tenure and diverted attention to address those issues that did not benefit the masses. People have a short memory Section 252-B of the Constitution was annulled under Zardari Sahib that he never got the credit that he deserved. He is a fighter as history has proven and PPP will certainly make a comeback if it sticks to its core values.
Saeed May 22, 2013 04:35am
I salute all the politician specially PPP for running the great fight against nation who hate democracy and never believe in democracy. In the beginning our nation was thinking that if army not topple the goverment , they will make dynasty . No they suffer defeat and accept it . But the our nation not accept result and still screaming at the street.
Imran A. May 21, 2013 05:28pm
After Nawaz shareef will fail in the next 5 years, PPP will again win in the next elections and we will forget the failures of Zardari and fall a prey to the promises again.
sid May 21, 2013 05:36pm
President Z says that elections were rigged. That also says he would like to such ROs for PPP. Mind you his President of Pakistan syaing these things. Basically suggests what is moral normal in pakistan. Cheat if you can till you are cought, then if you are caught use the system to delay or avoid conviction. Such utterances from President of Pakistan pretty much says what is normal acceptable in the country. Then all these take oath on holy book ?
Mustafa Razavi May 21, 2013 03:34pm
Husain Jan; Zardari has learned a lot from past mistakes, the mistakes of the people. He has learned how to fool them. He did everything he wanted to do, successful beyond his wildest imagination. In the 90's the Mukmuka had to switch faces every 2 1/2 years. Now, with the advancement of communications, including the media, the public memory is a bit longer and they would have to wait 5 years. At any rate it amounts to 50-50. MAKhan sahib, forget about the Swiss letter, that too is a part of the Mukmuka to confuse the real issue.
MAKhan May 21, 2013 12:25pm
To start with, if Zardari had agreed to send the letter to Swiss authorities, Gilani would not have to resign , secondly, Raja Ashraf was already implicated in rental power scam, thirdly Bilawal Zardari, a novice as chairman of the party, lastly but not the least ,Zardari's image of wheeler dealer stuck to him, his honesty, integrity always remained questionable - all these factors contributed to the worst governance in the history of the nation. How could PPP win ?
Bubba May 21, 2013 11:46am
Damage to PPP hasn't been finalized -- chances are many of the major players will come under further scrutiny for plundering/looting and no doubt some will consider fleeing the country with their ill gotten gains.
AA May 21, 2013 09:01am
Democracy works on performance, not slogan-raising emotion-stirring campaigns. PPP was pushed to the wall because they didn't deliver. Period!
Ghani K. May 22, 2013 02:56pm
When he made alliances with turncoats of MQM & PML(Q) both parties supported military dictator Musharraf for 8 years, Zardari was not doing for the interest of Pakistan, come what may, he did it to stay in the presidency.
Zafar Abbas (@Zafar_A) May 21, 2013 10:46am
As if PPP is the only thing left for international establishment to think of. They dont give a damn who you are. The admission of mistakes is half solution. I wish he openly admits his government mistakes. I dont see any PPP in next election if they continue like they did. Thieves were openly rewarded and cronyism was at its height. They want to sell a few more drops of BB blood but how long? get out intoxication PPP.
Zafar Abbas (@Zafar_A) May 21, 2013 10:48am
Absolutely, but who said he is a leader. he is street smart for petty deals....
Babar May 21, 2013 09:54pm
I think now PPP has only one NA seat from punjab
M.S. Sheikh, May 21, 2013 07:36am
Elections in Pakistan are always predetermined by those in seat of authority, of course through the Returning Officers as rightly said by President Zardari. But with the exception of 1970 elections in which even Mr. Bhutto was surprised to see his majority in the four provinces of West Pakistan. The President has pin-pointed the reasons behind his party's defeat. But the bitter truth is your hereditary party ruled the country to satisfy personally individual agenda of 'loot-ghasoot' of national resources and the exchequer and non-involvement with the poor man's miseries caused by unprecedented load shedding of power and gas and the elections, too being held in the scorching summer heat along with the clearly visible violations of electoral laws and regulations , all these negative factor contributed to the exit of PPP a natural outcome along with the extra 'doings' of the two most incompetent and care-free sort of your personally picked-up Prime ministers. This election proved your slogan of democracy is the best revenge. This democratic revenge, through the popular voting-power has undone the illegal acts of the usurper of power and restored the democratically elected party/leader to its seat of authority. This political restoration and rehabilitation of the ousted rulers of 1999, must be readily accepted and welcomed by all so that normal conditions are restored in the internal war-ridden country so that the poor lot may sigh a relief in their current political-cum-economically scorched life.
Fida Ahmed Advocate May 21, 2013 09:59am
In percentage, how much of PPP's failure will the president assign to himself?
M. Asghar May 21, 2013 08:10am
The so-called feudal-family owned PPP did everything to sink the country in all the strategic spheres and ended up by with the healthy electoral purging out.
Husain Jan May 21, 2013 05:26am
Greatness or otherwise of any person, especially any leader can be properly judged by his ability to learn from past mistakes. By refusing to acknowledge the wrong doings during tenure of his party and putting the blame on conspiracies are not the signs of a reasonable person.
Zainab May 22, 2013 04:54am
Parvez May 21, 2013 09:20am
If the election were a true representation of the wishes of the people of Sindh, the PPP-Z would have landed up with seats you could count on your fingers.......ok, of two hands.
MA Teewno May 22, 2013 05:47am
its really painful to read that Bhutto did every thing for himself, let me to tell you if Bhutto would not have come in history of Pakistan, this country could not have survived any more. For instance "By July 1972, Bhutto had recovered 93,000 prisoners of war and 5,000 square miles of Indian-held territory after signing the Simla Agreement. He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia, recognised Bangladesh, and hosted the second Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974. Domestically, Bhutto's reign saw parliament unanimously approve a new constitution in 1973, upon which he appointed Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry President and switched to the newly empowered office of Prime Minister. He also played an integral role in initiating the country's atomic bomb programme. However, Bhutto's nationalisation of much of Pakistan's fledgling industries, healthcare, and educational institutions led to economic stagnation. After dissolving provincial governments in Balochistan was met with unrest, Bhutto also ordered an army operation in the province in 1973, causing thousands of civilian casualties" furthermore, it is also admitted fact that Bhutto was father of Pakistan's atom bomb program. Because of this, Pakistan is on the earth of World.
raj May 22, 2013 08:05am
No matter what justification this man gives its clear and simple that PPP was humiliated because of bad governance and rampant corruption.
Alam Sheikh, May 22, 2013 08:12pm
Yes! economic stagnation caused by Bhutto's most ill conceived nationalization policy still continues even after about four decades of his departure from the scene. Things have gone from worse to worst with little no hope to regain the exemplary prosperity of the Ayub Khan era.
Afaqi, May 22, 2013 08:33pm
How they could deliver when the party of 'four Ps' (practically Zardari party) had the misfortune of having picked up two most ill-considered, ill-conceived, incompetent, most corrupt PM in the person of Gilani and Raja, (both hand picked PM of the President himself). The disappearance of ppp from national election scene is the direct outcome of the' doings' of these two hopeless performers.