ISLAMABAD: Disgr-untled PPP leaders have formed a new party in a bid to “save the legacy of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and its former chairperson Benazir Bhutto”.
The Pakistan Peoples Party Workers (PPP-W), registered with the Election Commission, was formally launched on Friday at a press conference addressed by its president Safdar Abbasi.
He was accompanied, among others, by his wife Naheed Khan, Sajida Mir (Secretary General of PPP-W), Rana Rizvi, Azra Bano, Sabiha Syed, Ibn-i-Rizvi, retired Lt Gen Ahsan, Fayyaz Khan, Rai Qaisar, S.H. Bokhari, Nawab Khattak and former president of PPP’s youth wing Shakeel Abbasi.
Pakistan Peoples Party Workers has been registered with the Election Commission
“We believe that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is solely responsible for the party’s worst defeat in the 2013 general elections and the prevailing ‘disintegration’ in the party. Therefore, we have come out to save it,” Safdar Abbasi said.
“Not just Zulfiqar and Fehmida Mirza, but we will contact all those leaders of the PPP who followed the ideology of Benazir Bhutto but were sidelined after 2007,” he added.
Asked why an alliance was being made against the PPP high-command, the former senator said: “We want accountability of those who are responsible for the downfall of PPP.”
A source in the PPP said Mr Abbasi and his associates had assured Sindh’s former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza and his wife of their support and told them that whatever was being done against them was unjustified.
Earlier this week, the PPP issued a show-cause notice to Fehmida Mirza, a former speaker of the National Assembly, for violating party rules.
She recently held a press conference in Badin apparently to protect her husband who has levelled serious allegations against Mr Zardari.
The source said Mr Abbasi would also contact other disgruntled PPP leaders like Babar Awan and Dr Israr Shah.
Some members of the PPP accused their leadership of ignoring party workers during the five-year tenure of the PPP-led government. They alleged that because of this many old and committed workers had left the party and joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
In Rawalpindi, three former Union Council naib nazims — Imran Hayat, Chaudhry Majeed and Sajid Abbasi — left the PPP and joined the PTI in 2013.
PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar told Dawn that the party was aware of Mr Abbasi’s move and his recent contacts with Mr Mirza.
“We know some of our opponents are gathering, but we have decided not to react to it. Let us see how it moves,” he said.
Mr Abbasi alleged that Mr Zardari, in the dual-office case in the Lahore High Court in February 2013, had disowned the PPP and described it as an NGO or a private association in order to save his presidency.
“We concluded that further silence would be criminal and took the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan. The ECP, as usual, was manipulated and decision was given in favour of Latif Khosa who had applied for registration after the due date fixed by the commission,” he claimed.
“Later, we challenged the decision of ‘illegal registration of PPP’ in the Islamabad High Court to get justice. The case has been pending for two years and no formal hearing has taken place since then, despite several requests for hearing,” he said.
Asked what would he do if the court decided to hand the PPP over to the disgruntled leaders, Mr Abbasi said in that case the PPP-W would be merged into the PPP.
He said there were three main objectives to register the PPP-W — to reorganise the party on true ideological and democratic lines; to hold accountability of all those responsible for the present state of affairs in the PPP; and to democratise and institutionalise the party by holding intra-party elections at all levels.
Later, Mr Abbasi unveiled the manifesto of his party which covered many important national issues right from terrorism to Madressah reforms, minorities’ rights, education, poverty, governance, electoral reforms, policing system, economy, agriculture, foreign policy, defence, health, labour, media and energy.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2015