ISLAMABAD: A key meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Central Executive Committee (CEC) endorsed on Wednesday Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s recent tirade against the military and urged all institutions of the country to work within the ambit of the Constitution.
According to former information minister and PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, the CEC also called for Chairman Bilawal Bhutto to enter the National Assembly, while also suggesting that Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah be given the office of Sindh chief minister.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, party spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, in a bid to cool simmering tensions, said, “We should not take Mr Zardari’s statement negatively.”
The text of a resolution passed at the meeting said: “The meeting took notice of media comments on the co-chair’s remarks made at a party event where only one part of the speech was emphasised repeatedly. The meeting decided that it is important for all institutions to work within their mandated constitutional parameters.”
Syed Khursheed Shah being considered for the post of Sindh CM
On Tuesday, the PPP co-chairperson had in a fiery speech warned the military establishment to stop the ‘character assassination’ of the PPP, and threatened to make public a list of generals who, he said, were involved in different corruption cases since the creation of Pakistan.
Mr Zardari’s statement turned up the heat among political circles and is said to have led to the cancellation of his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, supposedly scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Inside sources said the meeting also took notice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s refusal to meet Mr Zardari apparently due to latter’s outburst on Tuesday in which he criticised military generals. However, the PPP spokesperson said: “The meeting did not focus on this issue.”
Bilawal in parliament
The PPP CEC also decided that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should enter the political arena practically and contest elections to the National Assembly to make his presence felt in the lower house.
A senior party leader told Dawn that it was decided in the CEC meeting that Mr Bilawal would contest the elections from the same Larkana constituency where his mother used to contest. That seat is currently occupied by Faryal Talpur.
Mr Kaira told Dawn after the meeting that Mr Bilawal was indeed tipped for a National Assembly seat, but that he had the pick of whichever constituency he chose. Asked what role he would be playing once elected, Mr Kaira said that being the party chairperson, he would obviously be given a senior position, such as that of opposition leader.
He said that Syed Khursheed Shah had, at one point, offered to vacate his seat to allow Mr Bilawal to contest the elections, adding that there was also a proposal to make Mr Shah the next chief minister of Sindh.
The PPP has not had an easy ride as of late. It has faced defeats in at least four consecutive elections since May 2013, including the general elections, the cantt polls and the local government elections in KP and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Sources within the party say that many leaders believe that only a change of faces at the top will help revive the party.
After the meeting, the party shared the resolution passed by the CEC with mediapersons.
The resolution announced the dissolution of the party’s GB chapter and fresh elections there. The party’s organisation in Balochistan was also discussed and a re-organisation plan was proposed.
The resolution said that ahead of the local bodies polls in Sindh and Punjab party workers would be activated and tickets would be awarded on merit.
The party took a clear position on initiating and supporting the China-Pak Economic Corridor project and said it would continue to play a key role in building consensus on it.
It took note of the recent hostile statements made by the Indian leadership and expressed the concern that such actions were not conducive to peace in the region.
According to another resolution, the PPP resolved to support the military in the crucial Zarb-i-Azb operation.
The sacrifices and martyrs of the army, police and law-enforcement forces were appreciated and recognised.
The PPP demanded that the federal government pay full attention to pursuing the National Action Plan’s objectives.
Published in Dawn June 18th, 2015