GUJRAT: All the five members of the recently constituted organising committee of PPP with a task to reorganise the party in Punjab have been committed workers and affiliated with the party since the start of their political careers.
Some party stalwarts have welcomed the decision by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who, according to them, has relied on hardcore ‘jiyalas’ whose political past is purely based on PPP instead of selecting those figures who joined the party from other political parties in Punjab.
The committee comprises Raja Pervez Ashraf, a former prime minister who hails from Gujjar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi, Nadeem Afzal Chan, an ex-MNA from Malakwal area of Mandi Bahauddin, Chaudhary Manzoor Ahmed, a former MNA from Kasur district, Rana Farooq Saeed, a former federal minister from Faisalabad, and Nadeem Asghar Kaira, a former Kharian tehsil nazim who belongs to Lalamusa town of Gujrat district.
Stalwarts want no meddling in working of organising committee
Party’s central executive committee senior member Nawabzada Ghazanfar Ali Gull, also an adviser to Bilawal, says there is no doubt about the commitment of the five organisers, but they should be allowed to work independently.
He says though the performance of the new team will mainly depend on the selection of district level’s set-up of presidents and general secretaries, the role of the next president of Punjab PPP will be a vital one.
He says the party’s future in Punjab will be based on the next president otherwise the practice can be futile, so the committee should first devise terms of reference for reorganisatoin.
Dewan Shamim Akhtar, a founding member and former president of Mandi Bahauddin, says since the hardcore workers have been skeptical of some previous party leaders, the induction of ‘purely PPP men’ into the organising team has immediately brought the temperature of annoyed workers down by some 25 per cent.
He says the diehard workers had become reticent and now the new team should strive for revival of the party.
Mian Fakhar Mushtaq Pagganwala, another diehard party worker from Gujrat whose Pagganwala family has been the part of PPP since its foundation day, says the organisers are ‘jiyalas’ but they should work beyond any personal motive and without taking into account any pressure group within the party and suggest names of the ‘committed’ workers for the district level set-up without considering their financial status.
He says the chairman by inducting the ‘real jiyalas’ into his team has hinted at reviewing the previous policy which is, no doubt, a welcome move.
The fresh committee members are mainly from the central region of Punjab where party has been facing the revival challenge.
While going through the profile of all these members, one can judge that the PPP chairman wants to bring the ‘hardcore’ workers back into the mainstream.
Raja Pervez Ashraf has once been the president of the Rawalpindi chapter of PPP. He has also been the secretary general of PPP (Parliamentarian) registered in 2002 and committed with the party through thick and thin.
Similarly Chaudhry Manzoor is considered as an ideological part of the PPP and besides being elected as an MNA from Kasur in 2002, he has also served as president of party’s labour wing.
Rana Farooq Saeed though joined the PPP after being elected on two seats (National and Punjab Assembly) as an independent candidate from Faisalabad district in 2008, he became part of the party at a time when the independents preferred PML-N.
Nadeem Afzal Chan started his political career as a PPP-backed tehsil nazim from Malakwal in 2001 and remained firm while being in the opposition of the then president Pervez Musharraf as well as the PML-Q government in Punjab which was a testing time for his family.
However, he opted to contest the 2008 elections from NA-64 (Sargodha) and made it to the National Assembly whereas his younger brother Waseem Afzal Chan returned as MPA on PPP ticket from Malakwal.
Mr. Chan, who also served as the chairman of NA public accounts committee, is a scion of former provincial minister Haji Afzal Chan who joined PPP in 1993 and won the status of a district for Mandi Bahauddin after bifurcating it from Gujrat. Another PPP stalwart and ex-federal minister, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, is the maternal uncle of Nadeem Chan.
Though Nadeem Asghar Kaira is relatively a new face for the party cadre in Punjab, his and Kaira family’s affiliation with the PPP span more than four decades. He started his career as a union council nazim from Lalamusa city in 2001 and the same year he was elected as Kharian tehsil nazim with the backing of PPP whereas his father Haji Asghar Kaira (late) had twice been a PPP MNA (1988 & 1993) from the constituency Qamar Kaira won twice (2002 & 2008).Since Lalamusa has been the only urban centre in Punjab where the PPP ticket holders have clinched majority in the municipal committee in October the last, the man who actually secured the victory was Nadeem Asghar Kaira. He personally contested as a councillor in a ward while ignoring his previous status of being the tehsil nazim and his initiative boosted others.
Nadeem’s first cousin and party stalwart Qamar Zaman Kaira has been the PPP face in the media whereas another close kin Tanveer Ashraf Kaira has served as provincial secretary general in Punjab previously.
Mr. Kaira told Dawn that every member was asked to come up with his own proposals to revive the party as Chairman Bilawal had convened the meeting of organising committee a few days ago which was later on cancelled due to non-availability of Raja Pervez Ashraf who was busy and Nadeem Chan who was in Canada.
However, he said it was a consensus among the senior leadership to reach out each and every diehard worker in Punjab.
“The committee can visit districts and tehsils to listen to grievances and proposals of workers and the next meeting with the chairman is expected next week,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2016