Pakistan Peoples Party

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was founded by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1967, with an aim to implement the...
Published July 14, 2018

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was founded by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1967, with an aim to implement the ideology of what he called Islamic socialism.

Key figures

  • Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
  • Asif Ali Zardari
  • Sherry Rehman
  • Raza Rabbani
  • Syed Khursheed Shah

Key issues

  • Calls for maximum provincial autonomy
  • Has for much of its history stood against intervention from military as well as judiciary in the matters of governance and policy-making
  • Advocates labour rights and equal distribution of wealth amongst members of society
  • Calls for a focus on the growth of small and medium enterprises
  • Believes in resolving differences with India through dialogue
  • Believes in maintaining friendly ties with US, Saudi Arabia as well as neighbouring states

Ppp Manifesto 2018 - English by Dawndotcom on Scribd

Elections 2018

PPP has fielded candidates from 247 NA seats — out of these 128 seats are from Punjab, 60 from Sindh, 31 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 from Balochistan, 11 from Fata and three from Islamabad.

Elections 2013

The party became the largest opposition party in the National Assembly. However, in Sindh it secured a majority and formed a government.

Elections 2008

Held months after Benazir Bhutto's assassination, the 2008 elections resulted in the PPP securing enough seats to lead a coalition government at the centre. Yousuf Raza Gilani was elected as prime minister and Asif Zardari became the president. The party also formed the government in Sindh after winning a majority in the provincial assembly.

Elections 2002

Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid (PML-Q) formed the government after securing 126 seats in the 2002 election. The PPP came second with 81 seats.

Elections 1997

PML-N came to power with 137 seats in the National Assembly and PPP came second with 18 seats. Nawaz Sharif was elected prime minister.

Elections 1993

PPP came to power with Benazir as prime minister. She was ousted in 1996 and left for the United Kingdom soon after.

Elections 1990

The elections were held after Benazir was ousted by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan over corruption charges. The IJI won the election and Nawaz Sharif was elected prime minister. Benazir became opposition leader.

Elections 1988

PPP came to power again and Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister.

Elections 1977

PPP won the elections, however, the opposition accused Zulfikar Bhutto of rigging the polls. Mass protests against alleged rigging led to unrest and violent anti-Bhutto demonstrations, with the crisis paving the way for Ziaul Haq's martial law.

Elections 1970

PPP came second to Mujeebur Rehman's Awami League in the 1970 election, which had won a landslide victory with an absolute majority of 160 seats in the National Assembly. The PPP had won 81 seats in the NA. The assembly session was however not held as Yahya Khan, who was president at the time, and the PPP did not want a party from East Pakistan in government. The conflict escalated and there was great unrest in East Pakistan which soon turned into a civil war, leading to the formation of Bangladesh. The NA session was eventually held few days after Yahya Khan resigned after the fall of Dhaka and Zulfikar Bhutto took over as chief martial law administrator. Bhutto became prime minister in 1973.

Major political plays

  • It was during PPP's first tenure that Pakistan's first Constitution was drafted and passed in 1973.

  • Under Zulfikar Bhutto, PPP announced the nationalisation of all major industries.

  • In order to reduce social inequality and live up to its promise to end feudalism, the PPP pushed for and implemented land reforms during Zulfikar Bhutto's regime

  • Under Zulfikar Bhutto, PPP established Port Qasim, Pakistan Steel Mills and the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC)

  • Pakistan's nuclear programme was initiated during PPP's first power stint.

  • During her brief stints in government, from 1988 to 1990 and then from 1993 to 1996, Z A Bhutto's daughter and iconic PPP leader Benazir Bhutto set up women police stations, issued start-up loans to women, recognised women's rights as human rights in the 1993 Vienna Declaration, and appointed female judges to the superior judiciary etc.

  • The PPP also strove to bring Balochistan back into the national mainstream by increasing the province's share in the NFC Award. The party during its 2008-2013 tenure at the centre also brought forward a so-called Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package to address the province's grievances.

  • The 18th Amendment reducing presidential powers and giving greater autonomy to the provinces was passed during the PPP's 2008-2013 tenure

    • In 2008, PPP established the Benazir Income Support Programme which is a federal unconditional cash transfer poverty reduction programme
  • The party that gave the Muslim world its first female prime minister appointed Fehmida Mirza as the National Assembly speaker, the first female NA speaker in Pakistan's history, in 2008. It later nominated Sherry Rehman to head the opposition following the 2018 Senate elections, making her Pakistan's first female opposition leader in the Upper House.

Criticism and controversy

  • In 1978, Z A Bhutto was hanged on charges of conspiring to kill Mohammad Ahmed Kasuri. That trial remains controversial to date.

  • Benazir's governments were marred by corruption scandals involving herself and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Her first government was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 and her second government was sent packing by Farooq Leghari in 1996.

  • Though she escaped the 2007 Karsaz twin blasts alive, Benazir was murdered at a political rally in Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh. The party leadership was then handed to her son Bilawal.

  • The PPP government managed to complete its term when it came to power in 2008. However, its tenure was not without controversies and was marred with corruption allegations against Zardari. One of its prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani was sent packing on contempt of court charges for failing to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case involving Zardari.

  • The ties between Pakistan and the US took a nosedive during the PPP's 2008-2013 tenure following a raid by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad that led to the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

  • The poor state of healthcare in Sindh's Thar region led to countless deaths, particularly those of newborns. Yet, the PPP, which has been in power in the province for the past 10 years has failed to effectively address the situation.

  • The more recent controversy to strike PPP is the questions that have been raised around its role in the political turmoil in Balochistan earlier this year and its role in the 2018 Senate elections.

  • Its top leaders, Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, are currently under scrutiny over an investigation into fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth billions conducted through several mainstream banks. The fake accounts were allegedly used for channeling funds received through heavy bribes and kickbacks.