PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems satisfied with its present position where the number of its MPAs has further decreased, but it has been pondering over revival of all basic organisational units with a renewed pledge to prepare the party for competing in the 2023 general elections in a vigorous manner.

In the backdrop of PPP defeat in July 25 general elections, some of its ideological people told Dawn that its provincial cabinet proved to be inefficient because its members hardly attended the routine monthly meetings. In such a situation, one could not expect them to play a vital role in decision making, they say.

However, former federal minister Lal Mohammad Khan, who remained one of the close aides of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, said that the provincial president was responsible for the crushing defeat of the party, adding that fielding PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from NA-8, Malakand, was a childish decision.

Candidates complain of lack of support from leadership

“In my view, the provincial president is no less than cancer for the party as he brought the party chief just for his own benefit to generate revenue. Most of the workers were prepared to raise the slogan ‘go Humayun go’ before Mr Bilawal on his visit to Batkhela for replacement of the provincial chief, but they were not given the opportunity,” the senior leader disclosed. He suggested intra-party election and replacement of the provincial president to streamline the party affairs.

Lal Khan said that PPP’s ideological people were going to move a no-confidence motion against Malakand district nazim Ahmed Ali Shah, who is brother of PK-19 Malakand candidate Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha. “Workers are sure that Humayun and Bacha brothers divided the party in groups and they should be sidelined immediately,” he said.

He said that Bilawal wanted to address a public meeting in Batkhela as part of his election campaign, but the provincial president convinced him to cancel the idea due to security concerns. He said that he did not want the party chief to know about internal differences and thus saw him off immediately.

A number of PPP candidates said on condition of anonymity that the party leadership did not support them in the campaign and even the copies of PPP manifesto were not provided for distribution to woo voters. “There was no coordination of the leaders with the candidates and election material was also not provided to the contenders who had to arrange everything at their own,” a defeated senior party leader said and added that the provincial president’s cell phone was always found off during the campaign.

“We had got the party ticket and nothing else to attract the voters,” Dr Afsarul Mulk, president of Malakand divison, said briefly when contacted for his comments.

Tahir Abbas, another ideological leader and brother of deceased Qamar Abbas, expressed his satisfaction over the decision taken by PPP leadership to play a positive role in the assemblies. He said that the strategy of election campaign of Mr Bilawal was satisfactory, but the provincial council should be revived on solid footings to supervise party’s activities in the light of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto’s vision.

The party should bring forward youngsters, but the services and suggestions of seniors should not be neglected. He said that the last meeting of the provincial council was held in 2007 and since then it failed to play any significant role in strengthening the party. “We are here to work if any steps are taken for strengthening of the party,” he said.

Provincial secretary information Gohar Ali Inqilabi suggested that the district level units should be empowered to run party affairs otherwise all the members of provincial cabinet should accept the responsibility to have regular contact with workers for sorting out routine matters.

Peshawar district’s former nazim Azam Afridi, who was focal person of Bilawal’s election campaign, said that the PPP’s defeat was artificial and it had still roots in masses.

PPP had awarded 51 tickets to the National Assembly candidates and 99 to the KP Assembly candidates. Of the NA candidates, only Sajid Hussain Turi won the election from NA-46, Kurram tribal district.

Of the 99 provincial candidates, only four succeeded who include Sahibzada Sanaullah PK-11, Upper Dir-II; Malik Badshah Saleh PK-10, Upper Dir-I; Sher Azam Wazir PK-87, Bannu-I; and Ahmad Karim Kundi PK-96, DI Khan-II. In 2013, the party had six MPAs, including one woman member on reserved seat.

Despite repeated efforts Mr Humayun could not be approached for comments as his cell phone remained off.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2018