PESHAWAR: Several leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including its central deputy information secretary Asma Arbab Alam are likely to part ways with the party and announce joining other political parties soon.

Sources told this scribe that former federal minister Arbab Alamgir Khan, his wife Asma Arbab Alamgir and their son Arbab Zarak Alamgir and some other senior leaders did not attend the meetings convened in connection with five-day visit of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to the province that started on November 16.

They said that Asma Arbab had already resigned from her post and sent resignation to the party top leadership. They said that Arbab family developed differences with the party’s central and provincial leadership over different issues including reorganisation of the party in KP.

Sources said that some former provincial ministers, former candidates for national and provincial assembly seats from Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Peshawar, Nowshera and southern districts would also part ways with PPP to join other political parties.

A delegation of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz headed by former governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and retired Capt Safdar also visited the residence of Arbab Alamgir and invited him to join PML-N. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leaders have also contacted members of Arbab family but they are yet to take any decision in this connection, according to sources.

“Yes, I have resigned from my official responsibilities as central deputy information secretary as a protest but not from the party’s basic membership so far. Out differences with the party leadership are not new. We have always conveyed out reservations about the party’s weakening position to all relevant people including Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari but no one has taken any serious initiative to save the party from destruction,” Asma Arbab told Dawn.

She said that the top leadership never bothered to hold intra-party election in the province rather used to hand over it to some handpicked people, who always served their personal interests instead of taking concrete steps to strengthen organisations and units of the party.

About joining any other party, she said that her family could not take any decision on its own without taking the workers, relatives and residents of the constituency on board. She claimed that the visit of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Peshawar was a total failure as the programme was scheduled without proper consultation.

PPP provincial information secretary Amjad Afridi was not available for comments despite several efforts by this scribe. However, PPP provincial deputy information secretary Syed Tahir Abbas told Dawn that people were parting ways with PPP due to interference of establishment.

“The establishment is trying to break electable workers from different political parties. Many of the people are likely to contest the elections independently to join future government of any party,” he said.

He admitted that PPP’s ideological workers had already apprised the top leadership of their reservations and suggested taking appropriate measures. He also admitted that some other workers of PPP might contest the next polls independently.

About the five-day visit of Bilawal to KP, Mr Abbas said it was ill-planned because workers did not get chance to have direct interaction with the party chief at least to share their suggestions with him.

“Workers expected that they would get chance to give suggestions for strengthening of PPP but they could not get a chance even to shake hand with Bilawal during his visit,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2023

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