ISLAMABAD: Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who became a household name when he successfully led the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of judiciary in 2007-09, is set to play an important role in the affairs of the PPP, according to sources.
The leadership of the ruling party —facing a hostile establishment and a not-so-friendly judiciary in the wake of the memo crisis —had decided to bank on the legal and political acumen of Mr Ahsan, they said.
A PPP office-bearer said that in the coming days the people would see Mr Ahsan playing an active role in the party’s affairs. Of late, Mr Ahsan has been visiting the Presidency regularly.
Mr Ahsan slipped into the background after his party came to power in the 2008 general election. According to media reports, differences between the party leadership and Mr Ahsan cropped up due to the latter’s refusal to contest elections on the PPP ticket.
Some reports back then had suggested that Mr Ahsan was joining the PML-N and such reports created misgivings within the PPP ranks about him. Recognising Mr Ahsan’s role in the lawyers’ movement, Mr Sharif had announced that in case Mr Ahsan decided to contest the elections, his party would support him unconditionally.
After playing a key role in the reinstatement of incumbent Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who was sacked by Gen Musharraf, Mr Ahsan also decided not to appear before him, a move that restricted him to Lahore.
“You may call it the re-launching of Mr Ahsan in the PPP when he was asked to make a speech at the fourth death anniversary of former prime minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto alongside President Asif Ali Zardari,” said a PPP office-bearer.
“Yes, he will be playing a key role in all major decisions of the party,” the party official added.
When asked to comment on Mr Ahsan’s presence in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and making a political speech there, Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, a political scientist, was of the view that his active participation in party politics would definitely prove a major morale booster for the Gilani government.
“His presence in the party will also help the government ease ongoing tension between the judiciary and federal government.
I met him at a function in Lahore on Dec 24. What I gathered from his talk was that he is going to play an active politics in coming days,” said Mr Rizvi.
When the same question was asked to PML-Q Senator S.M. Zafar, he saw Mr Ahsan’s presence in Naudero the result of the party decision to bring back all its annoyed leaders into the party fold.
He said that after Javed Hashmi’s decision to join PTI which was a major loss to Mian brothers, all political parties, including the PPP, were in a rush to get back their key leaders.
“Of course, Mr Ahsan is a big name, his mere presence, in politics or anywhere else, can make a huge difference, which the PPP at the moment just cannot afford to miss,” said Mr Zafar.
However, Senator Zafar said that knowing his legal stature in the country “I don’t think he would play an anti-judiciary role in the current scenario”.