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Change in leadership of no help to PPP to woo workers

October 04, 2012

Supporters and members of Pakistan People's Party gather for a rally. — File photo

PESHAWAR, Oct 4: The provincial chapter of Pakistan People’s Party has failed to overcome organisational crisis despite changing several faces in its top hierarchy during the last few years.

Though PPP has replaced its provincial president Senator Sardar Ali Khan with MPA Anwar Saifullah Khan exactly after one year, yet the party hasn’t named other members of his cabinet.

Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah had resigned as provincial president of PPP in September last year after serving the party for about three years. He had replaced Senior Minister Rahimdad Khan, who had worked as PPP provincial president for over four years. Mr Khan resigned when leadership asked him to choose between the ministry and party office.

Background interviews with senior PPP leaders show that during the past one year the worst kind of organisational problems persisted in the party as most of the offices including that of divisional president of Peshawar and Kohat and some in its provincial cabinet remained vacant.

People’s Student Federation and People’s Youth Organisation have also been suffering from serious internal differences. The repeated demands of workers to reorganise the student and youth wings of the party have so far fallen on deaf ears.

It is no more a secret that most of the workers are not happy with the party ministers. The disgruntled workers have formed pressure groups to draw attention of the central leadership by issuing press statements, holding protest demonstrations and staging camps but so far no attention has been paid to them.

At present, there are parallel groups of PPP in many districts and each of them blames the other for damaging the party. All these crises, faced by PPP, are blamed on its weak provincial organisational structure.

The workers accuse party ministers of focusing only on self-interests, accumulating wealth, increasing their own vote bank in particular electoral constituencies and avoiding meetings with activists of other districts. Political parties have started strengthening their networks as general elections are drawing near but PPP is yet to reactivate its disgruntled workers in the province.

The PPP workers and leaders, who once enjoyed freedom of expression, now seem puzzled owing to the prevailing disappointing situation that they can’t comment openly on the mistakes committed by the party leadership.

They admit that leadership doesn’t seek their opinion while naming a new provincial president of the party and they have to line up for garlanding him even if a stranger is imposed on them.

The former provincial president of PPP never preferred to talk to media or answer any question. Only time will prove as to what extent the new president sets his priorities different from his predecessor as he is also said to have ‘parachuted’ from Islamabad to hold the top slot of PPP in the province.

In the past, people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa voted PPP and as a result its leaders became chief ministers. PPP leader Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao remained a governor as well as chief minister of the province while Aftab Ahmed Sherpao served as chief minister twice. But now PPP is lagging behind ANP.

Though the new provincial president of PPP in his maiden press conference announced that his party will avoid electoral alliance with ANP, yet only time will prove as to what extent he can keep his words. By issuing this statement, he will gain some sympathies of PPP workers but central leadership may not approve his decision.

Being a leading coalition partner in the provincial government, ANP claims to have strengthened its roots in the masses during its tenure in power. If PPP is really determined to form next government, its leadership will have to own the party, work day and night to reactivate the annoyed workers and prove that the party still believes in its slogan of bread, cloth and shelter.

Repeated efforts were made to contact Anwar Saifullah Khan but his cellular phone was switched off.