LAHORE - The much-awaited reorganisation of Punjab chapter of the PPP is being largely attributed to the widening ideological gulf between the party cadres and the top leadership, it has been learnt.
The party men in Punjab having long association with the PPP want ideological and committed workers at the provincial slots. They have a craving for persons who understand party’s jiyala culture and are committed to party ideology.
Interviews with old PPP guards suggest that they are of the firm belief that office-holders should derive their power from the party and not the vice versa. They also want an end to the thinking to run the party with money and guns through wealthy individuals who don’t believe in the basic principles the party stands for.
But the irony is that top leadership thinks differently. It wants wealthy persons into the party fold who could finance their election campaigns and contribute generously into the party fund. There is also a feeling that present leadership has no regard for the party ideology. “There seems to be an ideological conflict between the cadres and the leadership”, an old PPP guard commented on the situation.
Also, there are certain vital issues which need to be settled before undertaking the task of party reorganisation. In the first place, it is yet to be decided if the existing arrangement of keeping two separate organisations, one for the central and the other for south Punjab should continue or the party should revert to the previous set up- one single chapter at the Punjab level.
To add to the confusion, there is yet another proposal lying with the central leadership to organise the party at the divisional level. It is in stark departure from the traditional setup of the political parties in Pakistan and has no room for provincial, district and tehsil cadres.
Under the proposed plan, the party structure would be raised on 17 regions across the country headed by regional heads. A region would be of the size of an administrative division. Though the central organisation would not undergo any major change, the provincial chapters and other cadres at the lower level would be dismantled to pave the way for new structure.
The argument in support of a region-based party structure is that every region in a province has its own political dynamics with influential local groups playing significant role in the victory or defeat of a contesting candidate. Hence, only a politician from that particular region could understand the ground realities fully compared to a provincial head who is not in a position to grasp situation in all the districts in a province.
Amid this uncertainty and indecisiveness, there are reports that top PPP leadership is inclined to retaining Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo in his present position. But at the same time, it is also considering the option of assigning some important role to former Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmad Mehmood in Punjab province.
The names of Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Ch Manzoor Ahmad and Zamurd Khan are also circulating among the party circles as probable choice of the party leadership for the important party offices.
But, on the other hand, the jiyalas would not be comfortable with people like Mr Wattoo and Makhdum from Rahimyar Khan because both are new in the party and lack the much needed acceptability among the party ranks and file.
What do they want? If the existing setup is to be retained, many think that former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira be made party’s central Punjab President while Rana Farooq Saeed from Faisalabad and Barrister Aamir Hassan from Lahore should serve as general secretary and secretary information respectively under him. For south Punjab, they would be comfortable with Makhdum Shahabuddin and his present team.
It also transpired during background discussions with PPP jiyalas that they are not ready to accept anybody other than Bilawal and Asif Ali Zardari as leaders.
They want the Punjab office-bearers to act like workers and not leaders. The second tier of the party should consist of workers, they argue. Party workers also seemed averse to assigning any key role to any party man who served as federal minister during last PPP government.