The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). All these years the party accomplished many feats on the national level as international one. PPP also made some terrible mistakes in this five decades-long journey. An objective analysis will help in understanding the present standing of this political party.

Pakistan People’s Party emerged on the national political screen in the final days of military dictator Ayub Khan. With its progressive manifesto, it won the elections of 1970 in West Pakistan. Some critics blame PPP leader’s Zulfiqar Bhutto’s reluctance to share power with Mujeeb as the only reason for the debacle of Dhakka. However, it is correct only partially.

Zulfiqar, under powerful manifesto, steered out the nation form a wide range of crises and gave a new life to the defeated people. Still, the story of PPP was not all glory. While claiming to be the leader of a political party that believed in the democratic principles, Bhutto dismissed the elected nationalist governments in the then NWFP and Baluchistan, forgetting the bitter lessons of East Pakistan. The allegations and subsequent protests of opposition parties in 1977 paved the way for another decade of military rule in Pakistan.

After hanging of Bhutto, PPP saw Benazir Bhutto as the leader. Instead of delivering on the party manifesto of “Bread, Clothing, and Shelter,” PPP took a U-turn and embraced the neo-liberal capitalist model. This U-turn was the start of PPP’s decay. Admittedly, establishment never made it an easy task for political parties to complete their tenures, especially in the whole decade of the 90s. Nevertheless, it is also true that unnecessary collisions with institutions and rampant corruption were the issues PPP was best known for.

After the elections of 2008, PPP rose to power at the cost of Benazir’s murder. But, nothing changed much as far as party’s ideology and practices are concerned. Though it will be an injustice not giving credit to PPP for restoring the constitution to its original form and granting provincial autonomy to through the 18th amendment but the restoration of the constitution and freedoms to provinces are not enough feats, which guarantee a political party to remain relevant forever.

People gave their verdict against the poor performance of PPP in the elections of 2013, where the party virtually disappeared from the political scene of Pakistan except for in Sindh. Instead of learning from its mistakes, the party has proved a complete failure in the administration of Sindh as well. Once a party that used to take pride in the fact that it represented all the federating units of the country, it is only limited to Sindh today.