Finding itself restricted to Sindh following the disastrous results of the 2013 general elections, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) now plans to step up its political activity under the leadership of co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It has been decided that the party will hold a rally in Karachi on 18th October – a symbolic continuation of the journey unfinished by Benazir Bhutto due to twin bombings on Karsaz on the same date in 2007. On 30th November, Bilawal will reportedly lead a rally in the heart of Punjab, Lahore. Party members believe that in Bilawal, they have the best chance of attracting estranged supporters as well as new ones. During this year, we have seen Bilawal travel from Twitter to the flooded lands of Punjab where he received an encouraging welcome, lending weight to the claim that the charisma of Bhutto is still very much alive and kicking. While there is criticism over the PPP’s dynastic politics, the Bhutto bloodline remains its life force.

The timing of the campaign should also be taken into account. As the PML-N and the PTI trade blows in Punjab and elsewhere, the PPP simply cannot afford to stay idle. It will either lose ground to the PML-N or the PTI, as it was observed in the 2013 elections. Its support to the PML-N government in the center has also served to displease party workers, especially from the PML-N dominated Punjab. From grassroots workers to party stalwarts, there is considerable resentment over the PPP’s role in ‘saving’ the PML-N government. Certain reports suggest that the PPP leadership is also concerned over abandonment of workers in favour of other parties such as the PTI, which they believe is doing to the PML-N exactly what it deserves. During this time of immense political activity, it only makes sense for the PPP to make attempts to charge and regain its support in the masses. The party would prefer to be ready for an election or mobilisation of workers in the event that the PML-N government is sent packing. With Operation Zarb-e-Azb going on in North Waziristan, it has now been afforded room previously unavailable owing to serious threats by militants.

Bilawal has also issued an open letter seeking support from party workers and promising them desired change within the PPP. The letter also clearly identifies the PPP as a left-wing party in an attempt to do away with the ambiguity surrounding the party’s identity and ideology. However, these are promises not at all unheard of, and more often than not, they remain unfullfilled. What exactly is this ‘reform’ which young Bilawal wishes to bring into the party? Will we see new faces? Or old faces uttering new words? Will poor and grassroots political workers begin receiving party tickets? Or will the rich and powerful feudal lords and industrialists continue to represent the poor, hapless workers of the land?