Asif Zardari’s ascension to the Presidency of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) means that he now holds the dominant position in both PPP and PPPP. This however, might be short-lived considering the Election Commission’s issue over his leading role in two registered political parties. If he assumes the role of President, Bilawal would become the sole chairperson of PPP, which on the surface would give him more room to be independent, but Bilawal faces stiff resistance from what remains of the old guard in the party.

For all intents and purposes the PPP and PPPP are one and the same party, but while PPP might be the birthplace of the party’s political philosophy, it is PPPP that has been participating actively in elections since 2002. Even though Amin Fahim’s role had become largely ceremonial due to issues of health, Asif Ali Zardari is not likely to take a backseat with this appointment.

So what does this mean for the party’s continued tussle with the Federal government and the Rangers over powers granted in the Karachi operation? Zardari reportedly summoned legal aides to Dubai to consult them over the Interior Ministry’s refusal to uphold the Sindh Assembly’s resolution to limit powers. Does that mean that this fight is not over? Stubbornness on part of PPP at this point might be doing them more harm than good- as are Zardari’s directives from the safety of Dubai.

May 2013 and the party’s failure to gain national importance was a sign that things needed to change from within. Recent reports of dissention from within party ranks at Zardari’s appointment as president and his continued influence at the top is yet another indication that the party is going through a phase that might make it altogether irrelevant in the national sphere, unless things change drastically. The only drastic change we can foresee is that party members may defect due to the leadership crisis. Increasingly, the PTI is taking the place in the public sphere as the major opposition.

While the PPP regularly makes a big show of its young co-chairman visiting Punjab in a bid to reshuffle and reinvigorate the party in the province, there seems to be no concrete plan as to how this will be accomplished. Unless both PPP and PPPP see a change of leadership at the top, and choose issues that strike a more positive note with the electorate, the Chairman of PPP and the President of PPPP will both soon be limited to just one province alone.