LAHORE - In the wake of recent defections from the party and in anticipation of many more, the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has convened a meeting of party’s Punjab leaders on Thursday (today) at Karachi to ponder over the development which has jolted the party at a time when its leadership has challenged the military establishment.

PPP’s central Punjab President, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Southern Punjab President Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood, former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira have been asked to attend the meeting.

Two important PPP leaders from Okara, Syed Sumsam Bokhari and Ashraf Khan Sohna on Wednesday announced to join the PTI alongwith their supporters.

Both the party stalwarts have attributed their departure from the PPP to wrong policies of Mian Manzoor Wattoo who, according to them, had made the party as his personal fiefdom.

They also complained that top party leadership was not paying any heed to their concerns in this regard.

Many more PPP men are said to be in the line to follow the suit at an appropriate time. Former State Minister from Narowal, Tariq Anees is planning to join the PTI in the next few days.

The Gondals of Mandi Bhauddin are still weighing their options and don’t seem to be in a hurry to leave the party, it has been learnt. There are also reports that a proposal to appoint Nazar Muhammad Gondal as party’s central Punjab President is under consideration of the party leadership.

PPP fears more defections in the days to come especially from the central and northern Punjab as it perceives the move as part of establishment’s plan to strengthen the PTI in these parts of the province which have traditionally been the stronghold of the PML-N.

Meanwhile, a Press release issued by media office of party’s central Punjab President on Wednesday claimed that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto was holding one- on- one meeting with Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo at Bilawal House Karachi on Thursday afternoon.

It further said that Wattoo will brief the Chairman on the recent defections to the PTI, organisational matters, forthcoming Local Bodies elections and the understanding reached with other Opposition political parties in this regard. Performance of the party candidates in the recently held by-elections in Nankana and Mandi Bahauddin would also come under discussion, according to the release.