LAHORE - Selection of PPP’s Lahore president has never been as difficult for the top leadership as is today. It is an important party office as the provincial capital elects 13 MNAs for the National Assembly and 27 MPAs for the provincial legislature.

Once a stronghold of the PPP, Lahore has now become the fortress of the ruling PML-N which is controlling its politics for the last over two decades.

Samina Khalid Ghurki was the last Lahore President when party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dissolved all provincial and district organizations in April this year.

A number of candidates are vying for the coveted slot including some old players. A new brand of young politicians who got political training in the last five years, are also in the race.

From amongst the old party men, Samina Ghurki, Aslam Gill, Navid Ch and Haji Azizur Rehman Chan are lobbying for the Lahore office. Babar Butt, an old party activist, is also a candidate. Ms Ghurki wants to retain this office for another term though the party did not perform well in the last general elections under her leadership. She could not win even her own seat despite her welfare and political work in the constituency.

Aslam Gill and Haji Azizur Rehman Chan have already served as party’s Lahore President. A section of opinion in the party supports Mr Gill as the new president believing that PPP was a vibrant political force under his previous tenure. Many think Chan’s performance as City president was not up to the mark.

Navid Ch, another aspirant for the Lahore office, is remembered as the most successful information secretary the party ever had in Punjab province. Presently, he appears on news channels quite frequently to present party’s point of view on different issues.

The leadership is also eying Barrister Amir Hasan and Faisal Mir as the potential candidates for this office. Both are young, educated and most vibrant party stalwarts in the City. But they are not good at political wheeling and dealing for being novice in politics. Barrister Amir is not only active in the field, he is also seen defending his party on different news channels on almost daily basis. Mr Mir has made his mark on the leadership for generating political activities in the city on different occasions.

In the given situation, the party has to choose a leader who is capable of taking along all the dissident groups within the party. Almost all the aspirants lack this quality. Another problem before the leadership is whether the new man should be picked from amongst the older party guards or the younger cadre should be given preference.    But in either case, there is no guarantee that the new president will be able to make a political turnaround for the party which is really in a bad shape at the moment. It has no representation from Lahore neither in Punjab Assembly nor the National Assembly. 

Also, the new Lahore president will be facing the great challenge of party’s revival in the presence of a well-entrenched PML-N, and another emerging political force, the PTI which is being seen a potential threat to the PPP.