LAHORE - The PPP leadership is indecisive as yet on the question whether to contest the next general elections under the banner of Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarian (PPP-P) headed by Makhdoom Amin Fahim; or under the flag of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), headed by Bilawal Bhutto with Asif Ali Zardari as the Co-chairman.

Two parallel organisations - PPP-P and PPP - of the same party are in place at the moment, as the PPP is currently registered as PPP-P with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) since 2002. The PPP has so far contested two general elections, in 2002 and 2008, on the platform of PPP-P during the dictatorial rule of General Pervez Musharraf.

“This is an internal party issue, but a decision in this regard would be taken at appropriate time and made public as well,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar, the spokesperson for the President and PPP Co-Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, when contacted by TheNation.

It may be recalled here that it was under the compulsion of one of the provisions of the Political Parties Order, 2002 that PPP was forced to get itself registered under a modified nomenclature of Parliamentarians.

Former ECP Secretary Kanwar Dilshad told this scribe that General Musharraf had promulgated the Political Parties Order, 2002 to keep off the leaderships of the two major political parties from the political process here. According to the said Order, he said no person could be elected as head of any political party who had been convicted by any court of law.  “It was in this background that in the absence of late Benazir Bhutto who was then undergoing self-exile and had also been convicted by the court, it was decided to make Makhdoom Amin Fahim as head of a new party, the PPP-P. The PML-N also had to nominate Shahbaz Sharif as party president while Mian Nawaz Sharif was given the title of ‘Quaid’,” Dilshad explained.

It also merits mention here that after the 2002 general elections, 18 PPP MNAs parted ways with their parent party to join the Kings’ Party, and selected the title of ‘Patriots’ for them.

At the time of 2008 general elections, the PPP leadership decided to continue with the existing arrangement. It emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly, and Amin Fahim, under whose leadership the party won the election, was tipped as new prime minister. But due to opposition from the PML-N which considered him a close aide of Musharraf, his name was dropped from the list of probable candidates. This paved the way for election of Yousuf Raza Gilani as country’s prime minister.

Zardari was elected President after a few months following the ouster of Musharraf.  A PPP source was of the opinion that party should revert to its original nomenclature of three ‘Ps’ before the coming elections to avert any possible rebellion from within the party against the existing leadership.

He did not rule out such a possibility when the party is no more in power. “The current practice of juggling with three and four ‘Ps’ at a time may harm the party,” the source believed.