President Asif Ali Zardari became the Co-Chairman of the largest political party - Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - in the country after the assassination of the legendry leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, on December 27, 2007. Zardari assumed this role on the basis of being her husband. In sharp contrast, Mohtarma after the death of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had struggled for decades to constitute the undiminished indivisibility of PPP. Her incomparable leadership not only kept the workers’ agility alive, but also ensured the party’s existence nationwide. Even all-out efforts by successive dictators and the establishment could not interrupt the expansion and influence of Bhutto's party in 30 years. Undoubtedly, President Zardari successfully completed his five-year tenure based on a totally misconceived ideology of reconciliation. With the intention to mislead the public, and especially PPP workers, the President blamed internal and external forces for the party’s defeat in Elections 2013; however, he did not accept or, perhaps, forgot to hold himself responsible for it.To make his position clear, President Zardari definitely needs to answer some tough questions: can he explain the necessity of intervention of international forces? But what about ignoring diehards who adhered to traditional views and placing Mian Manzoor Watto and Anwar Saifullah in command who do not owe allegiance to party? Can he justify the appointment of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, who already had allegations against him in the rental power projects (RPP) case, as the country’s Prime Minister? In addittion, after achieving the highest office in his career, President Zardari became oblivious to the winds of change - i.e. the rapidly changing political scenario in the country. Hence, the party was doomed to extinction in just five years. More scary is his intention to lead the PPP after the completion of his tenure as President. God knows what will the fate of the ‘sole’ ideological political party under the control of a mysterious, thoughtless and reckless manager. It seems that the Chairman of the PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in spite of his limited experience in politics, was well aware of the consequential damage caused by the slipshod handling of the party by Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. So, he deliberately abstained from participating in the election campaigns. It is unfortunate that the party of martyrs has been made a symbol of infamy. Also, despite the fact that PPP got the maximum number of seats in Sindh, and is yet the second largest party at the centre, none of the Bhuttos are alive to see this. Further, the emotional numbness of party workers is the result of malformed reconciliation. The perception of discredited leadership has stalled their confidence and incited sentiments of revolt. As a result, this will reduce the workers’ capability to continue the Bhuttos’ political struggle against the undemocratic forces and Pakistan’s enemies. The outcome of the elections has completely disarrayed them. The PPP, which had a huge vote bank in all the provinces, is now confined to Sindh. It was the sole party that had the capacity to attract and hold back the provincial or political bond. Winning or losing the elections, indeed, is not the only criterion to determine a party’s future, yet the strength lies in the ability of leadership to ensure that it bounces back. The centre-left mindset has to come out of adversity and is led by a capable leadership. It was not that people voted for 40 years for PPP for just Bhutto's blood, rather it was the agility of Mohtarma's efforts that kept the second line leadership thriving on the ideology. Having said that, President Zardari, however, has contributed towards the country and democratic system. For instance, he did not victimise his political opponents and blocked all attempts to divide the country. He settled some longstanding issues, like the NFC Award, provincial autonomy, resolving of NWFP (Now Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa) and Gilgit-Baltistan issue, implementing of  18th Amendment, transferring of power to Prime Minister and containing the establishment. The Gwadar Port and Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline projects reflect his vision for regional politics. All these accomplishments are masterstrokes. Nevertheless, his performance for the party has been disastrous.

The writer is the chief executive of Maaksons.