LAHORE -  Former federal minister Faisal Saleh Hayat yesterday said a clear vision and active politics of PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to revive the party on the basic ideology of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had inspired him to rejoin the party.

“We will always stand by Bilawal Bhutto as he has promised to fill the gap created by the death of Benazir Bhutto,” Faisal Saleh told media persons at the residence of Shakeela Rashid, PPP leader and widow of former senior minister of the Bhutto cabinet, Sheikh Rashid. He visited Shakeela Rashid’s residence along with another PPP former minister Khalid Ahmad Khan Kharel.

Faisal Saleh Hayat had left PPP after the 2002 elections, had formed a splinter under the nomenclature of PPP-Patriots and had joined PML-Q to enable it to form government at the centre under Pervez Musharraf.

Faisal Saleh met PPP-P President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto last week along with Khalid Ahmad Kharel to reach an ‘understanding’ with them to rejoin the party. Makhdoom of Shah Jewena shrine had a long association with PPP, which deepened after the return of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in April 1986 during the era of General Ziaul Haq. He was also made a minster in the Benazir government after 1988 elections.

A formal announcement regarding the return of Faisal Saleh Hayat and Khalid Ahmad Khan Kharel to PPP will be made at the residence of the latter in Kamalia in the presence of PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto who is due to lead a rally from Lahore to Faisalabad division on January 19.

To a question on punishment to Pervez Musharraf for his November 3, 2007 PCO and incarceration of the superior court judges, Faisal categorically said it must not be done. A high-treason trial only against Musharraf was not right.

When asked about the present Panama case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, he said, without prejudice to the apex court hearing, in his opinion it had become a case of self-evidence after the prime minister and his children had admitted ownership of the offshore companies and foreign properties, adding their statements were hugely antithetical. He said the case was bringing a bad name to the country at the international level after the PM’s family had been named in the offshore companies.

When asked about failure to trace the assassinators of Benazir Bhutto, he regretted PPP and PML-Q during their tenures had failed to do so. Faisal put the onus on the sitting PML-N government to do the job and expose the killers of Benazir Bhutto, discharging their obligations under the Charter of Democracy (CoD).

When asked why he had ditched the PPP in 2002 and joined Q-League, he gave a brief and circuitous reply that the party had given up its motto of ‘resistance against the forces of status quo’.

About the allegations he levelled against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf regarding misappropriations in the rental power plants, Faisal said he still stood by these charges.

Answering a question about Imran’s politics, he said Khan had played a good role in the opposition, adding he needed to learn more in politics.

Answering another question, Faisal Saleh said PML-Q President Ch Shujaat Hussain had met him with an offer to join his party, but he was reaching understanding with PPP, so he did not make commitment to him.

Faisal Saleh said PPP at present was in a dire need to revive its basic ideology to get back its workers and activate them. He said the process in the provinces, particularly in Punjab, to revive the party has begun and the future belonged to PPP. Under the leadership of Bilawal, PPP needed to give a roadmap for is revival as it was in 70s. He revealed a number of other leaders were poised to rejoin PPP.