ISLAMABAD -  Former president Asif Ali Zardari is expected to return home in days rather than weeks, party leaders said.

Close aides of the Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman said Zardari was under pressure from the party to attend Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary on December 27.

The PPP is likely to make some big announcements on December 27 including the decision to introduce Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the parliament through a by-election in the coming weeks.

The party is also set to launch street politics if the government did not accept the four demands - implement decision of a multi-party conference chaired by Zardari on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, appoint a full-time foreign minister, form a parliamentary committee on national security and adopt the PPP-drafted bill for accountability - put forth by Bilawal with a deadline of December 27.

Yesterday, Bilawal flew to Dubai as his father called him to discuss his return from self-imposed exile.

During his stay abroad, Zardari is believed to have allowed Bilawal to reorganise the party according to his own convenience and preferences with a blend of experience and youth.

Party leaders insist Zardari was content with his role as mentor and would prefer to go into a shell slowly as Bilawal matures as the party leader.

Zardari served as the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013 – the peak of his political career. He is still the chief of the PPP Parliamentarians – that has been contesting the elections for the PPP since 2002.

The PPP co-chairman rose to prominence after his marriage to late Benazir Bhutto in 1987 and after her election as the prime minister in 1988 he became the First Gentleman.

He was criticised for corruption when then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the PPP government in 1990. When Benazir was re-elected as the PM in 1993, Zardari served as the federal investment minister and chairperson Pakistan Environmental Protection Council.

Later, he developed differences with Bhutto’s brother Murtaza Bhutto who was killed in a police encounter in Karachi on September 20, 1996. After a few weeks, Bhutto's government was also dismissed by Farooq Leghari, then president. Zardari was arrested and indicted for Murtaza Bhutto's murder as well as corruption charges.

He was released from jail in 2004 and went into self-exile to Dubai, but returned when Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007. As the new co-chairman of the PPP, he led his party to victory in the 2008 general elections.

In the 2013 polls, the PPP performed badly amid Zardari’s low approval ratings, ranging from 11 to 14 percent. The PPP, however, continues to run the provincial government in Sindh.

Zardari had flown abroad in 2014 after delivering a fiery speech against the establishment. Though, he did not name anybody, he warned the generals of accountability.

Senior PPP leader Rehman Malik, who met Zardari this week, said Zardari was ready to return home. “His health is much better. Of course he is coming soon,” he said.

Senator Malik said he had discussed the political situation with Zardari and he was happy with the improvement in the popularity of the PPP.

“He will be back in days rather than weeks. I cannot share the exact date due to security reasons,” he said.

Other party leaders said Zardari had considered December 15 for return but did not take a final decision. “To be on the safer side, you can expect him between December 15-20 unless the situation changes,” said a close aide.

Senator Rehman Malik said Zardari and Bilawal both were not ready to withdraw the four demands. “(Finance Minister) Ishaq Dar says the government is ready to accept three demands and can talk on the fourth but we are not ready to compromise,” he claimed.

The lawmaker said the government should not waste time and accept Bilawal’s demands as the PPP will launch protests after December 27.

“If the government continues with the delaying tactics, there won’t be a ‘burger change’ but a real change,” he warned.

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Saeed Ghani said PPP and its chairman had the same political stance because “PPP is a democratic party and takes decisions with consensus.”

To a statement by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Senator Ghani said the PTI was itself engaged in taking U-turns. He asked Qureshi to explain several U-turns taken by the PTI.

“Who decided to boycott parliament and who decided to end it? The entire politics of PTI revolves around contradictions,” he said.

He said a part of PTI hanged around umpire’s finger and another part plans for different types of dramas.

Senator Ghani said both PTI and the PML-N were trying to hoodwink people of Pakistan and staging theatres of sorts.

Senator Ghani said that PPP had one voice and the whole party was demanding of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to accept four-point put forward by Bilawal because these demands “are for the supremacy of parliament, strengthening of democracy and prosperity of the country.”