Following the PPP’s resounding defeat in Saturday’s elections, there has been a spate of high-profile resignations, as certain individuals took responsibility for the defeat suffered by the ruling party. On Monday, the PPP’s former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani resigned as Senior Vice-Chairman of the party, while his former Cabinet member Manzoor Wattoo resigned as PPP Central Punjab President. Mr Gilani’s cousin, Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmud, also sent in his resignation as Punjab Governor. The reason he gave was that he was paving the way for the new government, so that it could advise the appointment of its own nominee as successor. This is correct constitutionally, but does not entirely belie the fact that the PPP was brought to this pass in Punjab, where its relatively strong showing of 2008 was now a rout, where responsibility had to be taken. The ANP has also seen party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan resign, with his stepmother Begum Nasim Wali on Monday announcing in Peshawar that she was stepping in the breach and taking the command of the party into her own hands.

Mr Gilani proffered an explanation for his party’s defeat: loadshedding. He should know, for it was during his tenure that his ultimate successor, his Water and Power Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, introduced the Rental Power Plants policy which not only failed to end loadshedding, but was also labelled corrupt. Raja Pervez lost his seat on Saturday. While Mr Gilani was not a contestant, his brother and sons were, and all lost their seats. As a matter of fact, Mr Wattoo lost both the National Assembly seats he contested, as did the Governor’s son. Thus Mr Asfandyar Wali’s resignation after losing his own seat offers a parallel. However, the close association of the ANP with the PPP would also have contributed, as it did to the collapse of the ANP, which won 38 seats in the last Assembly, to five. Begum Nasim said that the loss was due to incidents of terrorism. This does not acknowledge what the PPP’s own elder statesmen are themselves acknowledging: that the PPP’s record in government was poor, the party did not organise itself properly and the ANP’s firm backing, indeed advocacy, at the Centre, did it more harm than good.

The spat of resignations is new. If one Governor resigns, the others do not have a greater right to remain. Also, PPP provincial Presidents need to consider their positions, such as the South Punjab chief, whose separate-province drive was such a flop. Indeed, the resignation of Mr Gilani and PPP Parliamentarians chief Makhdum Amin Fahim, who submitted it earlier, shows that no one is safe in the PPP. The example of Mr Asfandyar Wali shows that the allies are not safe either.