ISLAMABAD - With the aim to strengthen the Pakistan People’s Party in central Punjab, Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has appointed astute and influential politician Mian Manzoor Wattoo as the president of party’s Punjab chapter.

An equally vibrant party leader, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira would be appointed as secretary general to help Wattoo spruce up the party working in that part of Punjab, considered to be a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Informed party sources told The Nation that the reshuffle at top PPP hierarchy in the Punjab was on the cards and decision to replace Imtiaz Safdar Warriach as party’s Punjab Chapter President had been taken long ago because of his failure to deliver and the growing complaints of the party leaders against him.

They said President Zardari was specially focusing Punjab to break their sort of political monopoly there. He, in alliance with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), was preparing a strategy to outwit PML-N and in coming months PPP would come up with more “surprises” for their political opponents in the province, the added.

Sources also said that Zardari would personally handle the party’s election campaign in the province and for it he was bringing changes in the party’s top hierarchy. Analysts rate Wattoo as one of the shrewdest politician with strong political clout in central Punjab while the Kairas of Lalamusa are also very strong in the parts of the province bordering Potohar region.

The PPP had already split its party structure in Punjab by establishing a separate body for southern Punjab under the leadership of Makhdoom Shahbuddin, who is a veteran party leader from Seraiki belt and is managing the party affairs there effectively.

Sources said that sometime back there was also a proposal of making a separate party chapter for the areas falling in the Potohar Region, from Jhelum to Attock, but the matter was deferred and it was decided to focus on Central Punjab districts, where PML-N has strong roots.

With people like Wattoo and Tanvir Kaira to lead the new team of PPP in central Punjab, the party is expected to reinvigorate in the province, and along with its ally PML-Q, it is most likely to give the PML-N tough time in the upcoming elections. Political analysts are viewing this change of guard in Punjab chapter of the party as very smart move on part of Zardari.