LAHORE - PPP Co-chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari arrived in the city yesterday. On his arrival from Karachi through a special plane, Asif Ali Zardari was received by PPP Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira, Information Secretary Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and others. He was driven to Bilawal House amid tight security.

Initially, the former president is due to stay in the city for three days yet his stay could be prolonged if need arose, say the PPP sources. During his stay in the city, Zardari is scheduled to meet leaders of various political parties including PML-Q while some political leaders are also due to announce their joining the PPP in presence of the PPP co-chairperson. Sources say Zardari will also chair meetings of the party leaders for receiving input on the strategy for the next elections, with particular reference to mobilising the party workers in Punjab, and decide the matters relating to party organisation at different levels.

Last days, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had visited Lahore during which he had met the party workers and the office-bearers of different districts to know their problems and matters about their strengthening. And the current visit of PPP co-chairperson is a step ahead although his visit to Lahore was long awaited when he returned from Dubai on December 23 last after 18 months stay abroad.

The sources say that the former president was also scheduled to discuss with the Punjab party cadres the issue sparked by the disclosures of former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani wherein he leveled allegations on the last PPP government about assisting the US in the operation to capture Osama which was undertaken by the US SEALs on May 2, 2011 in Abbotabad. The PPP leaders strongly deny the allegations and want commission inquiry to probe charges of the former envoy, who is also the main character in memogate scam and these days living in America under the court permission in the same case. Sources say Zardari is also expected to discuss with the legal wizards of the party various aspects of Haqqani statement and line of action on the same.  The present visit of Zardari is also marked by the background murder of PPP leader Babar Butt in the city which the PPP leadership has strongly resented terming it a move of the PML-N to suppress the PPP leadership in Punjab as MNA of the ruling party, Shoukat Sohail Butt is being named as abettor in the killing which took place at the superb area of the town, Lakhuder last week.