ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) recently launched campaign to regain lost glory is proving to be a bumpy ride. Defections from PPP stalwarts have put a damper on efforts aimed at reorganisation and revival of the party across the country.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is upbeat about revival of the party but a number of senior leaders from the Punjab, —- the province which ultimately decides outcome of national elections, are all set to jump ship, The Nation has learnt.

Former National Assembly member from KP Noor Alam left the party last week saying that the party has once again been hijacked by “a corrupt mafia”.

Another senior PPP leader from Punjab, Firdous Ashiq Awan is also ready to leave PPP on the grounds that the leadership did not take her in the loop in decisions regarding the party’s reorganisation in the province.

Awan told The Nation that she was “disappointed” at the leadership’s behaviour and that a special gang was running the party affairs and she did not want to be part of it.

She said that she did not take the decision to leave the party so far but it would be difficult to secure her seat on the PPP ticket.

The young chairman of the party announced last August that the new party organisation will be announced within three months but the process in this regard has not been completed so far.

The office bearers of Lahore and Sialkot are yet to be announced and organisation of Lahore of any party play vital role in elections in Punjab.

Bilawal Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari have on several occasions said in their speeches that the PPP will contact its upset leaders and bring them back in the party, but it has failed to do so in the province so far.

PPP sources told The Nation, that several big guns of the PPP Punjab were in contact with other major political parties to book their tickets for the next general elections.

They said that the provincial leaders had decided it due to Asif Zardari’s domination on party affairs and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto being forced to take a backseat.

They said that the party leadership neither contacted the upset party leaders in Punjab nor gave the task to the Punjab office bearers to contact them.

They also disclosed that the newly-appointed PPP Punjab team was not happy with Zardari taking the lead in party affairs instead of Bilawal as well as the interference of a business tycoon in party matters. 

“Upper Punjab is not the priority of Asif Zardari and his only focus is on those constituencies where PPP have strong candidates,” they added.

According to media reports, Asif Zardari invited the former federal minister Nazar Gondal in Karachi and convinced him to stay in the party but he is still in contact with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

PPP insiders said that Nazar Godal was a seasoned politician and his service for the PPP were unforgettable and if he left the part then it would be a big loss to the PPP in Upper Punjab.  

Talking to The Nation on the condition of anonymity, a senior PPP leader said that the PPP leadership had failed to engage the upset party leaders and it even did not bother to contact them.

He said that recently Noor Alam left the party on minor issues, which could have been settled but the party leadership did not task anyone to contact him.

The PPP leader said that Asif Zardari could have also contacted him or met him but he did not.

He said that several big PPP players of the Punjab were ignored by the party leadership during the last four years including Firdous Ashiq Awaz, former PPP Punjab president Imtiaz Safdar and Ghazanfar Gul.

He claimed that Nazar Gondal would not contest next election on PPP ticket or might join some other political party.

Talking to The Nation, PPP Information Secretary Chaudhary Manzoor said that nobody was ignored by the leadership and many people were also in contact with the PPP.

He said that the political momentum was natural before the general elections and there was nothing new. Manzoor claimed that the re-organisation process would be completed within a week and it was the PPP which dissolved the party organisations and announced new office bearers at every level. Chaudhry said that the party leadership was in contact with angry PPP leaders and also with Noor Alam.

He said that the party had given PPP Punjab Secretary General Nadeem Afzal Chan the task to contact Noor Alam and bring him back into the party fold.

Chan has denied, and said that he was not assigned this kind of assignment from the leadership so far.