Zardari directs PPP ministers to remain available to public

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan People’s Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari has directed the cabinet members belonging to the PPP to remain available to the public as part of the general elections preparations.

Zardari’s close aides told The Nation that the former President does not expect elections before schedule – after August 2023 – but thinks “we have already entered the election time.”

“The ministers in the federal cabinet and those who took oath this week in Punjab have been directed to concentrate on the people’s problems and try to resolve them. He has also asked them to report on performance,” said one PPP leader. PPP Information Secretary Faisal Kareem Kundi said the party wants to promptly move towards fresh elections as soon as the election reforms are done. He said the PPP wants electoral reforms to be completed as soon as possible. “We are ready for elections anytime but can’t go into the elections with the rules that were introduced by the last (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led) government,” he added. He said the PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were observing the performance of the PPP ministers. Among Pakistani opposition parties, the PPP retains a critical position owing to its tenure in power in Sindh, Pakistan’s second largest province. The PPP, founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, grew out of a five-month-long mass movement that led to the end of military dictator Ayub Khan’s government in March 1969.

Election preparations

The party has been a formidable actor in Pakistani politics ever since, enjoying multiple stints in power following its inception in 1967. Before their deaths, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto both served as the country’s prime minister in the 1970s (1973–1977) and 1980s and 1990s (1988–1990, 1993–1996), respectively. In 2022, the PPP remains an important factor in the politics of Pakistan despite its electoral weight being confined to Sindh in the last two general elections (2013 and 2018). Since 2018, the party has walked a delicate tightrope to balance the imperatives of holding on to power in Sindh and joining national opposition parties in a collaborative anti-government coalition known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement. The PPP left the PDM in 2021 following the election of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani as the opposition leader in the upper chamber.

 

However, by the end of 2021, the PPP’s ties with other opposition parties had smoothed as the latter recognized the PPP’s position as a formidable force of opposition in Pakistan.

PPP sources said that Zardari wants the elections to be held as close to the schedule as possible to “keep the tradition of parliaments completing terms.”

“He thinks the people have worked hard and sacrificed for democracy so this trend (of parliaments completing terms) must continue,” said PPP leader Farhatullah Babar.

 

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