NOKHAIZ SAHI and Abdullah Zafar

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI - Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) veteran Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who is disappointed with the party’s attitude with him, may launch a forward bloc within the party.

One of his major complaints, as per party sources, was that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur is influencing party decisions.

The meetings of Amin Fahim with former president Pervez Musharraf and Pir of Pagara raised many eyebrows within PPP ranks and it compelled Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah to meet with Fahim and assure him that party leadership would address his reservations.

Well-placed sources informed told The Nation that Fahim was enraged with party high-ups because he and his close aides have been cornered by PPP top leadership. They were also sidelined during general elections on the pressure of Faryal Talpur and the party ignored all those who were recommended by Amin Fahim for tickets including former federal sports minister Pir Aftab Shah, Pir of Ranipur Fazal Shah and Ghulam Ali Nazmani.

Sources also said Amin Fahim wanted to see his son Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman chief minister of Sindh but party leadership did not consider his son’s name for top post of the province and even did not assign him an active portfolio in Sindh Cabinet.

The sources said Amin Fahim started avoiding attending party meetings when the party appointed Sherry Rehman as vice president and he was not consulted on this key appointment.

Amin Fahim also wanted that party should pressurise the federal government of PML-N to stop all cases against him but PPP leadership did not record the protest in or out of the parliament.

After getting disappointed with PPP leadership, Fahim limited his presence in party meetings and he did not even visit Peshawar with other leadership for attending the All Parties Conference which was called by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the Peshawar incident.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Zardari had ordered the party leadership to reach Peshawar after the school incident and all top leadership including Khursheed Shah, Aitzaz Ahsan, Senate Chairman Nayyer Bokhari, Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Noor Alam Khan, Akhwandzada Chatan and Faisal Karim Kundi visited the hospitals and inquired after the injured students and teachers.

Sources informed that Amin Fahim has worth, respect and good support within the party in Sindh as well as in Punjab and he can launch forward bloc with good number of parliamentarians. Former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani is also unhappy with the party attitude towards senior leadership in Punjab and Faryal Talpur’s influence on party decisions.

Gilani is considered among those in the close circle of Amin Fahim and he may provide support to him in Punjab if the estranged leader goes ahead with his plan to launch forward bloc. Fahim is in contact with Pir Pagara and both leaders may form a new alliance before next elections, the sources added.

Meanwhile, on the directives of Asif Zardari, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Khursheed Shah on Saturday visited Amin Fahim in Karachi and tried to remove his concerns over Zardari’s decisions.

The meeting came after Amin Fahim along with PML-F chief Pir Pagara met Pervez Musharraf on Friday. The PPP leadership took notice of the meeting and directed the two senior PPP leaders to persuade Amin Fahim over the issue.

The meeting between the three lasted for around three hours. Although Fahim did not accompany Khursheed and Raja Pervez to the media talk but Shah said that Amin Fahim had no differences with the party leadership. He defended Fahim’s meeting with Musharraf and said he met the former president in broad daylight and it should not be highlighted with wrong intentions.

“Fahim’s meeting with Musharraf should not be taken in wrong context as meetings between political leaders was a routine matter and PPP leader Benazir Bhutto also held two meetings with Musharraf in Dubai,” he said. He also tried to set aside the perception that their meeting with Fahim was scheduled after Musharraf’s meeting and said that it was scheduled four days ago.

Shah said that PPP had supported the current setup in the country for the sake of democracy and they stand firm on it and would continue to support democratic forces for saving the system.

Speaking on the occasion, Raja Pervez denied that he had met Musharraf and said that he cannot meet a person who attacked democracy in the country. “I have no intension to meet Musharraf in future as well,” he said. He also denied any differences between PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father Asif Ali Zardari on political grounds but said that he did not have any knowledge regarding their personal issues.

Raja said PPP was on the frontline against terrorism in the country and they would take every action to purge the country from militants. He, however, denied responding to queries regarding salient features of action plan which prime minister has ordered a committee to chalk out to fight extremism in the country.

Sources privy to the meeting between the PPP leaders said that Amin Fahim expressed his reservations over neglecting his role in party decisions and said that he was not contacted over changes in the party. Khursheed and Pervez Ashraf conveyed special message of Zardari to Amin Fahim and requested him to once again play his role for reviving the party. They reportedly also assured that his reservations would be conveyed to Zardari. Fahim said that he would decide over resuming his PPP activities after consulting his family.