LAHORE - PPP Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, who is also being tipped as party’s new central Punjab president, thinks that party needs conceptual clearance for its revival especially in Punjab where it is fast losing ground to its rivals.

In an informal chat with a group of journalists here, Kaira talked about issues facing the party and also shared some details about the future vision it was going to conceive to revitalize its cadres.

He neither confirmed nor denied the reports of his new assignment in Punjab, saying he was hearing such rumours from the media only. But sources insist the proposal was under serious consideration of the top leadership and the expected change may come after completion of third phase of local bodies’ elections.

Kaira identified the lack of conceptual clearance as the main problem facing the party at present, and which needed to be resolved before doing anything else.

“At the moment, there is confusion among the party ranks about whether the party should revert to its basic principles set at the time of its inception, or to formulate new policies to cope with the new challenges”, he explained his point.

Kaira further stated that PPP was originally conceived as the party of the downtrodden and drew its strength mainly from the unprivileged sections of society. “But over the years, power politics seems to have taken over the basic principles and the party worker is really confused over the new situation. We need to move forward with clarity of mind.”

The PPP spokesperson admitted that party was really in a bad shape in Punjab and a lot needed to be done to set the things right.

“The diehard party workers are not happy with the leadership and they have valid reasons for this alienation. We have committed mistakes in the past and we need to acknowledge this fact first and then try not to repeat them”

He informed that a party think tank was currently working on different proposals to prepare a document to define party’s future line of action on different issues. “We are revisiting each and everything to formulate a new policy to restore party’s lost glory”, he said.

To a question, he said the PPP under Bilawal Bhutto has to be a different party by all means. “It was a different party under Z.A Bhutto, Shaheed BB and Asif Ali Zardari as they all led the party in different circumstances. Now, it has to be a different party under Bilawal to cope with the new challenges”, he affirmed.

Speaking in the context of local polls, the PPP leader said that it was unfortunate that bureaucracy in Punjab and Sindh has been widely politicized over the years. But he hurried to add that the situation in Punjab was even worse as the civil machinery here had virtually become a tool in the hands of Sharifs who were using it for their political ends.

Kaira claimed that PPP was the only political party in Pakistan which had been founded on a certain ideology. “The PTI talks about introducing reforms which is mainly an issue of governance. Similarly, the PML-N has no set principles and keeps changing its policies according to its political needs”.

He complained that both these parties had been very soft on extremists only to increase their vote banks. He moaned that Punjab government was not taking steps to exterminate intolerance from society.

Taking about political future of the PTI, he said Khan’s party was losing ground mainly because of Khan’s own follies. He is committing mistake after mistake and spoiling the party, he viewed.

According to him, it was Khan’s biggest mistake to keep sticking to his demand for resignation of the prime minister at the time of Islamabad sit-in last year. He criticised the PTI chief for failing to heed PPP’s advice on PM’s resignation issue at that time.

Nokhaiz Sahi adds from Islamabad: The PPP decided to appoint Kaira as Punjab chapter President with the daunting task of restructuring and reorganization of the party in the province.

The PPP top leadership had taken the decision earlier to remove Manzoor Wattoo after the LB polls in Punjab as the party could not manage to win a single district of the province during the first two phases of the elections. However, the performance of PPP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was better than of Punjab.

Sources in PPP told this correspondent that party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto invited Qamar Zaman Kaira in Karachi recently keeping in view his performance in the local bodies’ elations in Lalamusa and appreciated his efforts. PPP senior leader Faryal Talpur was also present in the meeting.

Top leadership conveyed Kaira that the party wanted to see him as new party president in Punjab and to activate the party at union council level. It is likely that Kaira would assume charge before the third phase of LB polls in Punjab on December 05, the, sources said.

PPP president Punjab Manzoor Wattoo is taking interest in party affairs after poor performance in the by-election in NA-122. However, he did not notice Nadeem Afzal Chan’s protest against rigging in recent LB polls in his district. No provincial party office bearer or leader issued any statement in the favour of Chan’s stance to express solidarity.

Kaira confirmed that he met Bilawal and Faryal in Karachi last week and discussed the overall political situation of the province. He said that the party leadership did not give any intimation regarding a new assignment.

He said he condemned the Punjab government’s interference in LB polls and said that there was no doubt that mandate was stolen in Chan’s district.

Responding to a question, he said Manzoor Wattoo should have visited the Chan’s protest camp against the government.

When contacted, Wattoo he said that he was unaware of the development.

He said he supports Chan’s stance and the party leadership has shown concern over the Punjab government’s interference in polls.

On the other hand, Nadeem Afzal Chan said that no party leader contacted him except Senator Sherry Rehman over the rigging issue in his district. He has decide to launch the complaint against the local administration including Assistant Commissioner, DRO, TRO and TMO who rigged the election on the behest of secretary to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif Imdad Bosal.

Chan said he was also planning approach the Election Commission of Pakistan against local administration irrespective of party’s support. He said that he was disappointed over the attitude of provincial president and other officer barriers and top leadership of the party.