The death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto was commemorated by the Pakistan People’s Party in spectacular fashion; the arrival of former President Asif Ali Zardari to Karachi after a year and a half out of the country, and then the anticipation of a “surprise” by Mr Zardari.

The grand gift to the people of Pakistan is this: Mr Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be contesting elections to enter parliament in this term. The former President will be looking to take his sister, Faryal Talpur’s seat in Nawabshah, while Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would be replacing Ayaz Soomro in Larkana. With little over a year left in the next general elections of 2018, this move is most likely aimed at building pressure on the government in its last year, which could reap dividends come election time.

PPP’s poor showing in the 2013 elections, and a lacklustre display of governance in Sindh since then, has not won the party any plaudits in this term of government. Maybe the PPP does need someone from the ‘family’ in parliament to get more traction. Add that to the more active participation of PTI in politics – albeit on the streets instead of in parliament (where it actually counts) – the label of being the ‘friendly opposition’ in parliament might be hard to shake off for PPP if it does not take a more aggressive stand against the PML-N now.

With the majority up for grabs in 2018, it is important to make 2017 count, which is why building pressure on the government through a potential long march and the four demands of PPP in parliament might not be too bad a strategy. But it probably won’t work in shaking PML-N’s vice-like grip on the electorate in Punjab.

Now that the two chairmen are planning on running for an election, maybe the party would do well to use its current leaders to increase its voter base, instead of using its martyred leaders to try and hold on to the few left still voting for PPP. Additionally, it is all very well to “surprise” the voter base with an election campaign, but it does not bode well for them that someone who wants to represent them was missing for the better part of the year. This is Zardari fighting for Zardari, not for his constituents.

This move is nothing more than a means to step into parliament to point out the ruling party’s failings, rather than correct their own party’s failings since 2013. This tactic is not a guaranteed winning strategy, because the PML-N will most likely have ammunition of its own.