KARACHI - The clouds of a raging controversy have engulfed the political horizon of the country after the main opposition party, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), along with its allies announced to boycott the presidential election slated for July 30.

The controversy started by the PPP hawks like Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani may severely hurt the interests of the beleaguered PPP. Within hours of the announcement  of PPP to boycott the presidential poll, voices of dissent rose from certain quarters in the party giving the first hint that the cracks that had developed over five years because of the poor governance and the misrule are real and may destroy the political fabric of the party.

Keeping in view this situation, the observers are expecting a political change in Sindh, the bastion of PPP, after the presidential election in which the PML-N candidate will occupy the highest chair of the country.

PPP’s boycott is an indication that the party has stood up against the federal system which it once supported with full-throated slogans when in power. Now it has become aware that there is no space for it at the Centre.

Though both the party circles and the presidential spokesman are constantly claiming that President Zardari will stay in Pakistan after his departure from the top slot, but the ground facts are contrary to their claims. Observers are of the view that Zardari will leave the country forever. Substantiating their arguments, they say Zardari is co-chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party and not the PPP-Parliamentarians which has representation in the parliament with Makhdoom Amin Fahim as its chairman.

Observers are predicting drastic changes in the PPP hierarchy after the departure of Zardari from the top position as the party will have no say at the Centre.

Political circles are giving credence to the reported annoyance of Makhdoom Amin Fahim with the party high command for not elevating him to the slot of the opposition leader in the National Assembly and for not giving his brother or son the top executive slot of Sindh.

Besides this acrimony with Makhdoom family of Hala, the ticklish issue as to who will lead the party in future is another question haunting the party cadres.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been missing from the political horizon since mid of the election campaign and has not yet come. There are rumours that he has developed some differences with his father.

It is a million-dollar question haunting the political circles whether Faryal Talpur, the sister of President Zardari, who had the final say in the affairs of the Sindh government and the party when PPP was in power both at the Centre and Sindh, will be able to keep its position intact after departure of Zardari from the Presidency.

PPP, time and again, has expressed apprehension about the imposition of governor’s rule in Sindh. But what PPP is not pointing out is the fear of emergence of a forward bloc in the party in the days to come like that was created during the premiership of Mir Zafarullah Jamali. At that time a similar forward bloc under the nomenclature of “Patriots” came into being. The same old successful exercise could also be repeated this time.

The political circles are giving importance to the recent statement of former Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Ali Magsi that no forward bloc is being formed for the time being. He has also admitted that there are differences between Faryal Talpur and the party cadres. The induction of new faces in the Sindh cabinet has created rift among the heavyweights and the old party guards who remained loyal to the party under all circumstances.

Political observers are of the view that many disgruntled party leaders who kept mum during the last five years may give vent to their anger against the party hierarchy by forming a group which may follow an independent policy instead of toeing the party dictates. Some of the party leaders may be lured and coerced to join a new group. The sophisticated weapon of corruption cases, new and old, will be used in the creation of a forward bloc.

MQM which is facing crises in the party ranks and has adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ policy will play an important role in the number game in the formation of a possible new political setup in Sindh.