LAHORE - As the PPP is undergoing a process of regeneration after the defeat in 2013 elections, the leadership is indecisive on a number of key issues, the most important one being the decision on choosing between loyalty and competence when it comes to nominating party men on key positions.

Sources privy to the deliberations going on within the PPP circles over reorganisation of the party have confided to The Nation that Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto has reached the conclusion that loyalty factor had damaged the party in the past and it was time that competence is given preference over loyalty.

While Bilawal wants competent people around him, his father Asif Ali Zardari has the penchant for keeping the loyalists into the party fold.

He (Bilawal) believes that loyal but incompetent persons have always brought a bad name to the party because they fail to deliver while serving on important positions when the party is in power.

“Bilawal’s approach runs counter to that of his father Asif Ali Zardari, who believes in manoeuvrings and power politics by keeping the loyalists around,” said a party source requesting not to be named. 

He further told this scribe that Bilawal was in favour of taking loyalists into the party fold only if they were competent enough to run the party and perform important responsibilities when the party assumes power.

As the formal decision to hand over command of the party to young Bilawal is yet to be made, it is virtually being run by Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Bilawal has little or no say in party matters.

Also, a proposal to implement the will of Benazir Bhutto is still under consideration. Under the proposed arrangement, Bilawal would be made chairman of the PPP whereas his father would be made patron-in-chief of the party in the coming months.

According to BB’s will which she had left in October 2007, in anticipation of her assassination, Asif Ali Zardari was to lead the party in case of her death, and Bilawal was to assume this role at some later stage on completion of his studies. He turned 25 in September last year, but he is not being elevated to the top position.

Currently, Bilawal is Patron-in-Chief of the PPP while Zardari is acting as defacto chairman, though without formal approval of the party’s CEC. In the strict legal terms, the former president is currently not holding any party office which he relinquished in March 2013 in line with court orders to vacate the political office.

A document containing names of PPP office-holders was submitted in the Election Commission of Pakistan in March 2013 which did not mention the name of Asif Zardari in any capacity.

The PPP leadership is yet to settle the issue of as to who would be leading the party ahead of the coming local elections.  Senior PPP leaders think that if Bilawal is to lead the party, the decision has to be made well ahead of the polls.

It has been further learnt that PPP is also indecisive over the timing of activating the party cadres to rejuvenate it. Punjab leadership is in favour of starting political activities sooner than later, while the leadership in Sindh wants to reap the fruits of being in the government for a longer time. The party cadres in KP and Balochistan are almost non-existent and no body desires to wake up from the deep slumber.

The much publicised Punjab visit of Bilawal Bhutto has met with frequent deferments, leaving the party workers in perpetual despair.