LAHORE - Former president Asif Ali Zardari has been notified as president of the all-powerful Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P) which is just another name for the mother party, the PPP.

PPP-P Secretary General Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has issued the notification which has been sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan to fulfil a legal requirement.

PPP’s Secretary General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa confirmed the development yesterday while talking to The Nation.

The office of President in the PPP-P fell vacant last month after the demise of Makhdoom Amin Fahim who held this office for well over 13 years.

He was the first head of this party created in 2002 under a legal compulsion necessitated following the promulgation of Political Parties Order 2002 by Pervez Musharraf then acting as country’s Chief Executive.

Earlier, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the PPP-P which met on December 27 last year had recommended Zardari’s name for the vacant slot.

Some party men had opposed the move but majority of the CEC members voted in his favour.

At present, the PPP, headed by Bilawal Bhutto, is dormant while the PPP-P, now under the direct command of Asif Zardari is doing electoral politics since 2002. Zardari has assumed the reins of a party which is actually into politics and which has its representation in the Senate, National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies besides the AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan legislatures.

The Nation contacted Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, a legal wizard of the PPP, to know if the former President could hold two offices simultaneously in two distinct political parties-the PPP and the PPP-P, registered separately with the Election Commission.

“The office of Co-Chairman is not a formal office in the PPP. It is, infact, an informal arrangement made at the party level to run the party affairs. This office is not included in the official list of party office-bearers which lies with the ECP”, he replied, adding, that Asif Zardari was not holding any office in the PPP since the legal bar imposed on him by the Lahore High Court when he was the President of Pakistan.

“We call Bilawal as PPP Chairman and Asif Zardari as Co-Chairman of the party. But legally speaking, neither of the two offices exists on papers submitted with the ECP.

Bilawal is, infact, Patron-in-Chief of the PPP in the official documents while Zardari does not hold any office in the mother party”, he further explained.

Latif Khosa also denied the existence of any Core Committee in the PPP-P often referred to in the media. “It is also an informal arrangement within the party. Whenever there is an urgent need to call a meeting of the CEC and all the members are not available on a short notice, the available ones are called to discuss an issue of urgent nature and we call it ‘Core Committee’.

He was also asked if the PPP-P General Secretary had the legal authority to notify Asif Ali Zardari as party President without holding the intra-party elections which was a legal requirement.

“Asif Zardari has been notified as PPP-P President after he was elected unopposed for the said office as a result of intra-party election held during last meeting of the CEC”, Khosa maintained.

He insisted that 54-member CEC acted as the Electoral College for the election of the PPP-P President. “Since nobody else filed the nomination papers against him, Zardari sahib was elected unopposed”.