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Fate of Asif Ali Zardari and future of PPP

By Dr.Abdul Razak Shaikh

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), accompanied by police personnel, arrested PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari from his residence in Islamabad on Monday.

The arrest came hours after the Islamabad High Court rejected the application seeking an extension in the pre-arrest bails of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case.

A number of party workers as well as two of Zardari’s children, PPP Chairperson Mr.Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and youngest daughter Asifa saw the former president off as he left from Zardari House to the NAB Rawalpindi office in Islamabad.

Zardari spent 11 years in jail on corruption charges earlier in the life of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto ex. Prime Minister of Pakistan. But he was denying any wrongdoing.

The case pertains to suspicious transactions worth Rs4.4 billion allegedly carried out through a fictitious bank account. According to the prosecution, the account titled M/s A One International was fake and it received a sum of Rs4.4bn out of which Rs30m was paid to the Zardari Group at two different times.

According to sources, Zardari had called his legal team that whether to challenge the IHC judgment in the SC or not.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, at the country’s helm for more than six and a half years, was a transformative figure in Pakistan’s history. The most popular and charismatic was the founder of PPP. Brilliant, erudite, articulate, indefatigable and charismatic, Bhutto had a razor-sharp mind, photographic memory, sense of history and a wonderful political antenna.

Since its formation in 1967, the PPP has been voted into power on five separate occasions (1970,1977,1988,1993,2008). After the re-establishment of democracy in 1988 following Zia’s death, a two-party system developed, with the PPP and IJI (later succeeded by PML-N) as the two major sides.

In 1977, Pakistan General Elections were held in which PPP secured a majority. However, PNA led opposition started demonstrations at perceived rigging in elections. Tensions mounted and despite an agreement reached between the opposition and PPP, martial law was imposed in the country by Chief of Army Staff General Zia -ul-Huq in 1977. In April 1979, after a controversial trial found ZABhutto guilty of murdering a political opponent, and Bhutto was executed by hanging.

In 1982, his daughter Benazir Bhutto was elected as Peoples Party’s chairperson.

After twelve long years, the Peoples Party returned to power after winning the general election in 1988 with Benazir Bhutto becoming the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim country Pakistan. In 1990, the Peoples party’s government was dismissed due to economic recession, issues regarding national security and corruption.

The Peoples Party later returned to power in general election in 1993 and again Mohtarmma Benazir Bhutto government was dismissed by the party’s own elected President Farooq Leghari in September 1996.

After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on 27 December 2007, 2008 Parliamentary elections were held on 18th February. The PPP won the considerable victory on among all political parties.

On 28 March, the people’s party appointed Yousif Raza Gillani for the prime minister and formed a coalition government with PML-N, but later on, PML (N) withdrew from the coalition.

On 5 September 2008, the Peoples Party nominated its co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, for the Presidential Election.

After winning Pakistan’s presidential election, In April 2010, president Zardari voluntarily surrendered his political and presidential powers to Prime Minister Gillani and parliament, through 18th Amendment.

After the disqualification of Yousif Raza Gilani by Honourable Supreme court. On 22 June 2012, PPP nominated Raja Pervez Ashraf and was elected the new PM of Pakistan. In 2013 general election PPP lost and PML-N again came in power but PPP succeeds in Sindh and even in 2018 consecutive thrice a time.

Sindh is a real part for PPP and new generation is on a way towards the Democracy, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari already given the idea for younger politicians to come forward and older must go for rest.

PPP’s leadership and its workers must look retrospectively into what they need to do to dispel the growing perception of it drawing too much on its past laurels without doing enough to move forward. It needs to revive its left-of-the-center ideological moorings, its populist politics over and above the delectable, PPP slogan of the seventies Roti, kapra aur Makkan is as good now as it was then.

Punjab represents 60 percent of the population, it has monopoly representation in the bureaucracy and the powers that be would not let PPP win election to form government in the province. This is the trend from 1988 until now.

Whatever the machinations of the political engineers one must remember that electoral dynamics are different. PPP by strengthening its links with the left-of-the center forces in Punjab and working in the rural peasantry, especially in South Punjab, can change the political complexion. Bilawal Bhutto must lead the PPP hardcore from the front. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari successfully hijacked Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and is emerging as the leading advocate of civilian supremacy in the country. Bilawal’s upright stance has helped Pakistan People’s Party to somewhat regain its lost image and prestige in the Pakistani political sphere. Bilawal’s recent ‘Iftar Party’ in honor of the opposition leaders in Islamabad further added strength to his role in national politics.

What about the Asif Ali Zardari, he will face the trial and peoples of Sindh are watching in all the corners. PPP may get more support from the public, as a party always remains in a difficult position when they are no more friends of the establishment. Still, no other party has made a corner in the houses of the public. PPP has very vast roots in the province of Sindh and better way too young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to lead the party and activate in all the provinces. The retrospectively PPP if revised than a credit will be captured by young Bilawal, who is presently acceptable to all.

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