Zardari in Punjab

The PPP is making desperate attempts to revive its fortunes in Punjab. The party has been vanquished in the province and electoral politics is now polarized between the PTI and PML-N. The PPP, on the other hand, is trying to find a way before the next general elections.

Zardari was on a week-long excursion in Lahore but has apparently failed to convince any known political figures. The PPP knows that it needs to focus on south and central Punjab for any chance of forming the next government. But luck was not on his side as he returned to Islamabad without any formidable success. Zardari has taken upon himself the task to bargain a future alliance to form the next government. He is attempting to placate those who abandoned the party but are also ready to return to the PPP’s fold.

The highlight of Zardari’s visit was meeting Punjab Speaker Pervaiz Elahi but it has been downplayed by all. Elahi said the meeting was in the knowledge of the prime minister but the reestablished contact could hint at possible political meddling. After all, the unholy alliance between the PML-Q and PTI is a compulsion rather than a necessity and the Chaudhrys would be interested in exploring new possibilities before the next elections.

It is also certain the PPP will have to part ways with the PML-N, sounding the death knell for the PDM, if it wants any chance of being the next ruling party. Zardari is also emboldened by Nawaz Sharif’s absence as the PML-N supremo is likely to stay abroad for the foreseeable future; Shehbaz Sharif’s dominance as he wrestles the party’s reign from Maryam; and the Tareen factor which has exposed cracks with the PTI. All these factors will help the PPP remain in firm control before the next elections.

The PPP is in a state of quandary and needs to reorganize itself. Two bigwigs Qamar Zaman Kaira and Chaudhry Manzoor recently resigned as central Punjab president and secretary-general respectively and haven’t been replaced. It is too early to say whether Zardari’s visit was successful and will lead to any breakthrough. For now, it seems uncertain the PPP might regain its lost glory and the popularity it once held over Punjab.

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