PPP eyes NA-133 upset for party revival in Punjab

Sindh ministers Shehla Raza, Nasir Shah in constituency to run campaigns

With only a day left in the by-polls for NA-133, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), unlike its rival PML-N, looks desperate to win the seat for its revival in Punjab.

In a bid to revive its lost glory, the PPP, a party of the left, did not hesitate to join hands even with the right wing Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Majlis Wahdatul-e-Muslimeen (MWM). The PPP, which was founded in Lahore on November 30, 1967, had a stronghold in Punjab until 1985 – the year when it decided to boycott the non-party-based general elections under the dictatorial rule of the then army chief, General Zia-ul-Haq – and since then it has been trying to recoup, but its efforts have proven fruitless.

“PPP, PAT and MWM are standing here together against the sky-rocketing inflation and tsunami of unemployment in the country,” said PPP Punjab President Raja Pervaiz Ashraf during a rally on Friday. “Common man is fighting for his survival and is worried for two meals a day, utility bills or for his medicine and school fee of his children,” said Raja, coming down hard upon the ruling PTI.

“All those who say that the PPP has lost its position in Punjab should come and see,” roared Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. PAT leader Khurram Nawaz Gandapur was also there among the PPP leaders and jiyalas. “We will defeat our rivals on every seat,” he further said, adding that with the grace of Almighty Allah and the public support, Chaudhary Aslam Gill was advancing towards success.

Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is heading the PPP in Punjab after the party’s central leader Qamar Zaman Kaira failed to revive the party in the province of its origin. Before him, former Punjab chief minister Manzoor Wattoo was made the PPP Punjab president and given the same task, but in vain.

Raja’s speech reflected the desperation the party and its leadership has been feeling for almost three decades. Eyeing the upcoming by-polls in NA-133, the PPP’s entire leadership is all focused on gathering support for its revival in Punjab. Even the provincial ministers of the Sindh government, including Syeda Shehla Raza and Nasir Hussain Shah, have been in the said constituency for the last couple of weeks to run the campaigns of their candidate, Chaudhary Aslam Gill. PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari came to Lahore and met party leaders and workers running campaigns in NA-133. He appreciated the leaders and the workers for making strong efforts for the party.

Fida Hussnain is a correspondent covering judiciary, politics, business and health issues. He is also a feature writer and researcher with major work on freedom of press in Pakistan. He tweets @fidahassanain and can be reached at fidahassanain@gmail.com.