Zardari’s second firefighting visit to Lahore in a week

Ex-president will spend few days in city for political activities, will undergo routine medical check-up

PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari is once again back in Lahore to put things back on track after his party developed some ‘differences’ with the PML-N over some portfolios in the provincial cabinet.

The former president reached Lahore through a chartered plane directly from Islamabad on Sunday night. PPP senior leader and former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani also accompanied him.

The sources said that the PPP leadership is upset over the developing situation and differences with the PML-N and Zardari is back again to address all these differences with the PML-N leadership.

They said the former president would also undergo routine medical checkup during his stay at Bilawal House. “Asif Ali Zardari will spend a few days in Lahore for his political activities,” said Farrukh Basir, the party’s focal person.

He said the former president would also undergo a routine medical check in Lahore. The second visit of Zardari to Lahore within a week indicates sky-high political temperature behind the scenes.

The Punjab government is due to present the annual budget in the provincial assembly today (Monday) (today), and differences, at such a stage, might be damaging to the coalition setup to counter the “threat” of Imran Khan and the PTI in Punjab. The political pundits also believe that Zardari’s arrival in Lahore on a chartered aircraft is significant in the prevailing political situation as the PPP has developed differences with PML-N over some portfolios in the provincial cabinet.

The oath-taking ceremony which was due on Sunday was delayed due to the differences between the PPP and the PML-N. The sources said that the PPP wanted the portfolio of finance minister in Punjab but the PML-N leadership did not agree to this demand and the matter was left till after the passage of the budget.

On his last visit to Lahore, before his departure to Islamabad, Asif Ali Zardari had invited Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to a lunch at Bilawal House and discussed important political matters. Both leaders had agreed to jointly contest the upcoming by-election and decided to knock out PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the political front in the country’s largest province.

They had also agreed to strengthen their working relationship in Punjab and held detailed discussions over their strategy about the upcoming by-polls in Punjab. They also held discussion over some portfolios for the PPP leaders in the Punjab cabinet and an impression was given that both sides had agreed on all points but on Sunday differences indicated totally an opposite situation. “The unity between the PML-N and the PPP is for the sake of the public,” CM Hamza was quoted as saying in the meeting with Zardari on his last visit. Hamza also said that “politics in my view is a worship and I believe in collective decisions”.

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