Future of the PPP

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that the government would complete its tenure and the PPP will also win the next general elections. Mr Gilani’s confidence (read overconfidence) notwithstanding, the performance of the PPP-led government is nothing to write home about. In a democratic system, the government should be allowed to finish its term but if it does not deliver on its promises and does not do anything for the masses, it should be ready to face the music, i.e. be voted out in the next elections.The PPP has not done much as far as good governance is concerned during its two and a half years of rule. Whether the people vote the party to power again in 2013 or not cannot be said with certainty since it depends on the electorate, but the performance of the government makes it look uncertain. If Prime Minister Gilani is serious about the PPP coming to power again after the next general elections, he needs to not just improve governance but heal the internal fissures inside the PPP at the earliest.

On Saturday, the PPP issued a show-cause notice to Sherry Rehman and suspended the basic membership of Senator Safdar Abbasi after they appeared on a local TV channel. Abbasi’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) membership was also suspended according to some reports and he had received the notification letter through e-mail. The PPP has barred its members from appearing on the television channel of a local media group or giving interviews to its Urdu and English dailies. But Mr Abbasi and Ms Rehman have complained of discriminatory treatment since other members of the PPP have appeared on the same channel in recent days but have neither been served any show-cause notice nor have they been suspended.

The treatment meted out to Senator Abbasi can be understood — though not justified — to a certain extent. His wife, Naheed Khan, was very close to late Benazir Bhutto but after BB’s death, Ms Khan has been criticised within the party and sidelined. The Naheed Khan ‘group’ has been asking the party leadership to pursue Ms Bhutto’s murder case and to bring the perpetrators out into the light of the day. This is something that everyone in Pakistan wants. Targeting those affiliated with Ms Khan could be because they have accused the new party leadership of cronyism. The PPP leadership maintains that everything has been done according to the party’s rules.

In the case of Sherry Rehman, former information minister, things took a turn for the worse when a violent demonstration was held outside her house in Karachi allegedly by PPP workers. They burnt Ms Rehman’s effigy and chanted slogans against her. Ms Rehman said that she “had no official communication from the party about any ban on any channel” and since the PPP is not at war with the media, she did not know something of this sort could occur. It is disconcerting to see that a party worker of Ms Rehman’s stature was treated in this manner. According to the grapevine, Prime Minister Gilani wants Ms Rehman to join his cabinet again but the manner in which President Zardari abruptly accepted her resignation and her reservations about the present set-up has led her to decline Mr Gilani’s offer. It must be said here that Ms Rehman was arguably the best PPP information minister and given her journalistic background knew how to handle the media.

The PPP leadership seems hell bent on alienating members who have done great service for the party. It seems as if the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing in the PPP. If the PPP wants to carve out a successful future and win the upcoming local bodies polls and the next general elections, its leadership must put its house in order – Dailytimes