Lahore—“All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, and the courage never to submit or yield,” young Bilawal Bhutto like Milton’s hero of Paradise Lost, is all ready to launch fierce attacks against PML-N and PTI altogether to recapture political realm of Punjab once known stronghold of PPP from the possession of his political opponents as soon as party’s restructuring process is completed in Punjab.
Panama Leaks has given much material to young enthusiastic Bilawal to embark on anti-corruption campaign as both his rivals Imran Khan and Mian Nawaz Sharif are involved in Panama scandal which means morally both will be in defensive position when they will be targeted by Bilawal Bhutto in public gatherings.
Second, willy-nilly PML-N will have to accept a stronger Bilawal roaming freely in Punjab in an attempt to recapture cosmic PPP disgruntled voters who voted for PTI in 2013 elections due to reconciliation policies of Asif Ali Zardari with PML-N.
If Bilawal succeeds to bring back PPP traditional votes now associated with PTI, it will weaken Imran Khan’s position in Punjab and flexible Bilawal is much better than stubborn Imran Khan. Third, if PPP gets its revival after Bilawal’s inde-fatigable efforts, it does not mean that PPP would be in a position to win upcoming general elections but it will dent PTI to considerable extent in Punjab.
“Bilawal Bhutto will have to wary in choosing line of action if he wants to clinch anti-Nawaz league vote in Punjab,” senior journalist and anchor Imtiaz Alam said. “Apparently it seems that young Bilawal Bhutto is directionless, it is all up to him whether he chooses the path of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto or prefer Asif Ali Zardari’s policies of opportunism,” adding he said the second challenge he is facing currently is how to get rid of the corrupt and incompetent ministers of PPP-led government in Sindh.
Now current political scenario is totally changed. People judge you by your actions not by your slogans. If young Bilawal wants to succeed in Punjab, he will have to bring drastic changes in Sindh government and set a good example of efficient, corruption free and people friendly administrative government to convince voters in Punjab that if he comes in power, he has a capability to bring positive changes in their lives.
“Although Bilawal Bhutto dissolved the PPP’s provincial and district bodies to conduct long overdue re-organization of the party. However, due to lack of coordination between the local and central party’s leaders, the process of reorganization is not getting momentum in Punjab. Without funds, it is hard to run the party’s affairs smoothly and no party worker is interested to give funds. A penniless party cannot pose serious threats to its opponents,” a well-placed source inside the party on the condition of anonymity told this scribe.
According to the sources, during an important party meeting in March, Bilawal Bhutto ordered senior office-bearers to get ready for the general elections well before two years as the next elections are scheduled to be held in 2018. Does it mean that PPP is going to create such a situation which will lead to hold general elections before time? Apparently, the party’s position at this moment is so much weak and if elections are announced before set time of 2018, the situation will be worse than 2013 elec-tions. Bilawal Bhutto was launched keep-ing in view the general elections 2023 and if we succeed to regain ground in 2018 elections in Punjab it would be our huge success.
The PPP has been devoid of a charismatic leader, especially after Benazir’s death and Imran Khan has filled that void for many traditional PPP supporters since Khan’s aggressive politics have also helped woo PPP voters. A complete transformation is imperative for Bilawal following traditions of Bhutto’s family.
“PPP’s role as a ‘friendly opposition’ has actually alienated the party’s voters in Punjab, the source said that he still remembers back in 1970, during a rally here in Ichhra Lahore, Bhutto got up and called Maulana Maudoodi a ‘Pakistani Pope’ and addressed other rival leaders as ‘Aalu Khan’ and ‘Double Barrel Khan’. The PPP just does not have that in-your-face aggression anymore. This is one of the reasons why the voters don’t have confidence in the current batch of leaders.
Furthermore, PPP under Bilawal Bhutto is now moving leftwards much more explicitly. “This will mean taking up issues of the working class, the minorities and women. The PML-N and PTI are unlikely to take up the concerns of these communities. Although, Punjab’s present socio-economic conditions are such that they will not win. But this can become the basis of a revival and help break the right-wing straitjacket that Punjab’s politics have been reduced to.
When the source was asked about rift inside party between Asif Zardari and young Bilawal, he said there is schism existed between father and son but the rumors of the rift is for the political gain spreading to attract the supporters. Yes, he said, people in general in Punjab have very negative opinion about Asif Zardari and PPP local leadership wants free hand to tackle the political crisis the party is facing in Punjab and Bilawal suits them most as he does not impose his dictation on them. They have told Bilawal that they must align themselves with popular feelings to survive or else they will be better off leaving PPP.
Pakistan People’s Party secretary information, Qamar Zaman Kaira it is not a case of revival. We have to understand what Pakistan’s challenges are, what PPP’s challenges are and then work on both in synchrony. We should formulate policies that are popular among the masses, but also address the challenges of regional and Pakistani politics. We are working on that.” He says his party did much better in Punjab than the PML-N did in Sindh and we will rebound much before 2018.