Contrary to speculations and consensus among the members of its Central Executive Committee (CEC), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) did not elect Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as chairman of the party in its meeting at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh on Friday evening.
The PPP’s central executive committee (CEC) met on the sixth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto after Bilawal and his father and former president Asif Zardari addressed a huge crowd. As the CEC deferred a decision to name new office bearers of the party, it left Bilawal Bhutto Zardari still officially party’s patron-in-chief.
“Officially, the PPP does not have a chairperson to preside over the meeting of the CEC,” one of the committee members said.
“We were asked to attend the CEC meeting on Friday to elect a new chairperson along with making some other important decisions, but the matter has been deferred,” he added.
“Ideologically, we have accepted Bilawal as our chairperson, but a formal announcement has not been made yet,” said Makhdoom Shahabuddin, chief of the PPP’s south Punjab chapter. He said the election of the party’s chairperson would likely be deferred until after the local government elections. A drastic change in the party’s structure is also likely to be made at that time, he added.
Sources in the PPP said that four key positions — patron-in-chief, secretary-general, finance secretary and information secretary — are currently vacant.
Analysts said the party is facing a legal dilemma. Publicly it goes around as PPP but it is registered by the Election Commission as PPP-Parliamentarian because former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf enacted rules that threw the PPP out of election arena. Makhdoom Amin Fahim is president of the PPP-P while lawmakers belonging to the party were elected on PPP-P ticket. If Bilawal becomes PPP chairman, he will forfeit the right to contest election.
PPP General Secretary Latif Khosa agreed there were shortcomings in the party’s structure but referred to difficulties emerging from Political Parties Act.
“If not today, we will formally name him (Bilawal) as the chairperson soon,” Khosa said.
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