PPP decides to contest polls under Faheem's presidentship
06 August, 2012
LAHORE: Senior leadership of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has decided to contest next general elections under the presidentship of Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his party's banner, PPP-Parliamentarian, as the PPP is not registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
According to sources, only 193 political and political-cum-religious parties are registered with the ECP and that "PPP" is not included in the names registered with the ECP. The ruling party is registered under the name of PPP-Parliamentarian (PPP-P), with Makhdoom Amin Fahim as its president and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as the secretary. ECP sources also confirmed to our sources that the party (the PPP) had not filed any application for its independent registration.
PPP sources said the real party, whose chairman is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, had still not applied to register with the ECP and that the party's senior leadership was willing to continue the existing registration under the presidentship of Faheem to participate in the next general election expected in next few months.
The sources said the decision was made for two reasons – to avoid any controversy at political or judicial level because someone might challenge the status of the sitting parliamentary party members, and the second was to avoid the allegation of dual offices held by President Asif Ali Zardari, who is co-chairman of a non-registered party at this time.
The ruling party has previously participated in six general elections with its original name – The Pakistan People's Party – given to it by its founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Only during former president General Ziaul Haq's martial law, the party for the first time fielded its candidates on non-party basis in the general election of 1985 with the name of "Awam Dost Group", as it was barred from using its original name. Later, the party participated in the general elections in 2002 and 2008, which were held during the rule of former president General Pervez Musharraf, under the banner of PPP-Parliamentarian, as the Musharrraf government had not allowed the party's former head Benazir Bhutto to register it with the ECP.
Sources in the PPP told this scribe that idealists and diehard workers in the party were willing to revive the name of the party in the next general elections, registering the real name with the ECP, as it is easy for the party to do this when it is in power. They also raised the issue before the leadership but after consideration, the senior leadership decided to avoid any controversy over the party's registration.
When some central office-bearers of the party were contacted, they told this scribe that there was no problem to go into elections with the name 'PPP-Parliamentarian' as it was only a wing of the original party, the PPP.
It is pertinent to mention that two other political factions of the PPP – the Shaheed Bhutto group headed by Ghanwa Bhutto, widow of Murtaza Bhutto, and the Sherpao group headed by Aftab Khan Sherpao, have already registered with the ECP and both have some seats in the national and provincial assemblies of Sindh and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.