Wattoo replaces Warraich as PPP Punjab president
18 October, 2012
LAHORE: In a major shuffle in party hierarchy after deeply observing the performance of the existing body of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Punjab chapter, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari has appointed Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Minister Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo as the new PPP Punjab president.
According to party sources, a notification has been issued in this regard on Wednesday. According to which, Wattoo would replace current president Imtiaz Safdar Warraich who has failed to mobilise the party workers in the province.
According to details, former Punjab Finance Minister Tanveer Ashraf Kaira has been appointed General Secretary of the party by replacing Azizur Rehman Chan. However, Information Secretary Raja Amir would continue working on his existing slot but former adviser to PM Mian Ayub who has been serving as the People's Youth Organisation (PYO) president has been appointed as the central Punjab deputy information secretary to strengthen media cell.
Separately, a change has been also made in PPP Lahore District hierarchy and district presidents Afnan Butt and Asif have been replaced with two leaders acceptable to PPP Lahore President Samina Ghurki and Gill brothers.
Sources said that after the replacement of two district presidents in Lahore, a major reshuffle in zonal presidents hierarchy is also on cards as reports against many zonal presidents have been submitted to PPP Lahore President Samina Ghurki that they were neither active nor working properly in their respective areas.
According to sources, the decision has been taken prior to upcoming elections. While, Wattoo wields considerable influence across the province and the party believes that he would be able to muster considerable support ahead of the upcoming elections. Sources said that the party's top brass believed that it would be unwise to rely on Warraich, Raja Riaz and Governor Latif Khosa, because they were not "as politically astute as Wattoo".
Sources said that Wattoo enjoys President Zardari's trust more than anyone else in Punjab. The President is learnt to have given Wattoo a free hand to gather the support of political families in central and southern Punjab, besides wooing independent electables, and pacifying disgruntled elements within the party. Wattoo, the sources said, "is an expert in the politics of alliances".
They said further the PPP top hierarchy believed that Wattoo was the only person who could counter Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), better than anyone else. He had accomplished a similar feat in the 90s, they reminded. Wattoo secured the office of the chief minister in 1993 after a vote of no-confidence against PML-N's chief minister Ghulam Haider Wyne.
Explaining the reasons for the drastic reshuffle, the sources said that the party's popularity had been on the decline in Punjab over the past four years and the party's top leadership blamed key office-bearers responsible for the situation. Sources claimed that a reshuffle was also expected at the lower level. On the other hand, it has also been conveyed to Faryal Talpur during her recent visit to Lahore by the party leaders that Imtiaz Safadar Warraich was not accessible to the workers and the leaders. They also complained that Warraich was not a public figure.
Meanwhile, PPP Lahore has announced that October 18 would be observed as a Black Day in connection with the Karsaz incident. Federal Minister Samina Khalid Ghurki who is also the PPP Lahore chapter president on Wednesday said the October 18 is a black day in history of Pakistan as Benazir Bhutto was attacked in Karsaz.