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February 9, 2008

Reshuffle in PPP hierarchy on the cards


February 9, 2008


PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has approved the appointments of former MNA’s Rukhsana Bangash and Fauzia Habib as political secretary and assistant political secretary respectively to the party co-chairman with immediate effect on Friday signalling the beginning of a reshuffle in party hierarchy.

According to Zardari’s official spokesperson in Lahore, Munawar Anjum, the new appointments had been approved and the two ladies will be assuming offices immediately. However, party sources disclosed the appointment of Ms Rukhsana Bangash, a former MNA from Karachi, had been decided a month back. Nevertheless, public announcement of this decision had been postponed till the end of forty-day mourning period, they said.

The new appointments, while changing the kitchen cabinet of the party leadership, also announced the end of good old days for Naheed Khan, formerly political secretary to Benazir Bhutto.

However, rumours began circulating within the party circles regarding imminent changes in its hierarchy as early as December 31, when Asif Zardari took reins of the party.

Friday’s announcement was the first official step towards the new look PPP team with Zardari in the lead. Rukhsana Bangash is a seasoned PPP stalwart and served as political secretary to Nusrat Bhutto. Party insiders disclosed Rukhsana’s appointment as BB’s political secretary was on the cards for a long time as she enjoys confidence of Zardari. Fauzia Habib was party’s Rawalpindi Women Wing president and has held important party offices in the past. Both ladies were elected members of the National Assembly in 2002 on the reserved seats for women.

The latest move is also indicative of newly crowned co-chairman’s intentions of maintaining a coterie of own choice around him while slowly disposing of those who held sway over party matters during Ms Bhutto’s leadership.

The main figureheads of this category remained Naheed and her

husband, Dr Safdar Abbasi and their affiliated lobby within the party. PPP official cadres have been struggling hard to curtail the airing of differences lurking within the party. The tug-of-war for the office of premier as party’s candidate has also added to these differences. Zardari was forced to issue a notification earlier that no office-bearer would lobby for premiership through meeting foreign missions without prior consent of the party after PPP Chairman Amin Fahim and party’s Punjab president Shah Mehmood Qureshi indulged in a cold tug-of-war.

Some party officials, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said Ms Bhutto was also considering reorganisation in the party on the pretext that party structure had remained untouched for quite some time now but impending elections had put the issue on the backburner for the moment.

However, sources added, it will not be long before some more changes in the party cadres are announced.

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