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News Analysis: Alienated PPP leaders holding roundtable conference

By Farooq Aqdas
April 12, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prominent parliamentarians and lawyers are planning to hold a roundtable conference on April 15 in Lahore to discuss the judiciary-Parliament standoff.

The conference would be attended among others by prominent parliamentarians, constitutional experts and lawyers besides political leaders and members of civil society. They would discuss the ongoing judiciary-Parliament standoff. It has been convened among others by senior PPP leaders including Sardar Latif Khosa, Aitzaz Ahsan and Khawaja Tariq Rahim. Former PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar is also likely to attend the event. Together, they all are considered angry PPP leaders who have been taking a strong pro-judiciary standpoint other than that of the party, causing them to be labelled as rebels to the party cause.

News of Sardar Khosa being fired from PPP are reported in the media. In his reaction, Khosa said he does not need a party position to remain a follower of ZAB and Benazir Bhutto. Alluding to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he said the young leadership have the right to act as they feel.

Khosa had remained Punjab governor, attorney general, senator, PPP’s secy gen and chairman Pakistan Bar Council during the party’s tenure in the government.

Earlier, Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, who was Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, was shown the door for actions and statements against PPP’s policy. Not too long ago, party stalwarts like Aitzaz Ahsan and Khawaja Tariq Rahim were also sidelined for adopting an approach too independent of the party line.

Ahsan had been the leader of the opposition in the Senate as well as the interior minister. Similarly, senior party leader Khawaja Tariq Rahim was also Punjab governor and federal minister. One group of the PPP now considers them not only as rebellious while another feels they are being propped up to clear the stage for a National Government.

PPP has long been working hard to recoup its earlier losses in Punjab and establish itself as the party of that province. PPP Co-charman Asif Ali Zardari had long struggled for this purpose and even built Bilawal House here. Observers feel with these leaders being sidelined from the party at this juncture would immensely hurt the PPP’s efforts to emerge as a strong party of the province.

Other party commentators are confident that though these leaders have crafted their own independent image but are of no consequence to the party and their exit would not cause any loss of political capital to the PPP.