Khar’s re-entry causing differences in PPP
* One group led by Jehangir Badr feel that Khar’s return would strengthen the party
By Shaukat Piracha
ISLAMABAD: The re-entry of Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar into the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has started creating differences in the party ranks and party leadership in Pakistan. The issue is to be settled by PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto.
Party sources confided to Daily Times that a strong lobby headed by PPP Central Secretary General Jehangir Badr was ‘desperate’ to accord a warm welcome to Mr Khar in the party while a parallel group led by the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Qasim Zia, is ‘uncomfortable’ even with the news of Mr Khar’s return to the party.
“The pro-Khar group feels that the inclusion of Mr Khar will certainly strengthen the party, especially in the Punjab, after the defection of many leading party stalwarts like Rao Sikandar Iqbal and Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat who have formed their own PPPP-Patriots which has been recognised by the Election Commission,” a leading PPP leader observed. He added that some PPP leaders felt that Mr Khar would help in re-grouping party leaders and even those political forces and elements who are considered ‘fence sitters’.
On the other hand, the sources said, those opposing Mr Khar’s re-entry into the party fold also argue that Mr Khar has proven unpredictable every time the party was removed from the power. “They believe that Mr Khar did not stand firm with the party when it faced crisis and is now intending to rejoin the party when the political situation is relatively easy,” sources added.
Party sources said that some party leaders like Yousaf Raza Gillani had remained impartial in the row over Mr Khar and have readily attended party meetings called by both groups.
“PPPP President Makhdoom Amin Fahim has also shown restraint from siding with anyone. However, Mr Fahim feels that Mr Khar is not following the decisions taken in a meeting between Ms Bhutto and Mr Khar in London at which Mr Fahim was also present. It was decided at the meeting that Mr Fahim and Mr Khar would hold a meeting on their return to Pakistan to chalk out further strategy but Mr Khar issued his formula of power sharing with the Army for 10 years without taking Mr Fahin into his confidence,” the sources elaborated. They added that the issue would soon be referred to Ms Bhutto for a final decision.