PPP Central Secretariat building appears deserted
ISLAMABAD: The off-white building in a quiet residential street of the capital city would not draw attention to itself would it not be for the loud red, green and black colours on the outer wall and the flags placed here and there. It is only these colours of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that hint at the importance of the old building – old by Islamabad’s standards that is. The building is important as it is the central secretariat of one of the most popular parties of the country. The secretariat was established in 1987 in F-6/4 after Benazir returned from abroad and won the 1988 elections to become Pakistan’s first woman prime minister.
Perhaps if one listened hard enough, the flags, the hoarding and the walls could tell one of the momentous events that had taken place here, important meetings, crucial decisions that were taken and famous personalities that had once visited. Past glories that the brick and the mortar witnessed because now the building appears deserted. Hardly anyone comes here anymore. There are no life-size portraits of party leaders, not even of founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or Benazir Bhutto, present chairperson, on display outside the secretariat building like there are outside Pakistan Muslim League (PML) House, central secretariat of the PPP’s rival party.
There are only a few party flags and nothing more. For all the ‘activity’ that takes place here, the PPP Central Secretariat could well be the office of a regional or small political party. This is upsetting for many PPP stalwarts.
“The secretariat should be decorated properly in the manner befitting mainstream political parties. Portraits of leaders should be put up,” said a worker at the secretariat.
A senior party member said that the secretariat holds meetings of party leaders only occasionally. “Fewer leaders visit the secretariat nowadays. Benazir’s absence from the country is one the main reasons for the lack of activity at the secretariat,” he said. Pictures and portraits of Zulfikar Bhutto, Benazir and her husband, Asif Ali Zaradari, after his release from jail, do adorn the walls of the rooms. The picture of the memorable moment when Benazir took the oath of the office of the prime minister from former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan is also on display. The eight-room secretariat is run by a staff of 13 members, headed by Kamran Zafar, party’s joint secretary. Aun Rizvi is the office secretary. The secretariat’s expenses are met by the Central Executive Council (CEC) membership fees, donations and party funds.
Three rooms have been reserved for Benazir Bhutto, Nahid Khan, her political secretary, Kamran Zafar, office in-charge. One room is used by both Jahangir Badar and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.