Pakistan Politics: Faryal being tipped as next PPP head

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Who is going to replace Asif Ali Zardari as the PPP head? The PPP says it has yet to take a decision on the issue while one of the leading party leaders believes Faryal Talpur would possibly be assigned the job.

PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar admitted that there was an established convention that the president of Pakistan, being a symbol of the federation, should be a neutral person and should not be a representative of any political party.

Even Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reiterated recently that the president should be neutral and a symbol of the federation. Babar said the Constitution was silent on the political neutrality of the president, but admitted that his party was a strong critic of former president Musharraf for acting as the head of the PML-Q.

When asked if the incumbent co-chairman will continue to lead the party even after becoming the president, the PPP spokesman said no decision had been taken yet on the issue. About the possibility of Faryal Talpur becoming the co-chairperson of the party, he said he would not get involved in conjecturing.

However, a very senior PPP leader, on condition of not being named, told this correspondent that Faryal Talpur was the likely choice for Asif Ali Zardari to replace him as the party’s co-chairperson. He said in such an eventuality, there might be a strong possibility of cracks emerging in the party, adding that Faryal Talpur might not be acceptable as the party chairperson to several PPP leaders.

“What is her contribution for the party that she should be made the co-chairperson of the party?” the PPP source wondered. He said Faryal was not even a member of the party’s central executive committee.

Farhatullah Babar, however, believes Faryal Talpur is a member of the PPP CEC. He said she had been holding an important party position in Sindh and the Nazim of a district before her election as member of the National Assembly.

Some media reports have suggested that Asif Ali Zardari would like to continue as the party head as the president of Pakistan. In its last government, the PPP’s nominee for the presidency, Farooq Khan Leghari, was made to resign from the PPP’s membership before taking oath of office as the president.

In case such media reports prove to be true, it would not only be a violation of the established democratic convention that the presidency should stay neutral but also a negation of the PPP’s own stance against former president Musharraf’s behaving more like the head of the PML-Q than the president of Pakistan.

Source: The News, 4th September, 2008

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