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Home > India > News > PTI

Cracks appear in PPP, PM candidate upset

March 08, 2008 16:02 IST

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Coverage: Pakistan Votes

In the first sign of cracks in the Pakistan People's Party, senior party leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim has said party chairman Asif Ali Zardari's 'unnecessary delay' in naming him as the prime minister has led to the perception that he was being 'humiliated and betrayed'.

The 'unnecessary delay' in announcing the prime ministerial candidate was causing 'some disturbance within the party' and 'there is a feeling on the streets that I am being insulted, humiliated and betrayed', Fahim, the PPP vice-president, said.

Three days after the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto [Images] on December 27, her widower Zardari had told a news conference that she had wanted Fahim to be the PPP's prime ministerial candidate though a final decision would be taken by the party's central executive committee.

The PPP, which swept last month's general election and plans to form government with the backing of the PML-N and ANP, is yet to name its candidate for premiership though Fahim has been projected by sections of the party leadership as the front-runner for the slot.

Fahim told The News, 'Zardari should try to keep the PPP intact by avoiding splits in its ranks till the time (his son) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari takes over the command of the party from him.'

'I don't expect from (Zardari) that he would bring someone else as the prime minister forcibly,' said Fahim.

Asked what would be his reaction if he was not given the post of prime minister, Fahim said: 'I have a roadmap in my mind but I would reveal it only once the decision about the name of the prime minister is announced.'

He refused to elaborate.

Asked if he had directly talked to Zardari over the issue of the prime minister, Fahim said: 'So far both of us did not find the time to sit and discuss this issue.'
Fahim, who is also the president of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy, has called a meeting of the grouping on Saturday but Zardari has distanced himself from the gathering, saying he would not attend as it was convened without him being informed beforehand.

Observers said the meeting is expected to be a damp squib as the PML-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Imran Khan's [Images] Tehrik-e-Insaf were no longer part of the ARD and were unlikely to attend the meeting.

A meeting of PPP's newly elected parliamentarians convened on Thursday by Zardari was unable to come up with a consensus candidate for the post of prime minister due to differences within the party. Zardari has since been holding separate meetings with lawmakers from across the country for further consultations on the issue.

Reports that Fahim had met President Pervez Musharraf [Images] after the polls without informing Zardari have also gone against the senior PPP leader. Some reports have also suggested that Fahim could be given the post of President if he was not named as the candidate for premiership.

Fahim, who hails from the PPPs traditional stronghold of Sindh, said, 'neither would he like to see the PPP losing him nor he would lose the party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto'.

In recent weeks, the PPP's top leadership has been considering a proposal to name a prime ministerial candidate from Punjab, where former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N is the dominant party. Such a step, the leadership believes, could strengthen the PPP in the politically crucial province.

Fahim also made it clear that he was not used to lobbying within the party for the sake of the prime minister's post.

"I did not meet anyone to seek support, as everybody knows my credentials," he said.

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