Pakistan Peoples Party
|Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians
پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی
|President||Asif Ali Zardari|
|Chairman||Bilawal Bhutto Zardari|
|Founded||30 November 1967|
|Headquarters||People's Secretariat, Parliament Lodges at Islamabad, Pakistan|
|Student wing||Peoples Students Federation (PSF)|
|International affiliation||Socialist International|
|Colors||Red, black and green
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Pakistan People's Party (Urdu: پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی, Sindhi: پاڪستان پيپلز پارٽي; commonly referred to as PPP) is a centre-left, progressive and social democratic political party in Pakistan. Affiliated with the Socialist International, its political philosophy and position, by country's political spectrum, is considered centre-left.
It has been a major and influential party in the country. Since its founding, the party's leadership has been dominated by the members of the Bhutto-Zardari family. Its centre of gravity lies in the southern province of Sindh.
Since its formation in 1967, the PPP has been voted into power on five separate occasions (1970, 1977, 1988, 1993, 2008). The PPP has also been Pakistan's longest serving party in government ruling for 17 years, the PPP has surpassed the rule of Pakistan's longest ruling Military general Zia-ul-Haq. The PPP has the longest serving PM in Pakistan's history through Yousuf Raza Gilani and has had more Prime Ministers and Presidents than any other party in Pakistan's history. The PPP suffered a heavy defeat in parliamentry elections in 2013 but still retain the Presidency and power in the party's native Sindh, it's also Pakistan's oldest surviving party in today's electoral politics.
Nevertheless the 2013 General Election was the worst performance for the PPP, the party was reduced from a National party to a regional once as it failed to secure a single seat in the Khyber-Pakthunkwha or Baluchistan, it won no seats from the federal capital and none from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the party only secured 43 seats - it's lowest total after sitting in government and also only secured seats from Sindh province.While 2 seats were secured from Punjab and 8 seats were secured of the Provincial legislature.
Foundation and history
The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was founded by former members of the now-defunct Pakistan Socialist Party, banned by then-Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. In the 1960s, support for socialism as well as opposition to President Ayub Khan's pro-Western/pro-American policies mounted in West-Pakistan. Khan's unpopularity continued to grow following his decision to sign the Tashkent Agreement with rival India, in an effort to end the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. The dismissal of charismatic democratic-socialist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto further angered and dismayed the public and the democratic-socialists, and made Bhutto determined to bring down the Khan government. As a result, a convention was held on 30 November 1967, in Lahore, where democratic-socialists and left-wing intellectuals gathered to meet with Bhutto at the residence of Dr. Mubashir Hassan, and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was formed. The newly formed party's members elected Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as its first chairman, and its manifesto, titled "Islam is our Religion; Democracy is our Politics; Socialism is our Economy; Power Lies with the People", was written by Bengali communist J. A. Rahim, and first issued on 9 December 1967.
The manifesto identified the party's ultimate goal, main objective and raison d'etre as being the achievement of an egalitarian and "classless society", which was believed to be attainable only through socialism. It called for "true equality of citizen's fraternity under the rule of democracy", within "an order of social and economic justice." In 1968, a massive public-relations program was launched by the party, beginning in Punjab. Bhutto's program directly targeted the country's poverty-stricken masses. The left-wing oriented slogan, "Land to the Landless", proved irresistible to the peasants and labour-force, as the party promised not only to abolish the fundamental feudalism that had plagued the country, but also to redistribute lands amongst the landless and the peasants. The working class and labour movement quickly flocked to the party, believing it to be a party dedicated to the destruction of capitalism in the country.
The young university students and teachers who often bore the brunt of Ayub Khan's dictatorial regime during his decade-long rule were promised a better future with better educational and career opportunities. Many other members of society who had felt stifled and repressed by the press-control and heavy censorship practised by the authoritarian Khan regime also joined the new party. The party's manifesto also attracted the country's numerous sectarian minorities, who quickly joined the party.
Eventually, the socialist-oriented catchphrase Roti, Kapra aur Makan (lit. "bread, clothes, and housing"), became a nation-wide rallying-call for the party. By the 1970s, the Pakistan Peoples Party had become the largest and most influential leading socialist and democratic entity in the country. The party published its ideas in its newspapers, such as "Nusrat", "Fatah", and "Mussawat".
1970 election and 1971 war
After its foundation, the party gained prominence at an immediate, gravitating the poor mass, peasants and workers, and students throughout in West Pakistan. The democratic socialists and Bhutto himself tapped a wave of anger and showed strong opposition against Ayub Khan, leading the civil disorder, disobedience, and lawlessness that forced Ayub Khan to held talks with Bhutto who would later opposed the Six point movement, presented by socialist Peoples League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The continuous contentions, and pressure forced Ayub Khan to resign from the presidency in 1969, leading to imposition of martial law by Army Commander General Yahya Khan after promising to hold elections in two years. During this time, the Peoples Party intensified its support in West Pakistan, organizing itself and gaining support from poor masses in West Pakistan. Its socialist rationale Roti Kapra Aur Makaan (English: Food, Cloth, and Shelter) and "all power to the people", further popularize the party and the prominence that arise Bhutto and the Peoples Party.
During the 1970 parliamentary elections, the Peoples Party contested with full force, initially brutalising the far-right wings, and defeating the centre-right forces in West-Pakistan, although the Peoples Party faced a definite defeat in East-Pakistan where the tendency of communism was greater. Tensions arisen with Peoples' League and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the ideological differences further create amid bricks of hatred towards each other. The situation reached to a climax in 1970 where Awami League secured 160 seats out of 300 where the Peoples Party winning the 81 of 138 seats allocated to West Pakistan in the National Assembly. Bhutto refused to allow Rahman to become the prime minister of Pakistan, and famously calling "break the legs" if any democratic socialists of Peoples Party tried to attend the inaugural session. Instead, he proposed the idea of having two prime ministers, one for each wing, this proposal met with heated criticism by East-Pakistan, leading Bhutto to sent his most trusted companion, dr. Mubashir Hassan, an amid fear of civil war. A message was convened and Mujib decided to meet Bhutto. Upon his arrival, Mujib met with Bhutto and both agreed to form a coalition government with Mujib as premier and Bhutto as president. However, these developments were unaware to military, and Bhutto increased his pressure on Mujib to reached a decision. Soon after the launch of military action (see Operaions Searchlight and Barisal), the situation in both wings created a divergence and distance between each other.
Bhutto and Peoples Party gave criticism to Yayha Khan's mishandling of the situation which led the arrests of Bhutto and members of Peoples Party who detained with Mujibur Rahman in infamous Adiala Jail. This was followed by Indian intervention which led the bitter defeat of Pakistan Armed Forces and Pakistan itself, after East-Pakistan gained momentum and became Bangladesh in 1971.
Post war politics
The Establishment forced Yahya Khan to step down and hastily made Bhutto as president of the dismembered country. For the first time in the history of the country, the democratic socialists under Bhutto came to power under a democratic system, Bhutto was made 4th president of Pakistan. Bhutto and his government worked tirelessly to make significant social and economic reforms that did much to improve the life of Pakistan's impoverished masses. Starting first with announcing a new labour policy, authorising the atomic bomb project as part of the nuclear deterrence in January 1972, and finally in 1974, the promulgation of 1973 constitution to put the country to the road to parliamentary republic. However, Bhutto and Peoples Party's adjustment with Pakistan National Alliance failed, sparking the civil disobedience against the Peoples Party, therefore the 1977 elections were held that resulted in first parliamentary victory of Peoples Party. Opposition parties claimed that the election was heavily rigged by the PPP. Tensions mounted and despite an agreement reached between the opposition and PPP, martial law was imposed in the country by Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq in 1977. In April 1979, Bhutto was hanged in 1977 after a controversial trial, in which he was found guilty of murdering a political opponent. In 1982, his daughter Benazir Bhutto was elected as Peoples Party's chairwomanship. The Peoples Party struggled hard against the ruthless dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, which was sponsored by the United States.
After twelve long years, the Peoples Party returned to power after winning the 1988 parliamentary elections with Benazir Bhutto becoming the first female prime minister of a Muslim country. In 1990, the Peoples party's government was dismissed due to economic recession, issues regarding to national security and nationalisation. Benazir and the Peoples Party boycott the 1990 elections, served as leading opposition party for the first since its inception in 1967.
The Peoples Party later returned to power in 1993 elections by plurality. But as the party governed, the party had the internal factions, Pakistan Peoples Party (Bhuttoist), Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpaoism), with Bhuttoist becoming the most influential. Internal opposition and disapproval of Benazir Bhutto's policy by her brother Murtaza Bhutto created a rift in their relations, and finally in 1996, Murtaza Bhutto was assassinated in 1996. The death of Murtaza Bhutto left unsolved mystery that is yet to be answered, but it had disastrous effects on Pakistan Peoples Party whose government was dismissed by the party's own elected president Farooq Legahri in September 1996. Since 1996 and Bhutto's assassination, the Peoples Party has suffered with major internal factions, opposing Pakistan Peoples Party and Benazir Bhutto's sudden shift to centre-right economics. The Peoples Party, even as of today, currently facing rogue internal criticism of Peoples Party's direction and Zardari's political involvement in many of Peoples Party's ideology, many alienating and joining other parties.
|General elections||Voting percentile %||Voting turnout||Seating graph||Presiding chair of the party||Parliamentary position|
|1970||18.6%||6,148,923||Zulfikar Bhutto||In Government|
|1977||61.1%||10,148,040||Zulfikar Bhutto||Martial law in effect|
|1988||38.5%||7,546,561||Benazir Bhutto||In Government|
|1990||36.8%||7,795,218||Benazir Bhutto||In Opposition|
|1993||37.9%||7,578,635||Benazir Bhutto||In Government|
|1997||21.8%||4,152,209||Benazir Bhutto||In Opposition|
|2002||25.7%||Amin Fahim||In Opposition|
Yousaf Raza Gillani
|2013||TBD||TBD||||Bilawal Bhutto||In Opposition|
After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on 27 December 2007, the 2008 parliamentary elections which were scheduled to be held in January were postponed until 18 February. The PPP won the considerable victory on among all political parties, gaining a momentum of general seats 121 from all provinces in the Parliament, whilst the centre-right, Pakistan Muslim League came second in place, managing to secure 91 seats from all over the country. In 2008, the co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari announced to end the fourth dictatorship when he quoted: "Pakistan was on its way of ridding dictatorships forever", and appealed to the Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to form a coalition controlling over half the seats in Pakistan's 342 seat parliament.
On 9 March 2008 in a press conference held in Muree, Punjab, conservatives under Nawaz Sharif and socialists led by Asif Ali Zardari officially signed an agreement to form a coalition government. Titled the PPP-PML summit declaration, the joint declaration both parties agreed on the reinstatement of judges deposed during the emergency rule imposed on 3 November 2007 by General Pervez Musharraf within 30 days after the new federal government was formed. On 28 March, the peoples party appointed Yousaf Raza Gillani for the office of prime minister and formed coalition government with Pakistan Muslim League (N) in Punjab, Awami National Party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, JUI(F) in Balochistan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Sindh. While on other hand, the Peoples Party claimed the exclusive mandate in Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. However, this treaty was later on was violated by PPP government, after which PML(N) withdrew from coalition and federal government.
On 5 September 2008, the peoples party nominated its co-chairman and chairman of central executive committee, Asif Ali Zardari, for the upcoming presidential election. Zardari secured 481 votes out of 700 votes from the Electoral College of Pakistan, winning the Pakistan's presidential election on 5 September 2008. On April 2010, president Zardari voluntarily surrendered his political and presidential powers to prime minister Gillani and the parliament, and through 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, Zardari transferred the authority of government and political appointments, and powers to exercise the authority of government to prime minister Gillani as part of country's road to parliamentary democracy. Even though growing unpopularity, it has managed to maintain a large vote bank in deeper Sindh and South Punjab. On national front, it is currently competing against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League (N). On 22 June 2012, the PPP nominated Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected as the new Pakistan PM.
The first socialist and democratic convention attended by the leading 67 left-wing intellectuals who appointed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the first and founding chair of the Pakistan Peoples Party. After his execution, the senior party leadership handed over the chairmanship of the party to his wife, Nusrat Bhutto, and held the position into the 1980s. In 1982, Nusrat Bhutto, ill with cancer, was given permission to leave Pakistan for medical treatment and remained abroad for several years. At that point her daughter, Benazir Bhutto, became acting head of the party while Nusrat technically remained its chairman and was referred to as such as late as September 1983. By January 1984, Benazir was being referred to as the party's chairman and subsequently secured the legal appointment by the senior leadership of Central Executive Committee at the convention held in 1984. She had been elected chairperson for life, which she remained until her assassination on 27 December 2007. Her nineteen-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father Asif Ali Zardari were appointed party co-chairmen after assassination of Benazir Bhutto on 30 December 2007.
Current structure and composition
Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party of Pakistan served as party's top hierarchy and apex governing authority which is primary taking responsibility for promoting Peoples Party activities, promotion, media campaign, welfare distribution, public policy and works. The CEC is the supreme parliamentary body setting out the strategies and ideologies during and after the elections. The CEC is currently chaired by its Chairman Asif Ali Zardari (current president of Pakistan and also the Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party), assisted by additional vice-chairmen, including all the major office bearers of the party. However, the CEC is focused on election campaign and organizational strategy during the national parliamentary elections, overseeing the media works, ideological promotion, and the foreign policy. The public works, welfare distribution are partly managed at the municipal unit levels up to the federal level, which supervise and gave legal authority for such works. The Central Executive Committee of the Party is the supreme body that sets out the strategy for the party.
The PPP-Young Organization is a youth-led party organisation attempts to mobilise the youth for Peoples Party candidates for the Youth Parliament. It also has the separate Trotskyist-Marxist wing, “The Struggle”, which is internationally affiliated with International Marxist Tendency (IMT); the student wing, the Peoples Students, a student-outreach organization with the goal of training and engaging a new generation of Pakistan Peoples Party. The Peoples Party also has an active military-street wing, the People's Committee, controversially affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party.
Nationally, each provinces and territories has provisional committee, made up of elected committee members as well as ex-officio committee members which elects its presidents. The local committees often coordinate campaign activities within their jurisdiction, oversee local conventions and in some cases primaries or caucuses, and may have a role in nominating candidates for elected office under state law. All of the administration and party politics, campaign, required complete permission from the CEC's Co-chairman and the vice-chairmans.
Since its inception, the Peoples Party has been a leading proponent of democratic socialism, favouring the semi-secular and semi-Islamic socialist principles. Historically, the Peoples Party favoured the financially stabled farmers, industrial labour unions, and the middle class elements. The Peoples Party rejected far-left politics and ultra-leftism, supporting unregulated business and finance (the laissez-faire capitalism, which caused it to cease being a socialist or social-democratic or even anywhere near the left-of-centre as its economic policies swung dramatically to the right-wing, embracing economic neoliberalism and unfettered capitalism and privatisation of publicly owned institutions), and favoured partial income taxes. Despite its democratic socialist ideas, the Peoples Party never actually allied with communism, the Communist Party remaining one of its major rivals in Sindh Province. Peoples Party has been criticised by various socialists like Fahad Rizwan who accused the Peoples Party of opportunism. In recent times, the Peoples Party had adopted privatisation and small-scale nationalisation policies, with centrist economic and socially progressive agendas.
Issues involving foreign policy
Relations with the People's Republic of China, Russia and Iran are the central and the strongest proponents of the People's Party's foreign policy. Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan built closer ties with Soviet Union, China, and Iran, but under Benazir Bhutto, the foreign policy was revised after taking shifts to centre-right policies. On the other hand, Benazir Bhutto adopted Nawaz Sharif's conservative privatisation policies in order to secure funding from the United States and the World Bank, but received a harsh opposition from within the party. Under former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, the People's Party pushed its foreign policy towards Russia as the party's relationship with the United States went cold in 2010. Earlier in 1970s, the People's Party faced a "secret" cold war with the United States, but then suffered a US-backed coup in 1977. Throughout the 1980s, the party's credibility was damaged by the United States who "keenly sabotaged" any of its efforts and organizational establishment in the dense areas of country.
Science and politics
The Pakistan People's Party through Zulfikar Ali Bhutto proudly receives all credit for launching the atomic bomb project in 1972, public ceremonies are held on Youm-e-Takbir (lit. Day of Greatness) to commemorate the political services of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who established the program. Since its establishment, the People's Party has produced prolific scientists-turned technocrats, including Farhatullah Babar, Mubashir Hassan, and the senior academic scientists who played a role in building the atomic bomb. The People's Party member's notably provided their public support to Abdul Qadeer Khan who had been forced to attend the military debriefings by General Pervez Musharraf in 2004. On August 2012, after years of negligence, the peoples party made its effort to bestowed and award Munir Ahmad Khan the highest state honor, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, as a gesture of political rehabilitation; the honor was publicly presented by President Asif Ali Zardari in a public ceremony.
In 1995–96, the People's Party under Benazir Bhutto's era opened computer literacy centres to provide the public with access to computers and technology. In 1990, they made Pakistan the first Muslim country to launch a satellite, Badr-I, they are also responsible for establishing, nurturing, and funding the missile's programs, such as Ghauri and Shaheen in the 1990s. As part of the science policy, they established the Pakistan Science Foundation in 1973 and helped establish the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1976.
Challenges and controversies
Since 1990s, the Peoples Party has been under intense criticism even inside the members and the leftists in the country, notable the charges of large-scale corruptions. The leading lefitst, Nadeem Paracha, asserted that since 1977, the Peoples Party's manifesto has been transformed into centre-right platform, whereas in 1977 parliamentary elections, the Peoples Party's manifesto did not mentioned the "socialism". During the 1973–75, the Peoples Party's radical ultra-left and communist wings led under Mirage Khalid and the Moist wings under Khalid Syed were purged by the Peoples Party to ensure the political support and presence between the powerful Sindh's feudal lords and Punjab's landed elite, Paracha claiming it the Peoples Party has "lost left". While leading left-wing journalist, Mehdi Hasan remarked that Peoples Party is "not a secular party", first declaring Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims through the second parliamentary amendment, secondly banning the use of liquor; thirdly, the Peoples Party declared Friday as holiday to win the support of religious elements, Mehdi Hasan quoted.
Internal opposition to Asif Zardari
In December 2011, the major setback was suffered by Peoples Party when its leading democratic socialists and senior members, for instance, Shah Mahmood Kureshi and Malik Ali Khan left the Peoples Party, saying that "they did not agree with how President Zardari was leading the party particularly with regards to an alliance with centre-right PML (Q) and the foreign policy. Another Sindhi socialist Zulfiqar Mirza also resigned and left the Peoples Party on amid disagreement with Asif Zardari's leadership and policies in regard to dealings with liberal MQM in Sindh Province. Primary, the socialists felt that the party had now moved away from the original ideas it was founded on by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1967.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pakistan Peoples Party|
- Pakistan Peoples Party Pakistan based Web site
- Pakistan Peoples Party USA official site
- The Pakistan People's Party, Radio France Internationale (in English)
- A detailed Web site on the life of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
- President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari's official Web site
- Critical PPP / Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP), a website of critical supporters of Pakistan Peoples Party
- 2008 Election dossier, Radio France Internationale (in English)
- International People's Lawyers' Forum