Faced with a challenge from the assertive judiciary, President Asif Ali Zardari has quit the political office of co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and made his son Bilawal its “patron-in-chief.”
“President Zardari is no more the co-chairman of the PPP.
The main body of the PPP has been dissolved and his son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has been elected the party’s patron-in-chief,” a close aide to 57-year-old Zardari told PTI.
Earlier, Mr. Bilawal, 24, was the chairman of the PPP.
The decision was made to off-set pressure from the Lahore High Court, which had asked Mr. Zardari to act on its suggestion that he should quit his post in the PPP as the President is expected to be impartial.
The High Court has also asked the President not to indulge in political activities.
During the hearing of the case, Wasim Sajjad, the government’s lawyer, had informed the court that the PPP was a “private organisation” and had nothing to do with politics.
Mr. Sajjad had also informed the court that the party that had headed the government was the PPP-Parliamentarians, which was registered with the Election Commission.
“We hope the President will get relief from the High Court after quitting his political office,” said the aide to Mr. Zardari, who did not want to be named.
After appointing Mr. Bilawal the patron-in-chief, PPP leaders plan to get the party registered with the Election Commission on March 25.
The PPP-Parliamentarians had recently applied for the arrow as its symbol for the general election to be held on May 11.