LAHORE - MUASHIR HASSAN - The Pakistan Peoples Party, which ruled the country in the past five years, is currently in a bad shape, facing severe ‘financial crunch’ at a time when it is out of power and needs massive funds to reactivate the party cadres.
The situation is so grim that it is unable to pay salaries to its employees who got their last salary before Eidul Fitre in August this year.
Interestingly, the PPP is also the poorest political party in the country, according to the financial statement submitted by it to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in March 2013. According to the statement of assets of political parties released by the ECP, the PPP owned only Rs 435,397 , also including Rs5,997 cash held by its finance secretary and Rs 429,400 in its bank account.
In Punjab, the party needs one million rupees immediately to pay off outstanding dues in terms of utility bills, salaries and other expenditures. “I had to borrow money from friends to pay utility bills and to meet other expenditures,” Incharge PPP’s Faisal Town Secretariat at Lahore, Iqbal Sialvi, told The Nation. He also confirmed that party had not yet paid salaries to its employees.
Paradoxically, a political party which claims to be a party of the downtrodden and speaks for their rights is oblivious of the rights of its own workers and the paid employees who work for it. The PPP manifesto is also full of pledges to ameliorate the lot of common people by providing them roti, kapra aur makan.
But PPP is not alone in this context. There are reports that a similar situation also exists in the ruling PML-N whose employees are not being paid their monthly emoluments for the last three months.
Reportedly, the PPP high-ups have now started a series of meetings with well-off partymen to raise funds required to run the party secretariat and to pay the outstanding dues. PPP’s Central Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo had a meeting with partymen from Lahore the other day and asked them to contribute generously into the party fund. Two ex-presidents of party’s Lahore chapter - Mian Misbahur Rehman and Haji Azizur Rehman - have reportedly pledged 100,000 each to share the financial burden.
On the occasion of last Eidul Fitr, a PPP leader from Lahore, Aurangzeb Burki who also happens to be party’s finance secretary in Punjab, had contributed Rs 0.2 million from his own pocket to pay salaries to the party employees.
In order to raise finances, it has also been decided to extend the membership of party’s finance committee which has the responsibility of raising funds for party activities. Presently, this body comprises eight members while generous offers are being made to new entrants to become its members. But they are reportedly shying away to join the committee after they came to know that they would have to deposit at least Rs 25,000 into the party fund to become its members and then raise more funds for the party.