LAHORE - If the newly appointed Punjab President of the PPP is an alien in his new party, he is also widely detested in the PML-N and the PML-Q alike because of his old political rivalries with their leadership.
“Jialaas don’t like him, PML-Q people don’t adore him; the PML-N leaders love to hate him”, this is how a political riddle goes about Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, otherwise, an astute and successful politician who made history in 1993 by becoming the then Punjab Chief Minister with only 18 MPAS in his pocket after leading a successful no-confidence motion against late Ghulam Haider Wyne. Having acquired mastery in the art of political wheeling and dealings since his early days when he was merely a Councillor, Wattoo had been a great trouble maker for his detractors throughout his 30-year long political career. Be it his political role in Punjab during early nineties (1993-1995) or the last year’s general elections in AJK, he has proved his worth at all critical junctures.
The PPP leaders with whom this scribe talked to gave a cautious response over his elevation as party’s Punjab President. In their off the record conversation, they termed him an intruder having no roots in the party. A PPP leader, who requested not to be named, termed the development a conspiracy against the party.
He said he could feel the heart burning of jialas who were deadly against the decision.
“Wattoo first ditched his parent party, the PML-Junejo in 1995 and later the PML-Q just before the 2008 elections. He is now in the PPP and God knows better for how long he would stay here”, observed another PPP leader from Lahore.
Interestingly, two Wattos-Yasin Wattoo and Mian Muhammad Afzal Wattoo have already ditched the PPP.
Manzoor Wattoo is the third in line of Wattoos to have joined the party and given important party office.
The PPP founder, Z.A Bhutto nominated Yasin Wattoo, also belonging to Okara, as party’s Secretary General, but he left the party the moment Bhutto was arrested. Similarly, Mian Muhammad Afzal Wattoo, who hailed from Bahawalnagar, was made PPP’s Punjab President during 1972-74, but he too left the party during last days of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. May be Mian Manzoor Wattoo would not repeat the history of his clan.
Wattoo, who happens to be a jail-mate of President Asif Ali Zardari, impressed his friend by his art of making alliances during the AJK elections held last year. It was due to his political moves that PPP succeeded in making its government there after around two decades.
Wattoo has a history of bitter relations with the PML-N leaders. It was during his Chief Ministership that security barriers were removed from Sharifs’ Model Town residence. Though he later apologised over the incident, but they nurtured a grudge and victimised him when Mian Nawaz Sharif became the then Prime Minister for the second time.
He was then sentenced by an Accountability Court to more than 10 years in prison, but the High Court later set aside his sentence.
The PML-Q leaders who were then allies with the PML-N also don’t like him because they suffered a lot when he was the then Punjab Chief Minister from 1993 to 95.
Then he parted ways with them in 2007 due to differences over seat allocations and he decided to run as an independent candidate.
In the current political scenario, however, Wattoo has reconciled with Chaudhrys of Gujrat. They are not rivals any more, as they have now decided to confront their common enemy, the Sharifs, in the coming elections.
Sources close to President Asif Ali Zardari think that Wattoo- Pervaiz Elahi duo in Punjab would outsmart the PML-N leaders in the coming elections.
An alien in PPP,
detested in PML factions