The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Monday suspended the life-time political secretary and the closest personal friend of its slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto, in a move that confirms a rift within the ruling party.
Naheed Khan, a critic of President Asif Zardari’s way of handling the party, was suspended as member of the PPP because of her frequent criticism of the party’s current leadership.
A PPP chapter for Rawalpindi, the city which Khan belongs to, announced the suspension of her membership, a day after she spoke against Zardari at a public forum in Lahore, along with her husband Senator Safdar Abbasi.
Abbasi’s membership of the PPP Central Executive Committee (CEC) had already been cancelled for the same reason.
Amir Fida Paracha, PPP Rawalpindi president, said at a news conference he had suspended the membership of Naheed because she violated the party discipline by holding a separate convention in Lahore to mark party’s foundation.
Paracha said he had served a show-cause notice to Naheed and four other party workers. Naheed, however, denied having received any notice and said no one could deprive her or others of PPP membership.
On Sunday, Naheed said that Zardari was not serious about getting to the bottom of the conspiracy that led to Benazir’s assassination.
“It’s a democratic party, not a dictator’s … it must be run democratically. For how long will people continue to tolerate this? How many of them can be expelled?” said Ibn-e-Rizvi, a close associate of Naheed.
There have been several half-muted voices against Zardari However, there has hardly been any full blown rebuke to the beleaguered leader.