So Mian Sahab and Mariam are out of jail; Khan Sahab is firmly in power and Pakistan People’s Party(PPP)is still trying to figure out where it stands. The party is preoccupied with yet another crisis created by their co-chairman,who got himself tangled in corruption and money laundering allegations, yet again. All of this makes for a potentially interesting few months in our national politics. Just when Khan sahab thought things would go smoothly for him, the courts suspended the sentences of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter. From what I heard Mian sahab and Mariam are in no conciliatory mood. They are expected to come out all guns blazing before the by-elections, and the walkover PTI was expecting, might not come their way in Punjab. So where does this leave PPP, Zardari is siding with the Government as he feels that might get him some respite in the money laundering case, and Bilawal like a dutiful son has no other option but to side with abba hazoor. I sometimes really feel bad for those jiyalas who are still trying to sell the current PPP as the anti-establishment party it once was, by referring to what PPP did 40 years ago. Over the last few years PPP has taken a very clear stance. It will side with the powers that be, to protect its leadership. Prior to the general elections, the PPP with support of its ‘allies’, brought down the PML(N)government in Balochistan. Everyone knows why, how and on whose instructions this was done. Then the two ‘champions’ of democracy PTI and PPP got together to elect a new Chairman Senate. There was some hope after the elections, when PPP snubbed Maulana’s idea of boycotting the Parliamentand played an integral role by uniting all the opposition parties to ensure continuity of the system. People were expecting genuine and strong opposition from within the system, when both the PML(N) and PPP agreed on formulating a joint opposition strategy against the government on all key issues. The expectations from the opposition alliance were given a reality check when the PPP abstained from voting for Shehbaz Sharif during the Prime Minister’s election on a flimsy pretext, ie that he has used strong language against its leadership. They also chose to stay comfortably seated and took no part in the protest by PML-N before Imran Khan’s first speech after his election as the PM. Just as the social media warriors and mainstream media ‘experts’ like the famous Aunty in Karachi were about to declare Bik Gayee Ha Yeh PPP, and that the party is incapable of orchestrating any real opposition, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto surprised them all with his extremely powerful and aggressive speech on the floor of the house. His tone was firm, his words well thought out and the content of his speech exceptionally measured. He didn’t only refer to Khan as “PMselect” but also criticized PML-N for their “unnecessary uproar” in the August house. It was out in the open, the difference in politics of the two groups withinPPP: one being led by Bilawal, and the other led by Zardari. PPP has a vibrant, young and a level headed leader in the form of Bilawal, who has time on his side. If given a free hand to run the party and make decisions, the PPP has a good chance to regain the lost political ground in Punjab before the next general elections During the presidential elections the PPP again sabotaged the opposition alliance by nominating Aitzaz Ahsan for President. The name of Aitzaz Ahsan was proposed by Zardari sahab. He didn’t withdraw his nomination and somehow managed to resist Maulana’s charm(which is feat in its own right). All those who are close to Zardari sahib, are certain that AitzazAhsan would never have been nominated; if there was even a remote chance of him winning the Presidential elections. So what is PPP’s long game? The party is comfortably placed in Sindh, with its electoral base largely intact, and has gained in other parts of the country. It even managed to get a few seats from Punjab, which was largely due to Bilawal’s vibrant election campaign. It only suits them to be an active part of this system without siding too much with their traditional rivals– the Sharifs of Punjab. They are relying on PTI to dislodge the well-entrenched Sharifs from central Punjab, in-turn creating space for Bilawal and PPP to sweep in and claim the spoils. They have placed their bets on N-league sticking to their hard anti-establishment stance, which will keep them in the crosshairs, allowing PPP the political space they need to operate. This is as good as it gets for PPP. Noon league is under pressure and is not sure how to act in opposition, and PTI is unravelling under the burden of its own tall and somewhat rash claims. PPP has a vibrant, young and a level headed leader in the form of Bilawal, who has time on his side. If given a free hand to run the party and make decisions, the PPP has a good chance to regain the lost political ground in Punjab before the next general elections. However, there is one stumbling block, and it’s the Abba-Phuppo duo which is not willing to let the party slip out of their hands. If the duo doesn’t take a step back and let Bilawal take charge, who knows come a few electoral cycles and PPP may not even have the comfort of their strong electoral base in Sindh to fall back on. The writer is a Pakistan based journalists and anchor-person Published in Daily Times, October 3rd 2018.