LAHORE - For the first time since assuming the charge of PPP’s patron-in-chief last year, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari went solo as he chaired a meeting of Punjab Parliamentarians in Karachi on Tuesday in the absence of his father and aunt.

Before this meeting, Bilawal was never allowed to chair party meetings independently.

On all previous occasions, he was always accompanied by his father, Asif Ali Zardari and aunt, Faryal Talpur who are believed to be calling the shots in party matters even now.

Sources privy to the meeting told The Nation that Bilawal sounded confident in his first solo interaction with the party men and also issued directions to revamp the party in Punjab, a province where the PPP is struggling to regain its lost turf after its defeat in 2013 elections.

The PPP members of National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly belonging to Punjab province attended the meeting along with party’s central Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo.

Bilawal reportedly expressed his annoyance over PPP’s non-participation in the by-elections.  He directed Mian Manzoor Wattoo to put party candidates against the rival parties in the eventuality of any future by-elections in Punjab even if they secure as low as 1000 votes.  The PPP’s patron-in-chief sought suggestions from the party men to galvanise the party in Punjab.

Many opined that any effort to revive the party would not yield any results unless he himself comes to Punjab to meet the party cadres. To this, Bilawal reacted that it was not possible for him immediately to visit Punjab due to security reasons. He, however, asked them to prepare an interim strategy to strengthen the party in his absence.  As per sources, Bilawal also hinted at making radical changes in party’s Lahore organisation sooner than later.  He also asked PPP’s Punjab Parliamentary party to play the role of a strong Opposition in Punjab Assembly by taking part in the budget debate. “We are not a friendly Opposition. We would support the Federal government only in case of any danger to democracy”, he maintained.