Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s announcement on Saturday, of looking to win the Prime Minister’s seat in 2018 was yet another indication of the party desiring to get itself back into the race for the federal government. It is far behind in the race if the elections of 2015 and the subsequent LG polls, by-elections and other electoral contests since 2015 are anything to go by.

The PPP’s hopes for revival are firmly pinned on the new leader, Mr Bhutto Zardari, but the changes being seen in the party so far are only cosmetic. Asif Ali Zardari is still a very active part of the decision-making process on the sidelines, and the upper tiers of the party are still filled with old stalwarts, many of who are seen to be a partial reason for the party’s demise on the federal level. Another hurdle is the popularity enjoyed by the PPP’s fiercest rivals – PML-N and PTI. Using allegations of corruption against the ruling party might not work, because the PPP also has similar allegations against it. The fight for the next general elections seems one where both PTI and PML-N will be close competitors, and there is nothing to indicate that PPP will be able to gain any ground on the other two. But given there is more than a year left, PPP does have the time to win more seats than the poor showing in 2015, to set a base for trying to win the government in 2023.

But even for that, simply propping up Bilawal to attend party events is not the only answer. While the provincial government has taken some positive steps to safeguard human rights and minority communities, there are major developmental concerns that have not been duly addressed. Focusing on delivering in Sindh might just help the party in winning back some favour among its old supporters. The party still rings as one which stands for the rights of the people, but the words need to be backed by solid actions which PPP is yet to take in Sindh.