LAHORE -

President Asif Ali Zardari, who arrived in the provincial metropolis on Sunday on a two-day ‘fact finding’ mission, told a Safma delegation at Bilawal House that PPP could not run its election campaign in Punjab due to threats from the Taliban.

The insiders also quoted the president as having told the participants of the meeting that Returning Officers in Punjab also played a role in PPP’s defeat. He said he could not have run the election campaign without first resigning as the president.

 The president, who has ‘shunned’ political activities, is reportedly scheduled to meet party ticket holders and senior party leaders to have firsthand knowledge of PPP candidates’ defeat in the May 11 elections.

He would try to determine what went wrong with his party during the polls in this part of the country where he was so eager to dug in that he even got built a castle with the name Bilawal House.

He is then expected to take some major decisions regarding reorganisation of the PPP.

Upon his arrival, the president was received at the Lahore Airport by Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi and Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood, whose resignation Zardari has not accepted as yet. Senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani accompanied the president who arrived here from Karachi.

Later, the president hosted a dinner to a Safma delegation at the Bilawal House in Bahria Town. No official word was available about president’s activities but sources said that the meeting with Safma office bearers was the only engagement he had in Lahore on Sunday.

Party sources said that President Zardari intends to visit Shaukat Khanum Hospital during his stay to inquire after PTI chief Imran Khan. A meeting with Chaudhrys’ of Gujrat is also expected.