It seems that the leadership of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) is taking the advice of its critics in both print and electronic media, as Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira clarified that the party was planning to stick to its roots and use the original version of its manifesto in the next general elections. This means that PPP will apply its old ‘democratic socialist’ or ‘socialist democratic’ leanings to all of its policies – the biggest focus will be on providing jobs, healthcare and education to the general populace.

The problem is that for the party, these principles only seem to exist on paper, with little practical implementation since 2007, as the leaders of the federal government in the last session of government and at the helm of affairs in Sindh for two terms running.

A closer analysis of what Mr Kaira said reveals that the party might fail in its aims in the next term as well. When asked about why he thought PPP failed to maintain its support base in Punjab and the rest of the federation, his answer revealed that the party still looked at external factors behind its failures, while neglecting to address the structural and principle flaws with its own time in government. Blaming the media when it was just performing its role in highlighting the party’s (many) shortcomings and passing the buck on to the Election Commission of Pakistan is not going to help in getting back the support the party lost. Nor is it going to allow the party to move forward and attempt to rectify its own mistakes.

And as far as regaining its support in Punjab is concerned, it might not be as easy as Mr Kaira makes it out to be. Punjab has voted for the PML-N for two sessions running, and while PTI managed to make a dent in the ruling party’s support base through its slogan of change, PPP might not be able to achieve the same. Clearly, Shahbaz Sharif’s government must be doing something right in the province, to still enjoy such overwhelming support, even though Imran Khan and company galvanised the youth of the province like never before. That was when PTI had a lot going for it as the new kid on the block, with an unblemished political career. PPP will be seen as no one’s saviour, when its government in Sindh has been wracked by accusations of mismanagement, corruption and is seen to be making little effort in solving the problems of the people. PPP has less to show for its claims of looking to provide jobs, healthcare and education to its people and more lofty promises of a social democracy in tow. Appealing to the life-long jiyalas will not be as simple as merely using the term ‘socialist democracy’; the party must actually practice what it has been preaching since its inception.